|In 1563, King Setthathirat made Vientiane (in Lao language Vieng Chan) the capital of the kingdom of Lane Xang. The two most important Wats of Vientiane, Wat That Luang and Wat Phra Keo date back to that time. In 1827 Vientiane had been conquered and sacked by a Siamese army. For decades the town lay in ruins, until the French, at the beginning of their colonial reign rebuilt it. However, Vientiane today does not feature French-influenced architecture to the same extent as Phnom Penh and Saigon. Instead there is a strong Thai influence. With barely half a Million inhabitants Vientiane is the smallest capital in Southeast Asia (except for Bandar Seri Begawan of Brunei).