Nepal reopened its temple-filled Durbar Squares to the public on Monday despite warnings over safety, trying to woo back tourists after a deadly earthquake that left much of the country’s cultural heritage in ruins. Traditional dancers and musicians performed at a ceremony in the historic town of Bhaktapur, home to one of three former royal squares in the Kathmandu Valley that date back as far as the 12th century. Hundreds of people gathered in Bhaktapur Durbar Square, whose historic Hindu temples, statues and opulent royal palaces drew tourists from around the world before the quake. The 7.8-magnitude earthquake that hit Nepal on April 25 killed more than 8,700 people and levelled homes and monuments in the valley, home to the three former kingdoms of Patan, Kathmandu and Bhaktapur. All three former royal squares reopened on Monday but the main ceremony was held in Bhaktapur, where Tourism Minister Kripasur Sherpa declared the Kathmandu Valley ‘open for tourism’.

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