High up in the Hindu Kush is a valley formed at the conflagration of five rivers.  In the center of the valley is the modest town of Bamiyan, provincial capital of the Hazara-dominated province by the same name.  The town was mostly leveled by the Taliban during their efforts to exterminate Shi'ites from the country, and the bazaar has been rebuilt a few kilometers from its historic location.   The town sits at the base of massive limestone cliffs that are pocketed with fresco-covered caves as well as the famous Buddha niches, once harboring the largest Buddhas in the world.  Tragically, these were destroyed in 2001 by the Taliban, leaving behind the still very impressive niches and caves.  It is still possible climb a series of staircases inside the cliff wall that lead from cave to cave until reaching the very top of the 180 meter high niche from which there are beautiful views of the Bamiyan valley.