Some 8 miles east of Kathmandu, it is worth making the trek to explore capital city's smaller, quieter little sister, expecially since minibuses run between the two centers on a regular basis. Founded in the 12th century, Bhaktapur was the capital of an independent kingdom until the 18th century. Most of the buildings on its Durbar Square date from the latter part of that history, but were badly damaged by a major earthquake in 1934. The area now enjoys UNESCO World Heritage protection, and the steep entry fee you pay (unless you turn up in the middle of the night), goes towards ongoing renovations. The fee covers the whole of the historic center, including four squares of which Durbar Square is the most impressive. Similar in scope to its namesake in Kathmandu, it is traffic-free and less overrun with touts trying to become your trekking guide, making it a lovely place to hang out, people watch, and gaze at the magnificent architecture. Pride of place goes to the 55-Window Palace, with its many elaborately carved windows and doors; it now houses the National Art Gallery.