7The Buddhas of Bamiyan, Afghanistan

The Buddhas of Bamiyan were two monumental statues carved into the side of a cliff in the Bamiyan Valley of central Afghanistan. Dating back to the 6th century, these statues stood at 53 meters and 35 meters high and were the largest examples of standing Buddha carvings in the world. They were a testament to the region’s Buddhist heritage. In March 2001, the Taliban, viewing the statues as idolatrous, dynamited and destroyed them, causing an irreplaceable loss to global cultural heritage.