This film brings together different stories of heroism and bravery in war-torn Afghanistan.
Explore the Bamiyan Valley with archaeologist Dr. Tarzi as he digs for a long-forgotten monastery that houses the 1,000 foo...展开t Buddha in his ultimate quest to honor the Bamiyan people and their history. Also join Russian archaeologist Victor Sarianidi as he unveils and confirms whether gold treasures found underneath the Presidential palace were indeed the Bactrian Hoard treasure he helped discover and catalog two decades ago. And finally, listen to the different stories of brave Afghani artists and archivists as they recount how they went about protecting and preserving works of art and film archives from certain destruction by the Taliban.
During Afghanistan's civil war in the 1990s, the National Museum outside Kabul was literally on the front line, repeatedly attacked by rocket fire and looted by warlords.
Then, during the reign of the fundamentalist Taliban regime, all non-Islamic statues and tombs were ordered destroyed. This led to the loss of two-thirds of the hundred thousand items in the Kabul museum.
The Taliban was forced from Kabul after the U.S. military intervention in Afghanistan in late 2001. Before then, the Taliban's culture minister supervised the destruction of many of the remaining exhibits at the museum.
What the Taliban didn't know was that many of the most magnificent objects had already been spirited away. More than 25 years ago museum staff had hidden the treasures as the bombs started to fall. (The Afghanistan government found the hidden treasure boxes in 2003 and made the announcement on August 25, 2003. It quickly asked for international assistance in conducting an inventory of the artifacts. The work was done in April, May, and June of that year.
Earlier this year a safecracking at a presidential palace vault in downtown Kabul revealed that the entire trove was intact. Now an inventory project funded by the National Geographic Society has catalogued the more than 22,000 objects. The collection includes exquisite ivory statues and 2,500 years' worth of gold and silver coins.
The discovery is a ray of hope in the quest to restore Afghanistan's cultural heritage, most of which has been destroyed forever by decades of war and looting.
"By the end of the Taliban's reign, most of us thought there was nothing left—just destruction and despair," National Geographic Fellow Fredrik Hiebert said. Hiebert led the inventory project with support from National Geographic and the U.S. National Endowment for the Humanities.