UNESCO is working on reinforcing the shell of the empty buddahs and you can climb up on the hill to get a panorama of the city.
Interestingly, the Italian team of UNESCO, working with a Japanese grant, were the same who put the Leaning Tower of Pisa, right and straight.
You probably should not be tripping through Afghanistan, now, anyway, since its pretty unstable.
Band-e-Amir lake in Yakawlang district is the most beautiful lake in the country.
The turquoise -azur colored water , though quite chilly, changes color as the sun moves. \
There a paddle boats to rent, restaurants and souvenir shops, as well.
If you are lucky you might stumble in on one of the rave parties thrown by one of the international NGOs.
Afghan people are kind-hearted although they are not wealthy. If you see crowds, don't be scared. Unlike in other countries where they would gather if guys are fighting or is being mobbed, in Afghanistan, they gather together if somebody's playing a musical instrument, if there's a film shooting, if guys are having fun dancing their steps "Atan".
Afghan people like to watch other people too as you can see from the other photos here.
One could rent a boat. It can accommodate 3 persons. You have to manually move it with the pedals and it takes two persons to do it. Why do it? The water is clean, you can see fish in the water - lots of fish. Fishing is not allowed.
The boats provided at Band-e Amir lakes are good for 2-3 passengers. If you are travelling with friends, I would recommend that you bring a "boat" with you to make the most out of your visit. Or you can ask your contact to find out where you could rent a bigger boat.
The Afghans are not allowed to fish in the Band-e Amir lakes and this applies to you as well. But good news - you can swim with the fish which come a plenty! The water is bluer than the sky and you can dip with as much pleasure as you like - in summer where temperatures are bearable. During the remaining seasons, the water will be too cold for you. Take note: Men can wear long shorts but not swimming trunks and women are fully clothed.
This is called the Red City. Beneath it are farms but owners allow visitors to pass through and visit the Red City. It is called so because of its color. The Russians who have stayed in Afghanistan have stayed there to defend themselves. Once I get a chance, I will try to get facts and share them with you.
Like a footprint in wet sand, the Buddha niches in the background with 3 happy children in the foreground. Chances are that it was not only us who had never seen the Buddhas intact. These children probably never saw them either as most are re-settled refugees.
Once you make it to Bamyan, you can check-in at one of two hotes there, then organize your sight seeing trips.
There are a few nice places to visit.
Obviously, the Buddha site is the most interesting. It is close to the city, ans one can easily walk there.
The Red City is 20 minutes by taxi, from the city. Then it takes 15 minutes to walk to the top, to admire the ancient ruins.
Band-Amir lakes are situated in Yawkalang district, to the west, about one and half hour from Bamyan. You should count on a whole day to get there, visit, and come back.
Dragon Mountain is also interesting, and it is about one hour by car from Bamyan. That visit is a short day.
The World watched in horror as the Taliban in a public show of anger and fanaticism destroyed with a combination of dynamite and Tank fire, the two famous Buddhas which graced the cliffs of Bamiyan in Afghanistan. In the view of the Taliban, the statues were un-islamic idols of a infidel religion which did'nt help Afghanistan in any "practical" way in terms of relieving sanctions (which is true). So the Buddhas became a convenient focus of international dispute and a tool of manipulation. Rather than putting all the blame onto Taliban fundamentalism, we can explain the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas as an example of what happens when differing regimes are stubborn and refuse to communicate or compromise.
Today,the Bamiyan cliffs are still as impressive as ever despite the abscence of the Buddhas. The Niches containing the two giant Buddhas lie vacant with a sign written by UNESCO proudly declaring the site is protected. We were unsure if this notice was put up before or after the destruction of the Buddhas. Nevertheless, the mounds of rubble which lie where two magnificent carvings once stood, are a sorry sight. This however does not mean that there is nothing to see in Bamiyan. Approaching the town, one is astounded by the sight of the cliffs across the green fields. Lit orange and baked by the hot Afghan sunset, the cliffs are a giant honeycomb of caves and grottoes which were once the home of a Buddhist society. No tourist infrastructures are in place, and visitors are free to wander where they wish without the usual hassle of postcard hawkers, overly big tour groups, and overly protective security guards which grace most tourist sites of this size elsewhere in the world. Wandering around the top of the cliffs means that you must watch where you tread, as live ammunition litters the whole area from the cliffs use as a defensive outpost recently. A true wonder of a Buddhist society's legacy.
Glorious photo of the view surrounding the Buddhist cliffs around sunset.It was quite a unique experience to wander freely around such an amazing tourist sight without any hawkers, attendants or any of the other annoyances which can lessen the impact of such sights. Truly a rare opportunity.
The heartbreaking sight of the Buddha Niches. Labelled as "Idolatory and created by Infidels" the Taliban destroyed the 2 Buddhas in 1999 with dynamite and tank gunfire. All that remains of the 2 big Buddhas is rubble.
coming soon. i've to do research on the site. I know that very recently, there's supposed to be a 300-m long Buddha underneath the site.
The Band-e Amir lakes are totally awesome! Surrounded by mountains which will remind you of Grand Canyons, the lakes are clean, bluer than blue and has so many fish in them!
You will need the best hiking shoes. Stones, sands, slopes - they make hiking not easy. The sights of Grand Canyon-like mountains make you forget the difficulties.