The most spectacular Khmer temple in Laos has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2001. It was built in the early 11C on the west bank of the Mekong in honour of Shiva. The complex stands in a superb natural setting, extending across seven terraces in the shade of frangipane trees. It follows an east-west axis between the river and the Phu Kao, a sacred mountain whose phallic shape resembles that of the Shiva lingam. The sanctuary, reconsecrated to Buddhism in the 13C, remains a place of great veneration.