Following the 7.9 magnitude earthquake which hit Nepal Saturday, several of Kathmandu’s iconic landmarks have been destroyed - including towers, temples and squares.
The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, said “I am deeply aggrieved by the magnitude of human loss caused by the earthquake in Nepal.”
She also added “I am also shocked by its devastating impact on the unique cultural heritage in the country, in particular extensive and irreversible damage at the World Heritage site of Kathmandu Valley”
The extent of the damage is still not known to experts, however it seems as though four of the seven UNESCO world heritage sites in Kathmandu valley have been severely damaged.
One of the most important landmarks destroyed by the earthquake was the Dharahara Tower, also known as Bhimsen Tower. The 60 meter high tower was built in 1832 by prime minister Bhimsen Thapa as a gift to the queen. The tower has now collapsed more than 180 years after it was built in Kathmandu.
The Dharahara tower was destroyed before by previous earthquakes in 1833 and in 1934.
Some experts are hopeful the tower can be rebuilt considering it was restored twice before.
One of the holiest sites in Buddhism was also hit by the disaster. The Swayambhunath Stupa, known as the “monkey temple,” also suffered severe damage.The Buddhist site dates back 1,500 years and is considered one of the holiest places in the world by the residents of neighbouring Tibet.
Kathmandu's three “Durbar Squares,” the courtyards outside the city's old royal palaces, were also heavily hit by the disaster.
It is not known yet if all of these ancient monuments can be restored.
Cremations of those who lost their lives to the earthquake are still being held at religious sites in Nepal.