Bamyan also spelled Bamiyan or Bamian is the capital of Bamyan Province in central Afghanistan. With an altitude of about 2,550 m and a population of about 100,000, Bamyan is the largest town in the central Afghanistan region of Hazarajat, and lies approximately 240 kilometres north-west of Kabul, the national capital. It also refers to the surrounding valley. Many statues of Buddha are carved into the sides of cliffs facing Bamyan city. In 2008, Bamyan was found to be the home of the world's oldest oil paintings. The city of Bamyan has four districts and a total land area of 3,539 hectares. The total number of dwellings in this city are 4,435.
The valley is the Center of the Hazara settlement area, now known as Hazarajat. At the end of the 10th century AD, there was a Buddhist culture in which several thousand Buddhist monks lived in caves carved into the mountain. The 53 and 35 meters high standing Buddha statues are two of the best known monuments left from the Buddhists, which were then destroyed by the Taliban in 2001. Furthermore, there are several cultural sites left from both the Buddhist and from the later Islamic era of the valley.