Plain of Jar ( Xieng Khuoang)
n the 18th and at the
beginning of the 19th century, Xieng Khouang was the center of a kingdom
of the Hmong (Meo). In 1832, it was conquered by the Vietnamese,
annexing the entire region.
The town of
was totally destroyed during the Vietnam War. Even though it has been
rebuilt in 1975, the name Xieng Khouang is now primarily used in
reference to the province of the same name.
Lao soldier, above, peers into a mammoth jar at Ban Ang, the
principal jar site. At Lat Sen, right, sandstone jars are
arrayed on the top of a steep hill.
capital is Muang Kham. The most important place near the Plain of
Jars is Phonsavan with a small airport serving the region.
The Plain of
Jars is some 10 kilometres southeast of Phonsavan, at about
1,000 metres above sea level. Scattered over the plain are hundreds
of enormous clay jars, each about 1 to 2.5 metres high, with a
diameter of about 1 meter.
There is still no
explanation as to how the clay jars found their way onto the
plain, nor what purpose they served. Archaeologists have come up
with the wildest theories, among them a claim declaring them brewery
cauldrons. More likely, the jars are enormous urns.
Many jars have
been destroyed or damaged during the Vietnam War, when American
planes bombed positions of the communist Pathet Lao.
Story of Plain of Jar