epa02809557 An Afghan farmer plows his field near the scene where one of the two colossal statues of Buddha carved into the sandstone cliffs were demolished by the Talibans in March 2001, in Bamiyan, Afghanistan, 04 July 2011. The monumental Buddha statues of Bamyan were, until their destruction, one of the best-known historic and cultural sights of Afghanistan. Carved from the cliff in the early 6th and 7th centuries AD they date to an era when Buddhism was the dominant religion in region, and when Bamyan was an important center on the network of trade routes between China, Europe, India and central Asia. The eastern Buddha (38 m high) was carved first, in the middle of the 6th century, and the western Buddha (55m) in the early 7th century the statues were one brightly decorated. The hundreds of nearby caves were used by monks and were once decorated with elabor
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