Bamiyan Valley Facts: Cultural & Archaeological Remains | Kidadl


Bamiyan Valley Facts: Cultural & Archaeological Remains

Arts & Crafts
Learn more
Reading & Writing
Learn more
Math & Logic
Learn more
Sports & Active
Learn more
Music & Dance
Learn more
Social & Community
Learn more
Mindful & Reflective
Learn more
Outdoor & Nature
Learn more
Read these Tokyo facts to learn all about the Japanese capital.

The Bamiyan Valley is famous for its two large statues of standing Bamiyan Buddhas, which were carved into the side of a cliff in the sixth century AD. This is a UNESCO preserved place.

The Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley are excellent examples of Buddhist art that developed from the interplay of man and nature, particularly between the first and thirteenth centuries CE.

The kingdom of Bamiyan was a Buddhist monarchy located in a crucial location along the trade routes that connected China and Central Asia with India and the west for millennia.

Many Bamiyan Buddhas were carved into the slopes of cliffs overlooking Bamiyan province. The two most renowned of these sculptures were standing Buddhas were the world's biggest examples of standing Buddha carvings.

Intrigued by this lost heritage site? Read on to know more about the Bamiyan province

Discovery And History

The Bamiyan Valley is home to a rich cultural heritage and archaeological history, with Buddhist art dating back to the Neolithic period.

The Bamiyan Valley was first mentioned in historical records in the late 12th century AD. At this time, the Bamiyan Valley was under the control of the Ghorid dynasty.

In the early 16th century, the Bamiyan Valley came under the control of the Safavid dynasty. During this time, many of the valley's inhabitants converted to Shia Islam.

The Bamiyan Valley was conquered by the Afghan Durrani Empire in 1747. The Bamiyan Valley remained part of the Afghan Durrani Empire until the British invaded Afghanistan in 1839.

In the early years of the Christian period, the city of Bamiyan province was part of the Kushan Empire. Following the fall of the Kushan Empire to the Sassanids, Bamyan became a vassal of the Sassanids. In the fifth century, the Buddhist pilgrim Fa Xian visited Bamyan and reported that the king called the region's monks for vows and prayers.

The Hephthalites conquered Bamiyan province in the fifth century. Bamyan was destroyed by the Sassanids and Turks in 565 AD. After this, the Saffarids made it the capital of the Kushano-Hephthalite kingdom until 870 AD. In the 11th century, the Ghaznavids conquered Bamiyan. Until the late 12th century, it was ruled by the Ghurid Dynasty. Then Genghis Khan came along and wiped out the population of Bamiyan in 1221. After that Bamiyan was under the Qarlughids' rule. Later the city was reconstructed and populated in the 15th century during the Timurid rule.

The region was at war in 1840 as a result of the First Anglo-Afghan War, in which the British crushed Dost Mohammad Khan and his army. William Moorcroft (explorer) was the first European to visit Bamyan in 1824. During the period 1998–2001, Bamyan was the epicenter of conflict between Taliban troops and the anti-Taliban coalition, primarily Hizb-i-Wahdat, as well as fighting between warlords of the local militia. Bamyan is also known as Daizangi's capital.

The valley was strategically important even in ancient times because of its placement on one of the key trade routes from the West to China and India. It was once a commerce caravan station, a well-known artistic destination, and an important Buddhist center for centuries. Bamiyan grew in significance during later Islamic control until it was attacked and entirely ruined by Genghis Khan.

The Bamiyan Valley was first inhabited by humans over 4,000 years ago. Know all Bamiyan Valley facts here.

Written Literature You Can Find On Them

The Bamiyan Valley is mentioned in a number of ancient texts found in the archaeological remains, including the Avesta and the Behistun Inscription.

In the Avesta, the Bamiyan Valley is referred to as 'the land of good fortune'. In the Behistun Inscription, the Bamiyan Valley is described as a place where 'the sun never sets'.

The Bamiyan Valley is also mentioned in the writings of Marco Polo, who visited the valley in 1273 AD. Polo referred to the Bamiyan Valley, a cultural landscape, as a place of 'incredible beauty'.


Significant funds have been gathered to conserve the monuments as part of the efforts of UNESCO to protect cultural assets in Afghanistan. For example, the Bamiyan Buddhas were at risk of collapse. These were stabilized, and the cave's wall murals holding cultural heritage were conserved.

For years, two teams of archaeologists found world heritage in the valley. Several monastery sites have previously been discovered, leading to the discovery of a 62.34 ft (19 m) tall reclining figure preserved in ruins of culture. The massive Bamiyan stupa was also excavated. Archaeologists are hunting for a portrayal of a sleeping Buddha thought to be about 984.25 ft (300 m) long in the valley, among other things. This makes it important for UNESCO.

The Japanese-funded Bamiyan Training Center for Cultural Heritage Conservation was established in 2005. In the long run, there are plans to establish a cultural heritage museum in the cultural landscape. UNESCO is also attempting to catalog the valley's archaeological sites in order to establish a precise land use plan for the entire valley. Tourism has to be promoted in order to secure the long-term preservation of the monuments and culture.

Site Statistics

Bamiyan is initially referenced in fifth-century Chinese literature. Chinese scholars like Faxian (c. 400 CE) and Xuanzang (630) visited the city when it was already a commercial and religious center at the time. In the fourth and fifth centuries, two gigantic Buddha statues were erected there; the largest was 175 ft (53 m) tall, while the lesser was 120 ft (40 m). The figures were cut from live rock and polished with delicate plaster before being painted. When Xuanzang viewed the figurines, he noticed that they were similarly adorned with gold and exquisite diamonds.

Bamiyan became a major Afghan archaeological site because of the Buddhist figures and the ancient man-made caves. In 2001, the Taliban destroyed much of these. During the subsequent search for a colossal reclining Buddha—also reported by Xuanzang and thought to be some 980 ft (300 m) long—in 2008 an additional Buddha was discovered nearby. The third-century statue, which was badly damaged, represented the Buddha in a sleeping position and measured 62 ft (19 m) in length.

Since 2003, the various ruins of monasteries, painted caves, monuments, and fortresses have been listed as a global cultural treasure by UNESCO. They were also included in the Red List of World Heritage in Danger at the same time.

In particular, the protected world heritage sites are as follows:

Bamiyan Buddha sculptures from the sixth century. At least 900 caverns cut into the rock, embellished with paintings and stucco work, surround the niches of the two 173.89 ft (53 m) and 114.83 ft (35 m high), shattered sculptures.

The Islamic fortification Schahr-i Suhak, located approximately 9.32 mi (15 km) east of the cliff, dates from the time of the Ghaznavids and Ghurids (10th to 13th centuries).

The ruins of Qallai Kaphari, located approximately 7.46 mi (12 km) east of the cliff, include protecting walls, towers, and castles.

The fortified fortress Schahr-e Gholghola is atop a hill in the valley's center (6th to 10th centuries).

The Kakrak Valley, located approximately 1.86 mi (3 km) southeast of the cliff, features about 100 caves dating from the sixth to thirteenth centuries, as well as the ruins of a 32.81 ft (10 m) high Buddha statue and an altar with murals from the Sassanid Empire.

The caves in the Foladi Valley, approximately 1.24 mi (2 km) southwest of the cliff, including the ornate Qoul-i Akram and Kalai Ghamai caves.


How was the Bamiyan Valley created?

The Bamiyan Valley was created over millions of years by the erosion of the Bamiyan River. The Bamiyan River is a tributary of the Oxus River, which flows through Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. The Bamiyan Valley is approximately 9,842.52 ft (3,000 m) above sea level.

How to get to Bamiyan Valley?

The Bamiyan Valley is located in the central highlands of Afghanistan. The Bamiyan Valley can be reached by road from Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan.

The Bamiyan Valley is also accessible by air, with a number of domestic and international airlines offering flights to Bamiyan Airport.

How long has the statue been in Bamiyan Valley?

The two statues of standing Buddhas in the Bamiyan Valley were carved into the side of a cliff in the sixth century AD.

What was worshipped in the Bamiyan valley?

The Bamiyan Valley was home to a variety of religions, including Buddhism, Hinduism, and Zoroastrianism.

Where is the Bamiyan Valley located?

The Bamiyan Valley is located in the central highlands of Afghanistan.

What was significant about the location of Bamiyan?

The Bamiyan Valley was significant because it was located on the Silk Route, a trade route that connected China and India with the Middle East and Europe.

How many statues were there originally in Buddha of Bamiyan?

There were two main statues.

Why were the Buddhas of Bamiyan important?

The Buddhas of Bamiyan were important because they were the largest examples of standing Buddha statues in the world.

Why is Bamiyan Valley endangered?

The Bamiyan Valley is endangered because it has been the target of numerous terrorist attacks in recent years.

Why is Bamiyan Valley so famous?

In March 2001, the Bamiyan Valley was the site of a suicide bombing that killed more than 100 people. In September 2006, an explosion destroyed the largest Buddha statue in the Bamiyan Valley. In March 2010, a bomb blast killed nine people at Bamiyan University.

Written By
Sakshi Thakur

<p>Sakshi is a skilled content writer with extensive experience in the education industry. With a keen eye for detail and a passion for helping others, she has developed a reputation for excellence in academic content writing. She has worked with esteemed professionals such as Mr. Kapil Raj, a professor of History of Science at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris, further enhancing her knowledge and expertise. Sakshi is well-versed in the latest developments in e-learning and has a deep understanding of how to engage students and make learning fun and accessible. In her spare time, she indulges in her creative passions, including painting, embroidery, and listening to soft music. She also enjoys exploring new cultures and traveling, which helps her broaden her perspectives and inspire her writing. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Science from Panjab University.</p>

Read The Disclaimer

Was this article helpful?