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Laos: Plain of Jars

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Plain of Jars | Laos | Asia

[Visited: December 2000]

There are mysteries in this world which have existed for centuries but that have never been satisfactorily solved. The Plain of Jars in Laos is one of them. Hundreds of stone jars lie around the landscape at an estimated 50 sites, and their origin at this time has been established at around 3,000 years ago, a few hundreds of kilometres away from their current location. But their use is not yet clarified.

Picture of Plain of Jars (Laos): Jar in Plain of Jars

After the usual hassling about money and about which guide to take, we joined an Austrian couple for a tour of this area. From Phonsavan, a young guy took us directly to site number 1, and gave an extensive briefing on the background and history of the jars, as well as their fate during the Secret War in the 1960s and 1970s. The landscape all around is clearly changed by the effects of that war. Craters and treeless hills are strong testimonials.

Picture of Plain of Jars (Laos): Jars in Plain of Jars

Actually, the jars are not just scattered around in a random way, but deliberately placed in positions which make them form constellations of stars. Their use has been thought to be graves or hiding places of jewelry, among others. Theories are still in development, as is the clearance of other sites which lie in areas where bombing has been particularly heavy. And who knows how many more sites are hidden under the parts of the landscape which are still covered by their original thick green cover.

Picture of Plain of Jars (Laos): Jar in Plain of Jars
Picture of Plain of Jars (Laos): Jar in Plain of Jars
Picture of Plain of Jars (Laos): Workers in Plain of Jars
Picture of Plain of Jars (Laos): Girls in Plain of Jars
Picture of Plain of Jars (Laos): Plain of Jars landscape
Picture of Plain of Jars (Laos): Jars in Plain of Jars
Picture of Plain of Jars (Laos): Plain of Jars landscape

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