Amazing lost places around the world

Cornelia Kumfert

In places like these, time seems to forever stand still

Once the richest town in Africa, today Kolmanskop is sinking into the Namibian desert. The discovery of diamonds here around 100 years ago caused this remote place to undergo a boom, and in no time at all, an entire town emerged out of the sand. To visitors it must have had an almost decadent air. Not only was there a hospital, a power plant and a theatre, but also an ice factory and a swimming pool—all in the middle of the desert!

 

Built by the Japanese on a small island between Japan and Russia, the Aniva lighthouse and its island went to the Russians after the Second World War. The seven-storey building has lain abandoned for years. Where once noisy diesel generators kept the machinery running, today there’s only the sound of waves pounding the rocks.

 

Weighing in at more than 1000 tonnes, the SS Ayrfield was due to be scrapped in Homebush Bay in Sydney in 1972, but that never happened. Shortly after the ship arrived, the breakers yard in the bay closed down. The Ayrfield has lain there at anchor ever since and is gradually being reclaimed by nature. The rusty remains of the hull are now home to a small mangrove forest.

 

The futuristic Buzladzha monument is sinking into the ice and snow. Once the opulent assembly hall of the Bulgarian Communist Party, it wasn’t in use for long. Just eight years after its inauguration came the fall of the Eastern Bloc and with it the Communist regime.

 

Houtouwan on Shengshan Island was once home to around 2,000 fishermen and their families. Today most of the people you meet in this Chinese village are tourists. The majority of the inhabitants left for the mainland in the early 1990s. Reasons for the near total abandonment include problems with food delivery.

 

Cemitério das Âncoras (the Anchor Graveyard) on the beach at Barril in Portugal is a memorial to the tradition of bluefin tuna fishing off the Algarve. The anchors were used to fix giant nets down on the seabed. Nowadays the fish are very scarce and the 248 anchors are just a reminder of days gone by.

 

The world’s largest aircraft graveyard, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, can be found in the US Arizona Desert, where the low levels of rainfall and humidity help preserve the planes for scavenging parts, sale to other countries or even recommissioning in times of crisis. Not only aviation enthusiasts are able to come by for a look at the old B-52 bombers and other aircraft stored here, even the Russians are said to have the occasional look via satellite to keep count of the number of aircraft on display.

 

Lying in the centre of Berlin but virtually forgotten. Welcome to Spreepark! In the former East Germany, thousands of visitors enjoyed wandering around the fairground rides and stalls here. In those days it was known as Culture Park, and was the only amusement park in East Germany. Nearly 30 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the big wheel and carousels have long stood still.

 

This resort has never seen a paying guest! The Igloo Hotel in Alaska, US was primarily meant to attract visitors from the nearby Denali National Park. However, the builder didn’t abide by official building regulations and also chose a location that was too remote, so the hotel was never completed. The half-finished building however, continues to defy wind and weather a half a century later.