Wat Ong Teu is in a particularly propitious place. It is surrounded by four temples: Wat Inpeng to the north, Wat Mixay to the south, Wat Haysok to the east, and Wat Chan to the west. It is named after a huge bronze Buddha (ongteu) in the sim (ordination hall). It's a mighty 5.8m (19 ft.) high. It is why it is called "Temple of the Heavy Buddha." It is also known for its beautifully carved wooden facade. The temple was first constructed in the early 16th century during the reign of King Setthathirat. Like almost every other temple in Vientiane it was destroyed in later wars with the Thais. The temple was then rebuilt in the 19th and 20th centuries. Wat Ong Teu Mahawihan is also the home base of the Patriarch of Lao Buddhism and serves as a center for Buddhist studies.