November 24, 2014 ICS Travel Group

Story Behind The Image | The “Vertical Runway”

LAOS - Vientiane - Patuxai at night

Among the French-inspired architecture in the center of Vientiane, capital of Laos, you can find one of the most prominent monuments in the country. . . the Putuxai, or “Victory Gate.”

The Unites States donated funds and cement to build a new airport, but the Royal Laotian Government instead built the monument, which earned it the nickname “the vertical runway.”

Patuxai, Vientiane, Laos

The monument was built in the 1950s as a celebration of independence from France, and is designed as a locally-infused Arch de Triumphe complete with Laotian and Buddhist symbolism and art. Interior decorations reveal the gods Vishnu, Brahma, and Indra.

Putaxai, Vientiane, Laos

At the time Putuxzi was built, Laos was a constitutional monarchy and the monument was known simply as the “Anousavali” (“memory”), dedicated to the memory of the Laotian soldiers who died during World War II and the war of independence from France. However, in 1975 the communists seized power and ended the ancient monarchy. They renamed the monument Patuxai in honor of their own victory.

The five towers at the top of the monument represent the five Buddhist principles of “thoughtful amiability, flexibility, honesty, honor and prosperity.”

You can see Vientiane, including the “Victory Gate,” Vang Vieng, Luang Prabang and much more on our 9-day tour: Treasures of Laos.  Click the button below to find out more!

Treasures of Laos