A Soviet helicopter flying past one of the two Buddhas of Bamiyan in the Bamyan valley in the Hazarajat region of central Afghanistan, situated 230 km (140 mi) northwest of Kabul, 1980.
The main bodies were hewn directly from the sandstone cliffs, but details were modeled in mud mixed with straw, coated with stucco.
The statues were dynamited and destroyed in March 2001 by the Taliban, on orders from leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, after the Taliban government declared that they were “idols”. International opinion strongly condemned the destruction of the Buddhas, which was viewed as an example of the intolerance of the Taliban.
On 8 September 2008 archeologists searching for a legendary 300-metre statue at the site of the already dynamited Buddhas, announced the discovery of an unknown 19-metre (62-foot) reclining Buddha, a pose representing Buddha’s passage into nirvana.