Patuxai Victory Monument
Patuxai Victory Monument in Vientiane
Patuxai literally means Victory Gate or Gate of Triumph, formerly the Anousavary or Anosavari Monument known by the French as Monument Aux Morts. In romanizing the name from the Laotian language, it is variously transliterated as Patuxai, Patuxay, Patousai and Patusai. It is also given the name of Patuxai Arch or the Asian verion of Arc de Triomphe of Vientiane as it has general resemblance to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, however, it is typically Laotian in design, decorated with many Buddhist mythological figurines such as kinnari (half-female, half-bird figures).
It is a war monument in the center of Vientiane which was built between 1957 and 1968. It is dedicated to those who fought in the struggle for independence from France in 1949, which was an era of the monarchy in the country. The monument was built using American funds and cement that originally intended to build an airfield during the Vietnam War. The United States had given the Laos money to build a new city airport. However, the Laotian government of the day used the money to build the monument instead. As a consequence, the monument is sometimes referred to as the vertical runway.
How To Get Patuxai Monument
It is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Vientiane, strategically built at the end of the grand Lang Xang Avenue in the heart of the Vientiane city. Lang Xang Avenue which runs from Herkam palace to the That Luang Stupa.
A well laid out park, known as Patuxay Park, with musical fountains surrounds the monument. Beneath the arch is a doorway with staircase that leads to the top of the monument. A small admission fee entitles visitors to climb to the top, where a magnificent view of the city may be enjoyed. The Patuxai is open daily from 8am to 5pm.
Architecture of Patuxai Monument
The monument has five towers that represent the five principles of coexistence among nations of the world. They are also representative of the five Buddhist principles of “thoughtful amiability, flexibility, honesty, honor and prosperity”.
The monument has gateway on four sides oriented towards the four cardinal directions. The East-West gateways open to the Long Xang Avenue, which is used during ceremonial national parades. In front of each gate, there is a pond. The four ponds represent the open section of a lotus flower (which represent reverence of Laotians to the brave warriors of the nation). The four corners of the gateways are adorned by statues of a Naga King (mythical symbols of Laos), with a depiction signifying spraying of a jet of water (suggesting nature, fertility, welfare and happiness) into the ponds on the ground.
Two concrete staircase wind up from inside the main structure, passing through each floor, right up to the top of the monument.
Viewing galleries are provided on the upper floors. The first floor has mainly the offices of the management of the monument. The second floor is an important are where a museum is housed, displaying statues and pictures of the iconic heroes and heroines of the country.
The next level is an open space where four towers are built at the four corners. These towers have been decorated with frescoes of foliage. The towers are also fitted with electric lights, which are switched on during the national day and other important festivals.
The small towers, with temple like ornamentation, are designed in the Laotian style and are provided with spires. Each tower has a stairway. Apart from the four corner towers, there is another central larger tower above this floor, which also has staircase which leads to the top floor that has the viewing platform from where a panoramic view of Vientiane could be seen.
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