Situated at an altitude of 2,500 meters, Bamiyan, also called the “Land of Shining Light”, is the largest city of the central region of Afghanistan. Declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003, the cultural landscapes and archaeological remains of the city – especially the carved monumental Buddha statues – continue to testify to Bamiyan’s rich history. Known for its location on the ancient Silk Road, Bamiyan’s cultural assets have benefited from a diversity of cross-cultural influences and features that are particularly reflected in the field of crafts and folk art.
Bamiyan nurtures creativity and culture as key levers for urban renewal and for the improvement of social conditions, with special attention given to the involvement of women. Envisioned as a trailblazer in developing crafts and folk art, the Department of Rural Rehabilitation and Development has conducted a project through the AREZO NGO and the Afghanistan Rural Enterprise Development Programme (AREDP) on carpet weaving which largely employs women and people from vulnerable communities.
Recognized as the 2015 capital of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), Bamiyan asserts its commitment to collaborating on an international level, to promoting collective self-reliance and to fostering socio-cultural development. At the local level, the municipality has adopted the Bamiyan Cultural Master Plan as a central policy whose main purpose is to enhance inclusive and sustainable urban development through cultural and creative industries.
- establishing the Bamiyan Cultural Centre, which aims to build the capacities of the local youth through training programmes and to foster the dissemination of cultural activities and expressions;
- mapping the creative industries in Bamiyan as a first step in the process of identifying the best ways of offering opportunities and facilities to the local creators;
- positioning the city as a creative hub in the field of Crafts and Folk Art, at the national and international levels; and
- enhancing cooperation and exchange with other Creative Cities of Crafts and Folk Art.