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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Vientiane to celebrate 450 th anniversary in 2010

On Independence Day, October 12, senior officials informed the public of plans to celebrate the 450 th anniversary of the establishment of Vientiane as the capital of Laos in 2010.

Around 1,000 people gathered at the National Culture Hall on Friday to hear a talk on the history of Vientiane and the background to Independence Day, which took place 62 years ago.

Dignitaries attending the event included Standing Deputy Prime Minister Mr Somsavat Lengsavad, the Party Secretary of Vientiane Mr Sombath Yialiher, and the Mayor of Vientiane Dr Sinlavong Khoutphaythoune.

Laos declared independence on October 12, 1945, after 158 years of foreign occupation. In 2010, this day will mark the start of the anniversary celebrations in Vientiane .

Mr Somsavat pointed out that Vientiane was one of the oldest cities in Asia . According to Lao history, Vientiane is actually more than 1,700 years old, in which time it has grown from a small village to a city.

The name Vientiane is derived from its founder, Mr Boulichan, who is thought to have first created the settlement in the year 236 in the Buddhist calendar.

In 1560 AD, Vientiane was named the capital of the Lane Xang Kingdom by King Xaysetthathirath, when he moved the capital from Luang Prabang to Vientiane .

In Friday's lecture, Mr Somsavat said that the celebration in three years' time would acknowledge the capital's development and the devotion and hard work of past generations who had sacrificed their blood to protect and advance the capital.

“The celebration will give us the opportunity to understand the past correctly so that we can gain a deeper insight into the present. Our objective now is to develop Vientiane into a city that is comparable to those of our neighbours,” Mr Somsavat said.

This will be the first time the capital's birthday has been celebrated.

The Party Secretary of Vientiane Mr Sombath recalled how on October 12, 1945, more than 20,000 people gathered at the National Stadium where the Lao Issara government officially declared the country's independence.

Lao Issara leaders took the opportunity of the defeat of the Japanese in World War II to declare independence.

The Japanese forces that overthrew the French administration in Indochina in 1942 were forced to withdraw from Laos after their defeat in World War II.

Independence Day was the result of prolonged fighting by the Lao people to gain independence from foreign occupation.

Anniversary celebrations in 2010 will include an export drive to boost earnings for city residents, arts competitions, a beauty contest, and sports events.

Songs and films will also be produced, while the city pillar at Vat Simeuang will be restored along with the old city wall, the Sisaket Museum and That Luang Stupa.

Street lighting will be installed on the main roads to beautify the city ahead of the celebration.

By Somsack Pongkhao
(Latest Update October 15, 2007)

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