Quake-damaged sites reopen in Kathmandu

Nepal reopens damaged historical sites despite concern from UNESCO over safety of visitors

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Nepal reopens several historical sites and temples which were closed after major earthquakes hit the country on April 25 and May 12.

Tourism Minister Kripasur Sherpa said that six of the seven UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the historic Durbar squares or "noble courts" which were badly damaged in the quakes, were opened for visitors on Monday.

UNESCO does not agree with the reopening of the sites but Nepalese authorities claim all necessary measures were taken for the safety of visitors, according to local media.

Nepalese officials also plan to distribute helmets to tourists as they visit the historical sites, chief of Nepal's Department of Archaeology Bhesh Narayan said.

UNESCO previously requested extra precautions for the sites, and added that officials should think twice about reopening the sites.

8,700 people were killed in the quakes and more than 741 historical structures were damaged. Nepal needs at least $18 million to rebuild them, according to Dahal.

Nepal’s economy was also badly affected due to discouraging the hundreds of thousands foreign tourists who visit the country every year.  

"We are urging people to come to Nepal for holiday to help Nepal rebuild," Sherpa said in Bhaktapur, one of the reopened historical sites.

UNESCO's director-general Irina Bokova described the damage in the Kathmandu valley as "extensive and irreversible." Following her visit, she assigned a team to calculate the damage. The team has been continuing its mission in Kathmandu to monitor the situation.

Tourists will visit the damaged historical sites in guided tours and with signboards present showing visitors specified routes to protect them from accidents.

TRTWorld and agencies