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Experts Discuss the Fate of Afghanistan’s Giant Buddhas

Groups of experts from around the world have converged on Bamiyan, with hopes of using the remaining fragments of the Giant Buddhas to reconstruct the massive structures. The statues, which stood at 174 feet tall and 115 feet tall and were destroyed in 2001 by Taliban forces. "It is the desire of the people, and my wish also, to have at least one of them rebuilt," said Habiba Sarabi, Bamiyan's governor.

Many artists and cultural experts want to reassemble the fragments and rebuild the Buddhas entirely or partially, while others suggest the Buddhas could be reconstructed with new materials, such as concrete, bricks, plastic or laser light. A vigorous debate has developed regarding the fate of the Buddhas, with some arguing that the Taliban's destruction of the monuments should be acknowledged by leaving the statues to remain in ruins.

The Bamiyan Valley was historically one of the epicenters of Buddhist culture. Nestled in a scenic landscape, Bamiyan’s rich history was acknowledged in 2003 when it was listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

 

 


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