Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Bamiyan province is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan. It is in the centre of the country. Its capital city is also called Bamiyan. Bamiyan city is the largest city in the Hazarajat region of Afghanistan, and is the cultural capital of the Hazara ethnic group that predominates in the area.
In antiquity, central Afghanistan was strategically placed to thrive from the Silk Road caravans which criss-crossed the region trading between the Roman Empire, China and India. Bamiyan was a stopping off point for many travellers. It was here where elements of Greek, Persian and Buddhist art were combined into a unique classical style, known as Greco-Buddhist art.
Bamiyan was the site of an early Buddhist monastery. Many statues of Buddha are carved into the sides of cliffs facing Bamiyan city. The two most prominent of these statues were standing Buddhas, measuring 55 and 37 meters high respectively, that were the largest examples of standing Buddha carvings in the world. They were probably erected in the 4th or 5th century C.E. They were cultural landmarks for many years and are listed among UNESCO's World Heritage Sites. In March 2001 the Taliban government decreed that the statues were idolatrous and ordered them to be demolished with anti-aircraft artillery and explosives.
Bamiyan is also known for its natural beauty. The Band-i-Amir lakes in western Bamiyan province continue to be a tourist destination for Afghans.
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