Cultural Landscape and 
Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley (2003)
Afghanistan

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Afghanistan 1965. Tourist stamp. General view of the Bamiyan Valley.

Afghanistan 2002. View from Bamiyan.

The cultural landscape and archaeological remains of the Bamiyan Valley represent the artistic and religious developments which from the 1st to the 13th centuries characterized ancient Bakhtria, integrating various cultural influences into the Gandhara school of Buddhist art. The area contains numerous Buddhist monastic ensembles and sanctuaries, as well as fortified edifices from the Islamic period. 
  • Afghanistan 1965. Tourist stamp. General view of the Bamiyan Valley. 
  • Afghanistan 2002. View from Bamiyan. Scan by courtesy of Mario Villena (Spain). 

The site is also testimony to the tragic destruction by the Taliban of the two standing Buddha statues, which shook the world in March 2001. 

The property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger in 2003 for the following reasons:

The Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger at the 27th session of the World Heritage Committee simultaneously with its inscription on the World Heritage List. The property is in a fragile state of conservation considering that it has suffered from abandonment, military action and dynamite explosions. 

Afghanistan 2003. Buddha Statues of Bamiyan. Fragments of a Woman'f Face. Stamp # 1 of four. Afghanistan 2003. Buddha Statues of Bamiyan. Ghandara School of Buddhist Art. Monumental Buddha Head. Stamp #2 of four. Afghanistan 2003. Buddha Statues of Bamiyan. Ghandara School of Buddhist Art - Statue from the Takht-i-Bahi Monastery. Stamp #3 of four. Afghanistan 2003. Buddha Statues of Bamiyan. Monumental Buddha Hand. Stamp #4 of four.

The major dangers include: risk of imminent collapse of the Buddha niches with the remaining fragments of the statues, further deterioration of still existing mural paintings in the caves, looting and illicit excavation. Parts of the site are inaccessible due to the presence of antipersonnel mines.

Sources and links:

Other World Heritage Sites in Afghanistan (on this website). Eventually refer to the UNESCO-listing, Afghanistan-Section, for further information on the individual properties. 

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Revised 13 jul 2007  
Copyright 1999-2007 Ann Mette Heindorff 
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