Nepal heritage sites in ruins after earthquake

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More than 400,000 buildings collapsed in the magnitude-8.1 earthquake that struck central Nepal on April 25, and at least 14 historic buildings have been destroyed or severely damaged, the Nepal government said.

CCTV’s Shweta Bajaj reported from Kathmandu on the country’s plans to repair its heritage.

Nepal fights to revive quake-damaged heritage sites

Nepal fights to revive quake-damaged heritage sites

Centuries of history -- gone in seconds. Cultural sites -- badly damaged. The South Asia earthquake took much from Nepal. CCTV's Shweta Bajaj filed this report from Kathmandu Nepal.

The valuable ancient buildings in Nepal must be rebuilt and made quake-resistant to withstand seismic waves after hundreds of years of culture and history were shattered into pieces by a massive earthquake, a Nepalese archaeologist said on Sunday.

“We have to be very careful and we have to rebuild it, reconstruct it with some new technology… New technology means concrete, cement and iron beams. And these new materials will make our monuments stronger. It will certainly make them earthquake proof also,” said Dr. Shaphalya Amatya, executive director of Heritage Nepal when referring to the damaged Durbar Square — the city’s ancient heart.

UNESCO has been asked by the Nepalese government to assess the loss in cultural heritage throughout the country. Ten percent of Nepal’s GDP comes from tourism – and a large part of it through monuments.

Historic sites in Nepal before and after

Bhimsen Tower/Dharahara Tower

The nine-story Bhimsen tower, also known as the Dharahara tower, was built in 1832. The tower was where a lot of Nepalese spent Saturday afternoons and at least 60 people lost their lives under it.

The first Dharahara before the 1934 earthquake.

The first Dharahara before the 1934 earthquake.


Photo by Geoff Stearns

Before the earthquake photo by Geoff Stearns


Top: AP Photo/ Niranjan Shrestha. Bottom: Shreejan Bhandari via AP.

After the earthquake. Top: AP Photo/ Niranjan Shrestha. Bottom: Shreejan Bhandari via AP.

Durbar Square, Kathmandu

Durbar Square in Kathmandu was once a massive complex home to palaces, temples and courtyards as a world-renowned sightseeing attraction built between the12th and 18th centuries, but has been reduced to piles of rubble as search and rescue teams continue to comb through the debris to find more bodies.

The square has suffered before from earthquakes and has been rebuilt, but not necessarily by what engineers would consider modern standards, the head of the Old Royal Palace Museum of Kathmandu Durbar Square said.

The director of the City Museum in Nepal Kashish Das Shrestha said that rebuilding the country’s sites is nothing new.

“These earthquakes have always been part of Kathmandu valley or Nepal because of the seismological zone we live in and we have this culture of the living heritage where these families that have built these monuments,” he said. “…Generations have been rebuilding it. So, the hope now is despite the dramatic damage that we have seen won’t be as challenging over time.”

Photo by Pietro Columba.

Before the earthquake photo by Pietro Columba.


Top photo: AP/Manish Swarup. Bottom: AP Photo/ Niranjan Shrestha.

After the earthquake. Top photo: AP/Manish Swarup. Bottom: AP Photo/ Niranjan Shrestha.

Ruin of Shiva Temple

The Shiva Temple in Durbar Square in the ancient city of Bhaktapur, a former capital of Nepal, was also severely damaged.
Slide right for before, slide left for after.
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Vatsala Durga

The stone temple of Vatsala Durga, also in Bhaktapur was also damaged. The temple was built by King Jagat Prakash Malla in either 1672 or 1727, according to the Lonely Planet travel guide.

Before photo by Jean-François Gornet. After by AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha.

Before photo by Jean-François Gornet. After by AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha.

Swayambhunath Stupa

Perched on a hilltop, the blue-rimmed eyes of Kathmandu’s gold-spired Swayambhunath Stupa have long stared silently across this sprawling city nestled in the Himalayan foothills. But the earthquake, those eyes have gazed upon a nation in mourning – and on a microcosm of its despair inside the ancient temple itself.

Swayambhunath, which dates back to the 5th century, is one of at least 68 cultural heritage sites in Nepal that were damaged by the tremor, according to UNESCO.

Before photo by: eatswords. After: AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha

Before photo by: eatswords. After: AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha


Story by CCTV America and the Associated Press.