Bāmiyān Province. In
the mountainous district of eastern central Afghanistan, 246km
by road west of Kābul
2nd-1st C BC. (Numismatic); Kushan-Sasanian, 2nd-7th C. (Ceramic,
stylistic); Turk-pre-Mongol Islamic, 7th-13th C. (Ceramic,
extensive area of remains along the foot of the cliffs bordering
the north side of the valley. Gor a lenghth of c. 1800 m the
cliff face is honeycombed with some 750 artificial caves,
all forming a part of an extensive Buddhist monastic centre.
Some are very large and elaborately decorated in sculptures
and frescos. There are two large standing statues of Buddha,
53 m an 38 m high respectively, with a third seated Buddha
between the two. At the foot of the cliffs many mounds cover
structural remains, including a large stupa to the east of
the 38 m. Buddha and a series of Turkish-Ghurid fortifications.
Some Graeco-Bactrian coins were also excavated here in the
Ball, W. Archaeological Gazetteer of Afghanistan,
Paris, 1982, p. 49
The Buddha statues were blown by
the taliban in march 2001. In 2003 the Japanese Government
made a contribution of 1,800,000$ for its preservation. UNESCO
is the implementing agency.