LUANG PRABANG, Lao PDR – U.S. Ambassador Dr. Peter Haymond commemorated the completion of the restoration of Wat Visoun in Luang Prabang and handed over the successful restoration project to the government and people of Luang Prabang on October 6 during a ceremony at Wat Visoun. The historic temple was restored with U.S. government funding of $347,000 under the U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation.Built in the 16th century during the reign of King Wisunarat, Wat Visoun is the oldest temple in Luang Prabang and has been a center of Buddhist study and worship for more than 500 years. The Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation supported three separate restoration projects at Wat Visoun, comprising both the main buildings of Wat Visoun as well as the historic Makmo Stupa.
“It has been an honor to support the cultural preservation and restoration of one of the most important cultural sites in all of Laos,” said Ambassador Haymond. “The United States government’s collaboration with Luang Prabang on the restoration of Wat Visoun is a symbol of the great friendship between our two countries, and of our commitment to helping the people of Laos preserve their precious traditions.”
Since 2001, the U.S. government has dedicated more than $1 million to preserving cultural heritage in the Lao PDR using the Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation. Funding has supported 20 projects total, ranging from restoration of sacred temples, to preservation of archeological sites and artifacts, to documentation of cultural traditions and museum conservation. The largest project to date was the restoration of Wat Xieng Thong in Luang Prabang, conducted over three years with more than $650,000 in assistance.
Ambassador Haymond said, “These projects help the people of Laos better engage with their culture and history, and help people from across the world appreciate the beauty and unique traditions of this country. The work we have done here will help ensure Wat Visoun remains a culturally and spiritually significant site for many years to come.”