Bamiyan is set on a fertile plateau, and the town is noted for its huge Buddha figures carved into the side of a cliff more than 1,500 years ago. The Buddhas were literally defaced by Muslim conquerers many years ago, but they remained in good condition, preserved by the dry climate. Along the cliffs, sometimes very high, were numerous man-made caves, once meditation cells for Buddhist monks.

In a grotesque case of cultural vandalism, the extreme Islamist Taliban government destroyed this and other centuries-old "idols" in March 2001.

1977, 1999 Richard McGuire

Visit "Requiem for Bamiyan" - (Archeological Groups of Italy)


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