UNESCO plans museum for destroyed Afghan Buddhas

UNESCO plans museum for destroyed Afghan Buddhas
# 10 March 2011 04:56 (UTC +04:00)
Baku – APA. World culture body UNESCO unveiled plans Wednesday to preserve the site of the giant Buddhas of Bamiyan, an Afghan archaeological treasure destroyed by the Taliban 10 years ago, APA reports quoting AFP.
The UN cultural body said international experts and Afghan officials at a meeting in Paris stopped short of recommending the two Buddha statues be fully rebuilt in replica, but called for several museums to be set up nearby.
They said the westernmost of the two cliffside niches that housed the Buddhas should be left empty "as a testimony of the violence that occurred" under the Taliban who were driven out later in 2001 by a US-led invasion, UNESCO said in a statement.
For the other niche, "a feasibility study may be undertaken to determine whether or not a partial reassembling of fragments of the eastern Buddha could be an option in the coming years," it added.
The regime blew up the monuments, the larger of which stood about 55 metres (180 feet) tall in the rocky Bamiyan valley, an ancient Buddhist site on the Silk Road, in March 2001, branding them un-Islamic.
"There is a need to construct a central museum in Bamiyan and smaller site museums within the landscape in order to preserve and display findings from the valley within the World Heritage property," it said.
"Work needs to be pursued to safeguard and preserve the entire cultural landscape of Bamiyan Valley."
UNESCO added the rocky Bamiyan valley, with its old forts, temples and cave paintings, to its list of endangered heritage sites in 2003. Since then it has spent years preserving the remains and removing mines from the site.