Thursday, October 29, 2009

World 'Ghost Towns' (Part 1)

Kolmanskop (Namibia) : Buried in sand


Kolmanskop is a ghost town in southern Namibia, a few kilometres inland from the port of Luederitz. In 1908, Luederitz was plunged into diamond fever and people rushed into the Namib desert hoping to make an easy fortune. Within two years, a town, complete with a casino, school, hospital and exclusive residential buildings, was established in the barren sandy desert. But shortly after the drop in diamond sales after the First World War, the beginning of the end started. During the 1950's the town was deserted and the dunes began to reclaim what was always theirs.



Soon the metal screens collapsed and the pretty gardens and tidy streets were buried under the sand. Doors and windows creaked on their hinges, cracked window panes stared sightlessly across the desert. A new ghost town had been born.



A couple of old buildings are still standing and some interiors like the theatre is still in very good condition, but the rest are crumbling ruins demolished from grandeur to ghost houses.



Prypiat (Ukraine) : Chernobyl workers' home


Prypiat is an abandoned city in the Zone of alienation in northern Ukraine. It was home to the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant workers, abandoned in 1986 following the Chernobyl disaster. Its population had been around 50,000 prior to the accident.



Until recently, the site was practically a museum, documenting the late Soviet era. Apartment buildings (four of which were recent constructions not yet occupied), swimming pools, hospitals and other buildings were all abandoned, and everything inside the buildings was left behind, including records, papers, TVs, children's toys, furniture, valuables, and clothing, etc, that any normal family would have with them.



Residents were only allowed to take away a suitcase full of documents, books and clothes that were not contaminated. However, many of the apartment buildings were almost completely looted some time around the beginning of the 21st century (citation needed). Nothing of value was left behind; even toilet seats were taken away.




Some buildings have remained untouched. Many of the building interiors have been vandalized and ransacked over the years. Because the buildings are not maintained, the roofs leak, and in the spring the rooms are flooded with water. It is not unusual to find trees growing on roofs and even inside buildings. This hastens deterioration, and due to this, a 4-story school partially collapsed in July of 2005.



San Zhi (Taiwan) : a futuristic resort


In the North of Taiwan, this futuristic pod village was initially built as a luxury vacation retreat for the rich. However, after numerous fatal accidents during construction, production was halted.



A combination of lack of money and lack of willingness meant that work was stopped permanently, and the alien like structures remain as if in remembrance of those lost. Indeed, rumors in the surrounding area suggest that the City is now haunted by the ghosts of those who died.



After this the whole thing received the cover-up treatment. And the Government, who commissioned the site in the first place was keen to distance itself from the bizarre happenings. Thanks to this, there are no named architects.



The project may never be restarted thanks to the growing legend, and there would be no value in re-developing the area for other purpose. Maybe simply because destroying homes of lonely spirits is a bad thing to do. San Zhi can also be seen from an aeriel view here.



Craco (Italy) : a fascinating medieval town


Craco is located in the Region of Basilicata and the Province of Matera. About 25 miles inland from the Gulf of Taranto at the instep of the “boot” of Italy.



This medieval town is typical of those in the area, built up with long undulating hills all around that allow for the farming of wheat and other crops. Craco can be dated back to 1060 when the land was in the ownership of Archbishop Arnaldo, Bishop of Tricarico. This long-standing relationshop with the Church had much influence over the inhabitants throughout the ages.



In 1891, the population of Craco stood at well over 2,000 people. Though there had been many problems, with poor agricultural conditions creating desperate times.



Between 1892 and 1922 over 1,300 people moved from the town to North America. Poor farming was added to by earthquakes, landslides, and War - all of which contributed to this mass migration. Between 1959 and 1972 Craco was plagued by these landslides and quakes. In 1963 the remaining 1,800 inhabitants were transferred to a nearby valley called Craco Peschiera, and the original Craco remains in a state of crumbling decay to this day.

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