Bamyan Province is one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan, located in the central highlands of the country. Its terrain is mountainous or semi-mountainous, at the western end of the Hindu Kush mountains concurrent with the Himalayas. The province is divided into eight districts, with the town of Bamyan serving as its capital. The province has a population of about 495,557 and borders Samangan to the north, Baghlan, Parwan and Wardak to the east, Ghazni and Daykundi to the south, and Ghor and Sar-e Pol to the west. It is the largest province in the Hazarajat region of Afghanistan, and is the cultural capital of the Hazara ethnic group that predominates in the area.
Its name can be translated as "The Place of Shining Light". In antiquity, central Afghanistan was strategically placed to thrive from the Silk Road caravans that criss-crossed the region, trading between the Roman Empire, China, Central Asia and South Asia. Bamyan was a stopping-off point for many travellers. It was here that elements of Greek and Buddhist art were combined into a unique classical style known as Greco-Buddhist art.