There are many ancient and modern temples found in Laos, many have vanished throughout history and some still remain. The most well known ancient temples is the Wat Phu temple complex (Temple on the mountain) in southern Laos which is a UNESCO world heritage, Wat Pha Keo (Temple of the Emerald Buddha) in Vientiane, Wat Simeung (Colour of city Temple) in Vientiane and Wat Xieng Thong (Golden City Temple) in Luang Prabang, just to name a few.
A Buddhist temple in Laos is much more than a place of worship. The vat (or wat) is the centre of village life, sometimes serving as a school, orphanage, homeless, meeting hall, crematorium, playground and ceremonies.
Although ones behaviour must always be correct and polite in a temple, there is no feeling of remoteness or superiority in a Lao vat. It is a repository for all aspects of the life and spirit, as well as the spirituality of the community it serves.
All temples contain at least one, and usually many, Buddha images. They can be made from a wide range of materials, but are commonly brick-based and covered in cement or plaster stucco. Smaller or more sacred statues will be made of moulded bronze, brass or gold.
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