05.09.2019 - UNESCO Office in Kabul

UN’s Deputy Representative visits UNESCO Projects in Bamiyan

©UNESCO.

2019.09.05 | As part of an official visit to the Bamiyan Province, on September 2 and 3, 2019, the Deputy Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General to Afghanistan, Mr. Toby Lanzer, visited some of the most significant cultural projects that UNESCO and the Government of Afghanistan are implementing in the region.

Accompanied by UNESCO staff, on September 2 Mr. Lanzer visited the site of the Bamiyan Cultural Centre (BCC). Funded by the governments of the Republic of Korea and Afghanistan, the BCC was planned as a state-of-the-art cultural infrastructure that will integrate display areas, an auditorium, a tea room, library, workshop and training areas. In addition to its multi-purpose cultural facilities, the BCC will also include a café, bookshop and public gardens.

It is hoped that the BCC will represent the region’s most significant cultural hub, connecting the World Heritage property in Bamiyan to the rich culture-based creative industries in the region. It will work as a fundamental culture & education tool, contributing to improving community income and livelihoods through arts and heritage education, and to the country’s nation building process through intercultural dialogue, community participation and tourism opportunities.

On September 3, Mr. Lanzer visited Shahr-e Gholghola, one of eight serial sites listed as World Heritage in Bamiyan. From the top of Gholghola’s citadel, some 2600 metres above sea level, one can sight some of UNESCO’s most significant contributions to heritage protection and cultural development in Bamiyan: the impressive cliff and niches where once stood two giant Buddha statues, the Kakrak Valley, with its many caves with paintings and decorative elements, and the BCC itself.

The ongoing conservation of the two large Buddha niches and the documentation of the large body of caves with paintings and decorative elements throughout the Bamiyan Valley has been mostly funded by the Government of Japan, in a sequence of trust fund projects between UNESCO and the Government of Afghanistan initiated in 2003. The old city of Gholghola, on the other hand, has been the focus or archaeological research and conservation initiatives that aim at improving site security and creating appropriate conditions for visitors.

With support from the Government of Italy and the European Union, an ongoing project aims at rehabilitating part of its historical infrastructure and establishing a local museum, visitors centre and crafts display at the site, connecting the safeguarding of cultural heritage to crafts production and culture-based creative industries in an attempt to increase income generation and improve community livelihoods. In the future, the Gholghola's visitors centre and local museum will be linked to the overall Bamiyan Archaeological Park, a new project funded by the Government of Italy that UNESCO has just started implementing in close coordination with the national and local governments.

Within these two days, the Deputy SRSG to Afghanistan had the opportunity to visit some of UNESCO’s most significant projects in Bamiyan, gaining a clearer perspective on some of the organization’s activities and priorities in the region, as well as the specific role of UNESCO as the only UN agency implementing culture-related development initiatives through arts-based education, cultural industries and the safeguarding of Afghanistan rich cultural heritage.




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