Afghanistan’s ‘Buddha City’ Becomes First Cultural Capital

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) selected Bamiyan province as its first cultural capital for 2015.


Credit: Khaama Press (KP) | Afghan News Agency

A mountainous province called Bamiyan in the center of Afghanistan is mostly known for its Buddha statues, the Band-e-Amir beautiful natural dam and hundreds of other ancient and historic heritages.

The Afghan Foreign Ministry said that a delegation of the SAARC cultural center visited Bamiyan province on the weekend and met Afghan culture officials.

The delegation formally declared Bamiyan as the cultural capital of SAARC nations for 2015, the ministry said in a statement.

“The declaration will provide an opportunity for Bamiyan to generate considerable cultural, social and economic benefits and will also abet urban regeneration,” said Sayed Makhdoom Raheen, Afghan culture minister.

G.L.W. Samarasinghe, director of the Colombo-based SAARC Cultural Center said that a series of year-long cultural events with a national and also South Asian dimension would be organized at Bamiyan in 2015.

The Buddha statues registered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization as the world’s heritage were destroyed by the Taliban during their rule in 2001, despite international opposition.

Afghanistan has witnessed significant achievements in culture in the past decade. The Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISECO) named Ghazni province as the capital of Islamic Civilization in 2013.

Also, on March 27, the international Nowruz festival was held in the capital Kabul with the participation of four presidents, some foreign ministers and other senior officials from several countries and international organizations.

The Afghanistan National Museum could regain some of its relics looted and smuggled abroad during the civil war (1992-1996).

Hafiz Ahmadi graduated from Faculty of Journalism, Kabul University in 2001. He has worked with different Afghan and international media in his 10-year career. Hafiz is a correspondent with the German Press Agency (dpa). Read other articles by Hafiz.

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