Saving Afghanistan’s Incredible Heritage; Laure Cailloce; CNRS News

Afghanistan – Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley

For nearly a century, the French Archaeological Delegation in Afghanistan (DAFA) has been drawing up an inventory of the archaeological heritage of one of the world’s most unstable countries. Some 5000 sites have already been discovered, both on the ground and from the air. They reveal Afghanistan’s remarkable archaeological wealth, including protohistoric, Greek, Buddhist and Islamic remains, as archaeologist Julio Bendezu-Sarmiento explains.

For the last thirty years, Afghanistan has been associated with images of war, of the Soviet occupation, civil strife, and the Taliban—to the point of concealing the extent to which the country once fired the imagination of archaeologists and adventurers of every sort. It was there that Alexander the Great, who had set out to conquer Asia, is said to have met and married the beautiful Roxana around 330 BC. Buddhism found fertile ground there too, yielding some of its most beautiful works of art, such as the tragically renowned Buddhas carved into the cliffs of the Bamiyan valley, and destroyed by the Taliban in 2001.

Read more from source: CNRS News

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