Bamyan is a city in central Afghanistan, about 240km northwest of Kabu l. More than a millennium ago the town of Bamyan served as an important stop along the Silk route, allowing travelers and traders to refuel and rest in its high altitude green valleys before they continued across the central Afghan highlands. During this time Bamyan became a center for religion, philosophy and what became known as Greco-Buddhist art. In the 6th century buddhist monks of the region carved two enormous Buddha statues into the sandstone cliffs lining the Bamyan valley. Measuring 180 and 121 feet tall, these were the largest statues of the Buddha known to ever be made. Unfortunately, in 2001 these statues were mostly destroyed by the Taliban. The rugs of the region are some of the most desired from Afghanistan, and often are woven from a wool that has an almost silk-like sheen.