History in shambles: World Heritage sites after the Nepal earthquake

“History in shambles: World Heritage sites after the Nepal earthquake”

by Brian Ries via “Mashable

Kathmandu1

History in shambles: World Heritage sites after the Nepal earthquake

A handout photo provided by the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) on 26 April 2015 of rescue workers sifting the ruins of a building for possible survivors in Kathmandu, Nepal, 25 April 2015.

Kathmandu1

The centuries-old monuments spread throughout the Kathmandu Valley were heavily damaged in the massive earthquake that struck Nepal on Saturday, a United Nations official said on Monday. Some of the sites suffered “extensive and irreversible damage.”

Irina Bokova, director-general of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), said she was “shocked” by the earthquake’s devastating impact on Nepal’s cultural heritage in the country, in particular the “extensive and irreversible damage at the World Heritage site of Kathmandu Valley.”

UNESCO Site
A photo shows devastation at the World Heritage site in Kathmandu after a earthquake toppled monuments and temples on April 25, 2015.

The sites are made up of seven separate groups of monuments. They include the Durbar Squares of Hanuman Dhoka (Kathmandu), Patan and Bhaktapur, the Buddhist “stupas” of Swayambhu and Bauddhanath and the Hindu temples of Pashupati and Changu Narayan.

The Nepalese government describes the seven sites as “medieval royal palace complexes” or “religious temple complexes,” calling them “archaeologically, historically, culturally and religiously very important” to the Kathmandu Valley.

The Kathmandu Valley was removed from the UN’s list of World Heritage in Danger in 2007, and the government has undertaken a series of conservation efforts to protect them from encroaching development since then.

Three of the sites were “almost fully destroyed”

According to a preliminary assessment done by the organization, the Durbar Squares of Patan, Hanuman Dhoka (Kathmandu) and Bhaktapur, were “almost fully destroyed” in the earthquake.

Basantapur Durbar Square
A general view of the Basantapur Durbar Square that was damaged in Saturday’s earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal, Sunday, April 26, 2015.

Some of that destruction was captured by Kishor Rana, who flew a drone above the sites in the hours after the earthquake struck.

 “These are desperate times but we must all unite together in times like these,” said Kishor Rana on Facebook, who has pledged to shoot more of the sites. “Out of respect to the victims family, I did not take footages of live rescues taking place. We not only lost many lives and homes but we lost many pieces of our cultural heritage, our history.”

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