Luang Prabang and the UNESCO World Heritage Site
According to the Luang Prabang Tourist Office, 400,000 tourists from all over the world have visited Luang Prabang in 2015. Since the UNESCO declared the town as a World Heritage Site in 1995 the numbers have risen with each passing year so they legitimately hope to boost the number over 700,000 until 2020.
The city lures tourists with its landmark attractions like plenty of century-old Buddhist temples and monasteries, Phousy hill with the Buddha cave and Kuang Xi waterfall, which is easy accessible. Most foreign visitors come also to see the old temples and the activities of the monks living in them – which is one of the criterias (V) what makes it UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to the Kingdome of Lane Xang (More detail about the other criteria for selection you’ll get from here).
It’s all about the silk
The Kingdome of Lane Xang (“Kingdom of a Million Elephants”) was also in charge for the silk becoming important to Luang Prabang. Furthermore, Luang Prabang was its capital from the 14th to the 16th century because of its strategic location on the silk road that caused wealth and influence.
So it’s pretty clear that silk meant a lot to Luang Prabang inhabitants in past and in connection with the idea of UNESCO World Heritage it’s still common today.
A weeklong festival organised by Luang Prabang Handicrafts Association in the middle of LPB’s historical center
Many woman still wear a traditional tube skirt called “ສິ້ນ” (sinh) as visitors of the festival could ascertain. The sinh is usually made of silk, cotton or a combination of fibers and is woven with motifs that reflect the ethnic culture of a community or region, or the occasion for which it is intended. Traditionally a sinh is completely handmade; from the hand spinning of the silk or cotton to the dyeing process, preperation of the pattern and loom, and finally hand weaving.
But Handicrafts Festival involves more than the sinh. There were also pockets and similar products made of cotton or silk as well as weavings and products of Lao cuisine.
Visitors were able to witness traditional music and dancing performances with coffee or tea beside. In the first few days Luang Prabang Handicrafts Festival attracted more than 3,000 local and foreign visitors and organizers hoped to attract at least 9,000 until it was closed.
20 booths, mostly operated by artisans and handicraft makers, selled an extensive variety of products including textiles and many other cultural items from Luang Prabang and surrounding areas. There was plenty selection – from inexpensive souveniers to exquisite high-end collectables – at this festival, that aimed to coincide with celebrating the 21st Anniversary of Luang Prabang as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Get more impressions from this video