Nepal reopens damaged monuments at heritage sites to kickstart tourism after quakes

Bhaktapur reopened
BHAKTAPUR, Nepal (Reuters) – Nepal reopened hundreds of earthquake-damaged monuments at heritage sites on Monday, trying to draw visitors back to the Himalayan nation less than two months after two devastating tremors killed about 8,800 people. At least 743 monuments were damaged by the quakes that struck Nepal on April 25 and May 12, including centuries-old temples, monasteries and palaces listed as world heritage sites by Unesco. After the first of the two earthquakes struck during the peak tourism season, thousands of visitors fled the country, leaving hotels empty and trekking companies without customers. The authorities quickly sealed the damaged monuments amid safety concerns and to protect thousands of intricately carved statues from being stolen from the rubble. The cash-strapped government opted to push ahead with their reopening despite cautionary statements issued by Unesco last week that visitors to the ruins should “reconsider the necessity of visiting those sites” because they were still in a “precarious” state. – See more at: