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Patuxay Monument revisited

The Patuxay Monument dominates the skyline in the city centre.

Patuxay (literally Victory Gate or Gate of Triumph), formerly the Anousavary Monument, is situated in the centre of Vientiane. Construction took place between 1957 and 1960 and it is one of many sites that Vientiane authorities maintain for tourists and residents alike to enjoy. The Lao built it as a mark of respect for all those who fought in the struggle for independence from the French. It was designed by a Laocitizen named Mr Tham Sayasithsena. The monument dominates the skyline in the city centre and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Vientiane, and is also popular with local residents who like to walk around it and its adjacent garden for exercise during the cooler hours of the evening.The monument features four archways, opening to each point of the compass. The east and west archways open onto Lang Xang Avenue and were designed to be used for parades on days of national signifi cance. At each corner of the monument there is a statue of a Naga king, standing to attention with crest raised and mouth open to spray water into the ponds below. The Naga king is one of the mythical symbols of the Lao nation. The cascading water symbolises nature, fertility, well-being and happiness.There are two concrete staircases winding up the inside of the monument, leading to each fl oor and viewing areas on the upper levels. There are also, as yet incomplete, elevators on two diagonal corners for those who can't make the climb.On the fi rst fl oor, visitors come across a space used as an offi ce for staff responsible for management, security, maintenance, restoration, and sanitation at the monument. There are also stalls selling antiquities, souvenirs, cultural products and refreshments. The second level is a highly signifi cant place, intended to be a memorial to Lao heroes and heroines of all eras, with statues and portraits of valiant kings, and great heroes and heroines. This is a place where Lao people can remember the great battles and stories of courageous kings and national heroes.Reaching the upper level, visitors arrive at a wide open-air platform. This is where the towers mentioned earlier are located, each designed in traditional Lao architectural style and featuring a spiral shaped tip.Each tower is located at the top of a staircase or one of the two lifts. There is also a fi fth larger tower located in the centre. It has a staircase leading to a viewing platform with a telescope where visitors can enjoy panoramic views of Vientiane and beyond. The fi ve towers denote the precepts of peaceful coexistence adhered to by nations around the world, bringing happiness, security, freedom and justice to people everywhere.