The Buddhas of Bamyan are located about 230 km northwest of Kabul and are amazing. These two colossal Buddha statutes were carved into the side of a sandstone cliff and one is 54.8 m (180 ft) tall and while the other is 36.9 m (121 ft)) tall. The smaller statue was built in 507 AD, while the larger statued was constructed later in 554 AD. Other caves in the areas also have small statues and grottos that hermits made while trying to reach enlightenment. This made the area a centre for Buddhist and Hindu monasteries and a religious centre for central Asia during this time. The statues were decorated in a blend of Hellenistic and Indian styles with elaborate paints and cloth. In March of 2001 the Taliban decided to destroy the two large Buddhas because they thought they violated Islamic law. Some other Islamic countries, like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, tried to stop them but it ultimately failed and the statues were destroyed anyway. Today several countries have pledged money to restore and rebuild the statues. The Buddhas are considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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