monumental statues of standing buddhas carved into the side of a cliff in the Bamyan valley in the Hazarajat region of central Afghanistan, situated 230 km (143 miles) northwest of Kabul at an altitude of 2500 meters (8,202 ft).
It was the site of several Buddhist and Hindu monasteries, and a thriving center for religion, philosophy, and Indo-Greek art.
It was a Buddhist religious site from the second century up to the time of the Islamic invasion in the ninth century.
Bamyan province takes its name from Sanskrit word varmayana.
Many statues of Buddha are carved into the sides of cliffs facing the city.
The elements of Greek, Persian and Buddhist art exists here and when combined into this unique classical style it known as Greco-Buddhist art.
Bamyan Afghanistan was the site of an early Buddhist monastery.
The shepherd had made the discovery by chance while seeking shelter from a rainstorm decades ago.
But he had missed the significance until making a passing mention to scientists.
Japan and Switzerland, among others, have pledged support for the rebuilding of the statues.
Bamyan lies on the Silk Road which lies in the Hindu Kush mountain region, in the Bamiyan Valley.
They were intentionally dynamited and destroyed in 2001 by the Taliban, on orders from leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, after the Taliban government declared that they were "idols" (which are forbidden under Sharia law).