Wat Ong Teu Mahawhan

This temple (Temple of the Heavy Buddha; Thanon Setthathilat) is one of the most important in Laos. Ii was originally built in the mid- 16th century by king Setthathirat, but like every temple in Vientiane except possibly Wat Si Saket, it was destroyed in later wars with the Siamese, then rebuilt in the 19th and 20th centuries. The Hawng Sangkhalat (Deputy Patriarch) of the Lao monastic order has his official residence here and presides over the Buddhist Institute, a school for monks who come from all over the country to study dhamma (the Buddha's teachings) in the capital.

The temple's namesake is a large 16th- century bronze Buddha of several tones that sits in the rear 'of the sim, flanked by two standing Buddhas. This sim is famous for the wooden facade over the front terrace, a masterpiece of Lao carving. The carved wooden window shutters are also impressive.