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Perched on a hilltop, the blue-rimmed eyes of Kathmandu's gold-spired Swayambhunath stupa have long stared silently across this sprawling city nestled in the Himalayan foothills.Since Nepal was shattered by a mammoth earthquake a week ago, those eyes have gazed upon a nation in mourning – and on a microcosm of its despair inside the ancient temple itself.That's nearly 80 percent of historic landmarks in seven monument zones that have been declared World Heritage Sites in the Kathmandu Valley alone.quake, which claimed more than 7,000 lives, damaged more than a million homes and displaced nearly 3 million people.The sites most heavily affected were made of brick and wood.Terrifying YouTube footage of the moment the quake hit one temple complex in Bhaktapur, just east of the capital, shows chunks falling from the top of a crumbling temple as it is enshrouded in a cloud of brown dust. Among the capital's destroyed landmarks is the iconic, nine-story Dharahara Tower. It was topped by a statue of Shiva – the god of destruction in Hinduism – the predominant religion among Nepal's 28 million people. Built in 1832, Dharahara was partially destroyed during a 1934 quake and, like many sites that were toppled across the country, eventually rebuilt.Among the worst hit sites was Kathmandu's historic center, Basantapur Durbar Square.
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