Situated on the ancient Silk Route, the town was at the crossroads between the East and West when all trade between China and the Middle East passed through it.
The Hunas made it their capital in the 5th century.
The statues were represented wearing Hellenic tunics, an echo of Alexander the Great's contribution to the Central Asian mix almost a millennium earlier.
The smaller of the two statues was built in 507 The statues are believed to have been built by the Kushans and Indo-Hephthalites (both eastern Indo-European peoples) at the heyday of their empires.
Just one month after this photo was taken, Taliban officials began to destroy the mighty carvings as part of a hard-line crackdown on anything they considered anti-Islamic and idolatrous.Because of the cliff of the Buddhas, the ruins of the Monk's caves, Shar-i-Gholghola ('City of Sighs', the ruins of an ancient city destroyed by Genghis Khan during the 1221 siege of Bamiyan), and its local scenery, it is one of the most visited places in Afghanistan.The Shar-i-Zohak mound ten miles south of the valley is the site of a citadel that guarded the city, and the ruins of an acropolis could be found there as recently as the 1990s.Buddhist murals from Afghanistan's famed Bamian caves are the world's earliest known oil paintings, according to a new chemical analysis.(See photos of the paintings and the cliffs that housed them.) The finds, dated to around the 7th century A.The two most prominent statues were the giant, standing Buddhas, measuring 55 and 37 metres (180 and 121 feet) high respectively, the largest examples of standing Buddha carvings in the world.