Luang Phabang lwäng pəbäng´ [key] or Luang Prabang prə– [key], city (1995 est. pop. 55,300), capital of Luang Phabang prov. and the historic, religious, and cultural capital of Laos, NW Laos, on the Mekong River. The economic center of N Laos, it is a river port and a market for rubber, rice, teak, and fish. Tourism is also important, and zinc is mined nearby. According to tradition, Luang Phabang was founded by Indian Buddhist missionaries; the modern city is the site of many Buddhist monasteries. For several centuries the city was the center of a Laotian-Thai kingdom that controlled most of Laos and parts of Siam; it is home of the former Royal Palace. Luang Phabang came under French rule in 1893.
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