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The Borobudur sanctuary is one of the jewels of the world cultural heritage. A vast Mahayana Buddhist monument in the form of a pyramid-shaped mandala, it was built in the heart of Java around 800 AD by the Sailendra dynasty and abandoned shortly after completion. It covers an area of almost one and a half hectares, with a central dome almost 35 metres above the base. It was built in three tiers: a pyramidal base with five concentric square terraces, then three circular platforms of 72 openwork stupas and, at the top, a monumental stupa. The walls and balustrades are decorated with approximately 2,670 individual bas reliefs and 432 statues of Buddha. Rediscovered in 1814, the site was cleared of rubble and vegetation, but since then was battered by earthquakes, the elements and the encroaching jungle.
UNESCO launched an international campaign for its restoration in 1972. Completed in 1983, the project, in which 27 countries took part, was the most important of its kind since the Nubian monuments campaign. Borobudur was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1991.