Ho Phra Keo

Vientiane, Laos
20th century restoration of 1565 original

Ho Phra Keo was built in 1565 as a royal chapel and repository for the celebrated statue of the Emerald Buddha, which the Laotians had taken from Northern Thailand in 1551. The jasper statue remained in the temple until 1778, when the Thais invaded and recaptured the statue, taking it off to Bangkok (Wat Phra Kaeo). The Lao temple was destroyed in 1828-1829 during the Thai sack of Vientiane; rebuilt in 1936; and restored again in 1993.

Ho Phra Keo was called "Wat Phra Keo" ("Temple of the Emerald Buddha") during the time that the statue was in residence there. It is now called "Ho Phra Keo" ("Altar of the Emerald Buddha") because only an altar is there, the image still remaining in Thailand.