Vientiane is the capital city of Laos, and it is the largest city in the country. Vientiane has served as the capital since 1563, prompted by fear of an impending invasion by Burma. The city is a center of commerce and features numerous attractions and monuments, as of 2014.
Though Lao myths claim that the city was built by a seven-headed deity, historians generally agree that it was first established as a Khmer settlement, which was then overtaken by the Lao and Thai people in the 11th or 12th century. With an estimated population of 754,000, it serves as the economic center of Laos, as of 2014. The That Luang, or Great Stupa, one of Laos' most significant monuments, is one of Vientiane's primary attractions.