The Italian Almanac

Afghan Buddha destroyed by talibans

Italian News - October 2

Afghan art restorers are being trained in Italy to repair some of the country's cultural heritage damaged by years of civil war and Taliban rule. "The aspiring restorers will be mainly taught how to clean and re-attach fragments of wall paintings and frescos, as well as how to consolidate the backing for mural works," the Italian Cultural Heritage Ministry said.

The young men and women will work at Rome's famed Art Restoration Institute, which has produced some of the most skilled restorers in the world. "Some of their work will be on stuccos provided by the Afghan collections in Rome's National Museum of Oriental Art," the ministry added.

The Taliban devastated Afghanistan's heritage of ancient art - most famously, by demolishing colossal, 2,000-year-old Buddha statues at the town of Bamiyan - but inflicted lesser damage on more recent Islamic works. Other works were badly damaged in the civil wars that raged through the country in the 80s and 90s.

The Italian-trained restorers will get down to work as soon as they complete their course in November, organisers said. The course is the final part of a programme that first kicked into gear in 2004.