In the wake of Halloween fever, we present you ghost towns – cities abandoned over the course of history. Will you dare to pay them a visit?
In 1912, four years after its foundation, the city of Kolmanskuppe, located in the southern part of the Namib Desert, provided 12% of world’s diamond production. As a matter of fact, at that time it was one of the most prosperous cities in the world. As an example, Kolmanskuppe’s hospital installed the first X-ray unit in the southern hemisphere. Nonetheless, the town’s economy depended entirely on the extraction of diamonds. When these were gone by 1930s, so were the people. The last miners abandoned Kolmanskuppe in 1956, allowing the sand to reclaim its property.
Nove Cidade de Kilamba, Angola
Technically speaking, Kilamba has never been abandoned. But it has never been habituated either. With no doubt, this $3.5bn development is one of the most ambitious projects of recent years. It is also an example of one of the most spectacular failures. Situated about 30 km outside Angola’s capital Luanda, Kilamba’s authors projected to house about 500,000 people. State-owned China International Trust and Investment Corporation, the company responsible for adding this art piece to our museum of ghost towns, offered apartments with prices starting from $120,000. The resulting lack of buyers doesn’t surprise, given the annual average income in Angola amounts to $3,440.
The eerie Soviet settlement, situated on a fjord on Norway’s Svalbard Archipelago, served both as a coal-mining station and a window on Europe. The history of the settlement goes back to 1920 when several countries signed the Svalbard Treaty. The treaty recognised Norway’s sovereignty over this arctic archipelago, previously stateless. At the same time, however, the signatory countries, the Soviet Union among them, acquired equal rights to the exploitation of the territory’s natural resources. Originally Norwegian, Pyramiden was purchased by Russians in 1927. In its heyday, it had over 1,000 inhabitants, but as it never managed to become truly profitable, the mine suddenly closed down in 1998.
Now, the site attracts occasional tourists. In 2013, the Tulip hotel reopened and offers accommodation between March and October, making it a definitive must-see for the fans of The Shining.
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