Construction workers building the Bamiyan Cultural Center in Bamiyan, Afghanistan. Photo: Ghulam Reza

Bamiyan Cultural Center in Afghanistan to Open in 2018

Bamiyan Cultural Center in Bamiyan, Afghanistan, is scheduled to open in the summer of 2018, Hannah McGivern of the Art Newspaper reports. The state-of-the-art complex and research facility is dedicated to preserving culture, raising awareness about heritage, and enriching community life by organizing a series of cultural events including festivals, films, music, and dance.

Located at the UNESCO World Heritage Site where the Taliban razed the sixth-century monumental rock-cut Buddha statues, known as the Bamiyan Buddhas, in 2001, the 26,372-square-foot facility designed by the Argentinian firm M2R Arquitectos will include two galleries, a performance hall, and a tea house. The $2.5 million project is being funded by the South Korean government. The Afghan ministry of urban development has approved $1.5 million to build a garden at the site.

Despite UNESCO’s decision not to rebuild the statues, German archaeologists have partially reconstructed one of the Buddha’s feet. While the Afghan government supports the conservation project, UNESCO continues to dismiss it. “We think any reconstruction will essentially be a fake because of lack of original material,” UNESCO’s Francesco Bandarin, assistant director general for culture, said. UNESCO will release further recommendations on the estimated $12 million project in October.