Professor Zemaryali Tarzi believes that hidden in Bamiyan is a
reclining Buddha and for the past six years he has been
searching for it. This Buddha has not been seen by many and was mentioned once
by Huen Tsang and no one else. So far there has been no evidence of the Buddha,
but archaeology in that area has revealed some information about the people who
built the statues.
What he has found are the remnants of the culture that built the Buddhas – one
of the most lavish and powerful kingdoms of ancient Central Asia.
Recently Tarzi’s colleague, archaeologist Mickaël Rakotozonia, stood in a
steady drizzle, surrounded by mud-brick houses, and gestured to two ancient
towers almost lost amid the jigsaw of earthen walls here.
Between these two towers, he speculated, might have been a gate into the
Kingdom City of Bamiyan, home to the creators of the two stone Buddhas carved
from a nearby cliff some 1,500 years ago and destroyed by the Taliban.
But the Buddhas are only the most obvious example of this country’s ancient
“My new discoveries have put old discoveries in the background,” says Tarzi.
He and Mr. Rakotozonia will continue searching for the Buddhist’s Kingdom City
this summer and autumn and the team will perhaps also begin excavating test
pits near Shar-e Gholghola, the citadel capital of the Ghorid Empire, which
followed the Buddhists.
The white hill city, encrusted with the ruins of centuries past, was destroyed
in the 13th century when Genghis Khan conquered Bamiyan. According to legend,
he was so furious that his son was killed in the siege that he killed even the
mice of the city, leading to the name Shar-e Gholghola, which means the City
To the north, archaeologists are excavating the city of Balkh, supposed
birthplace of the prophet Zoroaster and location of Alexander’s marriage to
Roxana in 327
Afghanistan, 900-foot Sleeping Buddha eludes archaeologists]