History of Buddha statues in the Bamiyan Valley

10 Dec

Buddha statuesBamiyan Valley is located in the central part of Afghanistan, less than 200 kilometers north-west of Kabul. The valley is a modern city of Bamiyan – the center of the homonymous province of Afghanistan. Valley is the only convenient passage through the Hindu Kush, so since ancient times served as trade corridor. In the II century Buddhist monasteries arose here.

When King Ashoka began construction of the giant statues that ended only after two years. In the V century Chinese traveler wrote about ten monasteries and thousands of monks who inhabited.

Extensive cave complexes carved into the rock served as an inn for pilgrims and traders. In the XI century the valley was annexed to the Ghaznavid Muslim state, but did not Buddhist shrines were destroyed. In the valley of the city grew Gaugale decorated fine mosques. In 1221, Genghis Khan’s troops destroyed the city and devastated the valley. In the Middle Ages a complex of Buddhist monasteries in the Bamiyan Valley was named Kafirkala – city infidels.

Unique are the two giant Buddha statues that were included in a complex of Buddhist monasteries in the Bamiyan Valley. In 2001, despite the protests of the international community and other Islamic countries, the statues were vandalized by the Taliban, who considered that they are pagan idols and must be destroyed. The statues were carved into the cliffs surrounding the valley, partly supplemented by solid plaster holding a wooden armature.

Made of tree tops individual sculptures have been lost in antiquity. Also destroyed sculptures in the monasteries of the valley there is another depicting the reclining Buddha, its excavation began in 2004.

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Posted by on December 10, 2013 in Historical


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