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'Before' & 'After' images of Nepal's key landmarks show scale of devastation (PHOTOS)

'Before' & 'After' images of Nepal's key landmarks show scale of devastation (PHOTOS)
A number of Nepal's iconic UNESCO World Heritage sites and landmarks, including the Dharahara Tower built for a queen, have been destroyed following the earthquake that hit the country Saturday morning, killing over 3,300 people.

The 60-meter-high tower, built in 1832 with a viewing balcony that had been open to visitors for a decade, was destroyed by the magnitude 7.9 earthquake. A jagged stump 10 meters high is all that’s left of the lighthouse-like structure, according to Reuters. As bodies were pulled from the ruins, a policeman reportedly said that up to 200 people had been trapped inside.

Nepal's Kathmandu Valley, in the foothills of the Himalayas at the crossroads of ancient civilizations, includes seven groups of monuments featuring a range of religious and artistic achievements that have made it revered, according to UNESCO. Age-old temples are among them.

"The unique tiered temples are mostly made of fired brick with mud mortar and timber structures. The roofs are covered with small overlapping terracotta tiles, with gilded brass ornamentation. The windows, doorways and roof struts have rich decorative carvings. The stupas have simple but powerful forms with massive, whitewashed hemispheres supporting gilded cubes with the all-seeing eternal Buddha eyes," a UNESCO description informs.

After the earthquake, rescuers scrabbled through destroyed buildings, among them ancient wooden Hindu temples.

"I can see three bodies of monks trapped in the debris of a collapsed building near a monastery," Indian tourist Devyani Pant told Reuters. "We are trying to pull the bodies out and look for anyone who is trapped."

Kathmandu’s Durbar Square, one of three Durbar royal palace squares in the valley, all of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, has also been leveled.

Patan Durbar Square, its floor tiled with red bricks, was a UNESCO World Heritage Site too. The landmark at the center of the city of Lalitpur has been severely damaged.

A gilded statue of King Bhupatindra Malla, his hands folded in prayer, was turned into rubble as well in Patan Durbar Square.