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This was another building that was only restored by the French after the Chinese bandit invasions of the 1880s. The original structure was built in 1513 under King Wisunarat (also called King Visoun) and it represents the earliest Lao style, sometimes referred to as Luang Prabang Style I, of Lao temple architecture. It was rebuilt in the late 1890s. It's actually the oldest functioning wat in Luang Prabang, which gives it a slightly different feel from some of the other sites. It's an unusual in that it has a strange, almost European-looking, sloping front roof covering the entrance. The celebrated Pha Bang Buddha now in the Royal Palace Museum was housed here from 1507 to 1715 and again from 1867 to 1894. The sim today continues to be a valuable museum of religious art with numerous centuries-old Buddha statues in bronze and gilded and unadorned wood, ordination precinct stones, and other religious objects. It is famous for its lotus stupa. The dome stylistically reflects a Sinhalese influence and is the only stupa of this shape in Laos, or indeed the rest of Indochina or Thailand. Lao people refer to it as the Makmo or watermelon stupa. It becomes obvious why when you first see it. It was built in 1515 and was originally packed with small Buddha images made of jade, gems, and gold. Once you have read only a little bit about the history of Luang Prabang it comes as no surprise that the plundering Haw tore the stupa open to steal everything they could. The French restored it in 1895, but they didn't do a very sound job since they had to do it again in 1932 after rain caused it to partially fall down again.