Before-and-after photos show how the earthquake demolished Nepal's sacred sites


The magnitude 7.8 earthquake that hit Nepal over the weekend claimed thousands of lives and left hundreds of thousands of people stranded in tent cities. The displaced people of Nepal are not only mourning the loss of their homes but also grieving for their country's shattered architectural gems.


The Kathmandu Valley World Heritage property, designated by UNESCO, took the brunt of the damage on Saturday. The site is made up of seven zones of historic monuments and buildings; see how they fared below.

Dharahara Tower was erected in 1832 as a watchtower for the queen. The lighthouse-looking watchtower once offered panoramic views of Kathmandu Valley.

Nepal earthquake

AP Photo/ Niranjan Shrestha

Kathmandu Durbar Square, one of Kathmandu's most historic locations, is home to palaces, temples, courtyards, and government institutions. The square once served as the social, religious, and urban hub of the capital city.


Nepal earthquake

REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

Patan Durbar Square's cluster of spectacular temples was considered one of Patan's greatest architectural treasures. The complex once housed the city's royal family.

Bhaktapur Durbar Square, 15 kilometers from Kathmandu, contains sculptures, woodcarvings, and colossal pagoda temples exemplary of Nepal's art history.

The iconic Swayambhunath stupa perches on top of a hill, and its glittering golden spire can be seen from miles. Shops and smaller temples nearby fell to rubble within 15 seconds.

Swayambhunath Stupa


The largest stupa in Nepal, Boudhanath Stupa is revered as the holiest Tibetan Buddhist temple outside Tibet. Thousands gather daily to make a kora, or ritual walk around the perimeter, of the dome.

stupa bodnath

R.M. Nunes/Shutterstock

The final monument groupings in the Kathmanu Valley World Heritage property are the famous Pashupatinath Temple, built in the fifth century, and the Changu Narayan, a double-roofed temple to Vishnu. The Pashupatinath Temple survived the earthquake unscathed; the Changu Narayan is reportedly damaged, although pictures have yet to surface.

NOW WATCH: Stunning video shows the earthquake damage across Nepal