As images of flattened buildings bounce across the Internet, the scale of the humanitarian tragedy left in the wake of the recent Nepal earthquake has begun to take hold. And while the loss of life, and efforts to aid survivors, are paramount, another loss has also begun to reverberate. Nepal's unique position, perched on the roof of the world and at the crossroads of great civilizations, has left the country with an unrivaled and singular architectural heritage with seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites spread out across the Kathmandu Valley, many of which were severely damaged in the quake. "It's just aesthetically stunning," says David Gellner, professor of social anthropology at the University of Oxford. "It's like going to Rome; history is built into every street corner. This kind of Hindu-Buddhist urban landscape was once much more pervasive. It stretched from Afghanistan to Bali, and now the Kathmandu Valley is where it is. It's like going back in a time machine to see what northern India was like in the first century AD."
The impact on Nepalese architecture, and restoration efforts >>