Our world is littered with abandoned “sites’, for the most part archeological treasures worthy of scientific scrutiny. Ancient riddles, often without reference points or defined origins – physical evidence void of mainstream historical pigeon holing, Stonehenge, the Great Pyramids – well known tourist meccas, not entirely understood yet duly noted on historical timelines. Puma Punku, Gobekli Tepe – never so much as whispered in classrooms, despite irrefutable scientific proof they blast historical timelines to smithereens.
Pondering “sites” led to this conclusion – we dismiss anything we haven’t been taught in school (with tendencies to peg the unfamiliar as bat shit dribble), embrace familiar lessons as definitive truth, and never bother to consider modern “sites” as something with historical value. In short – the very old and relatively new – completely overlooked in favor of predictably dusty bedtime stories.
I’ll concede – ancient, ancient history, the history responsible for my passionate enthusiasm towards civilization lost may be hard to swallow. I see the eyes roll, the blank stares as you say “how interesting”, knowing full well it means “she’s run off the rails”. I don’t hold it against you.. We live in a world where absolutes are comforting, skepticism greets new information, and mainstream (textbook history) rules supreme.
All history is relevant – if we can’t wrap our heads around the distant past, how about looking at something easier to fathom. The world is littered with surreal “sites”, created within the last 100 years – places we can explain yet choose to ignore.
Varosha, Cyprus comes to mind. Famagusta was an exotic resort destination on the island of Cyprus. The Varosha district, a playground for the rich and famous until 1974 when Turkey took exception to a Greek coup, invading and dividing the island into a Greek south and Turkish occupied north. Thousands of residents fled the city, they never had a chance to come back. Turkish army enclosed Varosha in barbed wire – 40 years later, uninhabited, utterly forsaken, beyond repair. A “petrified urban museum, enclosed, boarded up, frozen in time”.
Varosha, Cyprus is is an archeological site, a place of historic importance. Our one advantage – we know who, how and why it became a “site”. We possess absolute, irrefutable knowledge yet it languishes in the realm of inconsequential. The tough work is done – we don’t have to squabble over who built it or why it was abandoned. Places like this fit politely into historical timelines – few outside the immediate region have ever heard of it. Much like the Prora Hotel…
We should alter our thinking to include such places in historical mindsets. Nothing would make me happier than hearing an enlightened educator used them to ignite classroom discussion. Sigh.