I have a thing for abandoned places – sprinkled in unfathomable corners of the world, tattered testaments to hope and tenacity. Exquisite reminders of the human condition, posters for what defines mankind. Places cementing the essence of optimism, enterprise and good old fashioned delusion.

Places like Fordlandia (Henry Ford purchasing 25,000 acres of the Amazon jungle in Brazil, 1929. Attempting to create a model American town, populated with a workforce Ford imagined could fulfill his ambition to corner the rubber market – see link below)


Kolmanskop in southern Namibia, another decaying remnant of abandoned dreams. In 1908, a German railway worker found a diamond a few kilometers from the port of Luderitz in Namibia. He showed his supervisor – a decision leading to the German government declaring the area “sperrgebiet” or “prohibited area”. (At the time Namibia was part of the German colony of south west Africa). Miners moved in, building Kolmanskop in the image of German towns. Hospitals, theaters, bowling alleys, power station, ice factory, the first tram in Africa, and a rail link to Luderitz. The first world war wreaked havoc on German interests in Africa. Ultimately the diamonds ran out – the town was abandoned in 1954.


Kolmanskop, abandoned for over 50 years, waits to be reclaimed by the desert. Pondering abandoned places – history’s way of telling us what it is to be human.

11 thoughts on “Kolmanskop

  1. I’ve visited a few abandoned towns in Australia where people just seemed to have left from one day to the next. Very spooky but also full of humanity. Abandoned dreams but also new hope, hopefully.

    The alternative is even sadder. Towns that once existed but were bulldozered tio make place for the future. Stuff worth pondering. Thanks!

  2. Good stuff here Notes, there are some abandoned ore mines in the upper peninsula of Michigan and they create deep thinking in my mind also. What were the people like? how did they spend an average day and so on.

  3. Wow, there is something about the history of such ghost towns that is so exciting to see & hear about. I think because I like to imagine how it was during its peak…

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