The Consolidation and Stabilization of the Buddha niches and the cliff in Bamiyan (2003/04; 2006)

  • Claudio Margottini (Autor/in)

Identifier (Dateien)


The historical site of Bamiyan is affected by geomorphological deformation processes which were worsened by the blowingup of the Buddhas in March 2001, when the statues, dating back to the 6th century AD, were destroyed. Not only was invaluable cultural heritage irremediably lost, but also the consequences of the explosions as well as the collapse of the giant statues added greatly to the geological instability of the area. Traces of rocks recently slid and fallen are relevant proofs of the deterioration of its stability conditions and most parts appear prone to collapse in the near future.
Under the coordination of UNESCO, a global project to assess the feasibility conditions for the site’s restoration was developed; field data were collected and a mechanism for the potential cliff and niches’ evolution was provided. In the meantime some consolidation works were carried out in the most critical rock fall-prone areas to avoid any further collapse in the coming winter season, but also to enable archaeologists the safe cataloguing and recovering of the Buddha statues’ remains, still lying on the floor of the niches. The emergency activities started in October 2003 and included: the installation of a monitoring system, the realization of temporary supports for the unstable blocks, the stabilization of the upper-eastern and upper-western part of the Eastern Buddha niche, the minimization of the environmental impact of the actions taken. Consolidation works were mainly implemented by professional climbers, directly operating on the cliff.