A Soviet helicopter flying past one of the two Buddhas of Bamiyan in the Bamyan valley in the Hazarajat region of central Afghanistan, situated 230 km (140 mi) northwest of Kabul, 1980.
The main bodies were hewn directly from the sandstone cliffs, but details were modeled in mud mixed with straw, coated with stucco.
The statues were dynamited and destroyed in March 2001 by the Taliban, on orders from leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, after the Taliban government declared that they were “idols”. International opinion strongly condemned the destruction of the Buddhas, which was viewed as an example of the intolerance of the Taliban.
On 8 September 2008 archeologists searching for a legendary 300-metre statue at the site of the already dynamited Buddhas, announced the discovery of an unknown 19-metre (62-foot) reclining Buddha, a pose representing Buddha’s passage into nirvana.
afghan men play volley ball infront of the buddhas of bamyan,
Carved into the mountainside by Buddhist monks between the second and fifth centuries, the Buddhas of Bamiyan were notoriously destroyed by the Taliban in 2001.
McCurry took this photograph approximately twenty minutes after sunset. With the dust from the cliff face powdering the fragile roof of the workshop below, it appears as if the building is being drawn into the mountainside.
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French archeologist Joseph Hackin exploring The Buddhas of Bamiyan, Afghanistan, 1931.
Hazara child holds a young goat in Bamiyan Province, Afghanistan.
feeding the doves at the shrine of hazrat ali in mazar-i-sharif. revered by muslims as the tomb of the son-in-law of the prophet mohammed, this fifteenth century mosque in afghanistan’s northern balkh province, near the border of uzbekistan, is also known as the blue mosque for the cobalt blue and turquoise colours of its minarets and domes. photos by (click pic) zekria gulistani, farzana wahidy, steve mccurry and mohammad kheirkhah