Stone carvers defy Taliban to return to the Bamiyan valley

Archeologia - 16/05/2012

Afghan students learn the centuries-old skills that carved out the giant buddhas blown up by extremistsUnder perfectly carved niches that once held dozens of small buddha statues, the purposeful tap of chisel on stone echoed over the Bamiyan valley for the first time in centuries.Twelve young Afghans had gathered to take the first tentative steps back towards a stone-working tradition that once made their home famous, at a workshop in a cave gouged out as a monastery assembly hall more than 1,000 years ago.The cave-hall was part of a complex built around two giant buddhas that loomed serenely over Bamiyan for about 15 centuries ? until the Taliban government condemned them as un-Islamic in early 2001 and blew them up."I was interested in this course because I want to restore our culture," said Ismael Wahidi, a 22-year-old student of archeology at Bamiyan University, who set aside more conventional studies for a week to learn how to turn a lump of stone into a sculpture. "If you want...