Between ecology, heritage and development - will Luang Prabang be able to keep its soul?

Conference by Françoise Capelle, Doctor in archeology (Paris1 University), at 18:00 p.m. in the auditorium of the Cernuschi museum.

The city of Luang Prabang is now threatened by a proposed dam located just 8,6 kilometers from an active seismic fault line. This new dam could be the victim of a strong earthquake of magnitude 7 or 8”.

Despite these concerns, and the absence of a rigorous study concerning seismic risks, the Laotian authorities gave the green light for this project supported by Thai promoters and investors. Yet another dam, which appears as new proof of the ambition of Laos, a landlocked and rural country in Southeast Asia, to become “the battery of Asia” by multiplying its hydroelectricity resources.

This project, located 25 kilometers upstream of Luang Prabang, also risks threatening the “integrity” of this city classified as a UNESCO world heritage site.

This recent threat adds to the undesirable effects of tourism. Inscription on the world heritage list by UNESCO in 1995 promoted development centered on heritage and cultural values. This renovation, a true exemplary success of cooperation between French ministry, local teams and donors, allowed the city to revive after the war. But families are leaving because prices are soaring and traditions with them. They make way for restaurants and guesthouses. In addition, now an international airport and a train connecting Boten to Vientiane pour in streams of tourists. This railway line linking Vientiane and Boten (Chinese border) is only part of the very large “Belt and Road” railway project whose aim is to connect the city of Kunming to Singapore.

In view of these new threats, we will examine which assets Luang Prabang should highlight to preserve its incomparable charm.


Enter a text and press Enter to search