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In Search of the Reclining Buddha

In the heights of the Western Hindu Kush Mountains, an archaeological team, headed by Professor Zameryalai Tarzi of Stasbourg University , has been working hard, assiduously striving to unearth the secrets buried for centuries or millennia under the rocks of central Afghanistan.


This is not the first time the professor, from a well-known family, digs in Bamian. Before the communist government, he had been there, researching on a dig, and later returned to Afghanistan to manage the protection of its historic heritage. Years later, after having lived in France for a time, he again returned to continue his research and work in the Bamian area.


The Taliban blew up the two large upright Buddha statues in 2001 but Professor Tarzi did not give up his search for the elusive reclining Buddha. This is mentioned in oral traditions of local people, and reported to be in the area by ancient foreign travel diaries.


His team have already discovered a new Buddha statue, and some say they are on the way to finding the reclining Buddha. The team have already found numerous smaller statues, Buddhist stupas, and coins from both before and after the arrival of Islam, and are currently excavating the site of the recently discovered statue.


Professor Tarzi concludes that Bamian was an economic, military and religious power of the time, producing iron goods and weapons, trading with distant places, as well as receiving pilgrims.

In this multimedia package, we can glimpse what has survived centuries of sacking and pillaging by numerous invaders, and the tenacity of those seeking to unearth the truth.

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