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Coordinates: 17°58′14″N 102°37′07″E / 17.97056°N 102.61861°E / 17.97056; 102.61861
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Front view of the Patuxai in Vientiane
Patuxai is located in Laos
Location within Laos
Former namesAnousavary/Anousavali
(Lao: ອານຸສາວະລີ)
EtymologyThe Gate of Victory
General information
TypeWar Memorial
Architectural styleLaotian
LocationVientiane, Laos
AddressLang Xang Avenue
Coordinates17°58′14″N 102°37′07″E / 17.97056°N 102.61861°E / 17.97056; 102.61861
Construction started1957
Inaugurated2010 (450th anniversary of Vientiane as capital of Laos)
Cost63 million kips
OwnerGovernment of Laos
Technical details
Structural systemConcrete
Floor countSeven
Design and construction
Architect(s)Tham Sayasithsena

Patuxai (Lao: ປະຕູໄຊ, pronounced [pā.tùː sáj] ; literally Victory Gate or Gate of Triumph, formerly the Anousavary or Anosavari Monument, known by the French as Monument Aux Morts) is a war monument in Downtown Vientiane, Laos, built between 1957 and 1968. The Patuxai was dedicated to those who fought in the struggle for independence from France. In romanizing the name from the Laotian language, it is variously transliterated as Patuxai, Patuxay, Patousai and Patusai. It is also called Patuxai Arch or the Arc de Triomphe of Vientiane as it resembles the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. However, it is typically Laotian in design, decorated with mythological creatures such as the kinnari (half-female, half-bird).[1][2] [3][4][5][6]


Patuxai is a compound word, 'Patuu' or 'patu' meaning a "door" or "gateway" and 'Xai', derivative of the Sanskrit 'Jaya', which means "victory". Thus it means “Victory Gate”.[3][7] The Patuxai was built during a turbulent period Lao history. It was built when Laos was a constitutional monarchy and was originally known simply as the "Anousavali" ("Monument"), dedicated memory of the Laotian soldiers who died during World War II and the independence war from France in 1949.

The monument was built using American funds and cement actually intended to build a new airport.[8] The Royal Laotian Government instead built the monument, which earned it the nickname of the "vertical runway".[3][4]

The monument was designed by Laotian “soldier, former journalist and self-taught sculptor”[9] Tham Sayasthsena. In 1957, his plans were selected from those submitted by the Public Works Department, the Military Engineering Department, and numerous private architects. Tham received 30,000 kips for his work. The cost of construction was estimated at 63 million kips.[1]

In May 1975, the communist Pathet Lao overthrew the coalition government and seized power, ending the ancient monarchy and installing a half-Vietnamese prime minister. They renamed the monument Patuxai in honor of the victory that was handed to them by the North Vietnamese Army.[6][7][10]


View of the city from Patuxai (before 2024 renovation)

The Patuxai is at the end of Lane Xang Avenue in the heart of Vientiane. Patuxay Park surrounds the monument.[1][3][4]


The central cloister vault at the ground level is decorated with depictions of the gods Vishnu, Brahma, and Indra from left to right

The monument has five towers that represent the five principles of coexistence among nations of the world. They are also representative of the five Buddhist principles of “thoughtful amiability, flexibility, honesty, honor and prosperity”.[1]


The monument has gateways on four sides oriented towards the four cardinal directions. The east–west gateways open to the Lane Xang Avenue, which is used during ceremonial national parades. In front of each gate, there is a pond. The four ponds represent the open section of a lotus flower (representing reverence of Laotians to the brave warriors of the nation). The four corners of the gateways are adorned by statues of a Naga King (mythical symbol of Laos), with a depiction signifying spraying of a jet of water (suggesting nature, fertility, welfare and happiness) into the ponds on the ground.[1] Two concrete staircases wind up from inside the main structure, passing through each floor, right up to the top of the monument. Viewing galleries are provided on the upper floors. The first floor has mainly the offices of the management of the monument; the kiosks dealing with tourist paraphernalia (artefacts, souvenirs and refreshments) are also housed on this floor. The second floor is an important area where a museum is housed, displaying statues and pictures of the iconic heroes and heroines of the country. The roof design is also inspired by Taj Mahal of India.[11]

Complete view from the avenue with musical fountains
Patuxai (A very honest note)

The next level is an open space where four towers are built at the four corners. These towers have been decorated with frescoes of foliage. The towers are also fitted with electric lights, which are switched on during the national day and other important festivals. The small towers, with temple like ornamentation, are designed in the Laotian style and are provided with spires. Each tower has a stairway. Apart from the four corner towers, there is another central larger tower above this floor, which also has a staircase which leads to the top floor that has the viewing platform from where a panoramic view of Vientiane could be seen. A telescope is also fitted at that level to get a view of the city. Plans have been drawn to fit lifts from two diagonal corners of the monument, which are expected to be ready in 2010 when the 450th anniversary of Vientiane as the capital of Laos will be celebrated. On this occasion, the entire monument is proposed to be decorated with flowers and illuminated.[1] The monumental building is not fully finished to this day, although the Laotian government have repeatedly authorized new funds.[8]

The musical fountain system fitted in the newly developed elegant garden was donated by the Chinese. It is a popular feature for visitors and local people who visit the monuments in the afternoons.[12][13]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Patuxay Monument Revisited". Vientiane Times. November 2, 2009. Retrieved March 30, 2010.
  2. ^ Atiyah, Jeremy; Rough Guides (2002). Rough guide to Southeast Asia. Rough Guides. p. 565. ISBN 1-85828-893-2. Retrieved March 30, 2010.
  3. ^ a b c d "Patuxay Arch in Vientiane Laos". Lonely Planet. Archived from the original on November 24, 2009. Retrieved March 30, 2010.
  4. ^ a b c fay, Kim (2005). To Asia with love: a connoisseurs' guide to Cambodia, Laos, Thailand & Vietnam. Things Asian Press. pp. 65–67. ISBN 0-9715940-3-1. Retrieved March 30, 2010.
  5. ^ "Patuxay Monument is expected to draw big crowds". Laos Voices. August 8, 2009. Archived from the original on February 25, 2010. Retrieved March 30, 2010.
  6. ^ a b White, Daniel (2010). Frommer's Cambodia & Laos. Frommer's. pp. 230–232. ISBN 978-0-470-49778-4. Retrieved March 30, 2010.
  7. ^ a b "Patuxay In Vientiane". Retrieved March 30, 2010.
  8. ^ a b "Vientiane - Patou Say" (in German). Sgoldbach. Retrieved March 30, 2010.
  9. ^ Roger Nelson, “Phnom Penh's Independence Monument and Vientiane's Patuxai: Complex Symbols of Postcolonial Nationhood in Cold War-Era Southeast Asia." In Monument Culture: International Perspectives on the Future of Monuments in a Changing World, edited by Laura A. Macaluso, London: Rowman & Littlefield, 2019, 35-48 (37).
  10. ^ Laos Diplomatic Handbook. Int'l Business Publications. 2007. p. 138. ISBN 978-1-4330-2885-4. Retrieved March 30, 2010.
  11. ^ First IMPRESSION of LAOS | Cheapest Country in Asia ?, retrieved September 7, 2022
  12. ^ "China-aided Lao capital downtown's lighting system launched". ecns.cn. Retrieved April 22, 2021.
  13. ^ Burke, Andrew; Justine Vaisutis (2007). Laos. Lonely Planet. p. 97. ISBN 978-1-74104-568-0. Retrieved March 30, 2010. patuxai.

External links[edit]

17°58′14″N 102°37′07″E / 17.97056°N 102.61861°E / 17.97056; 102.61861