We tend to think of cities as places bustling with life and activity, and the vast majority of cities in the world are just that, with old dwellings and businesses being replaced by new ones just as fast as they can be built. Sometimes though, entire parts of the world are simply abandoned, forgotten by the passage of time that effects the rest of the world. These places tend to capture our imaginations leading to portrayals as everything from locals of horror, to tragically lost lands in our popular media, and it’s easy to see why. They remain as snapshots of the lives that once lived there, never again to live, change, and renew. These places represent a unique opportunity to learn about our past and the way we one were. Let’s learn something new, Deco & Bloom style, with Places in the World That Time Forgot.
Pripyat – While this city’s name may not be well known here in the US, most everyone will be familiar with the reason why it is abandoned. Prypiat is the massive city once built by the USSR to house the workers and support staff for the Chernobyl nuclear power station, site of one of the most infamous nuclear disasters in history. When reactor 4 at the heart of the facility was breached the whole surrounding area was heavily irradiated, leading to the evacuation of the city over the course of just two days. Due to the swiftness of the evacuation, and the nature of the disaster leading up to it, the city of Pripyat has remained largely intact, facing only natural decay in the decades that followed it’s abandonment, leaving an entire city, complete with schools, hospitals, shopping, and even an amusement park still more or less in tact. Documents, books, and belongings lay here, left when their owners fled, leaving the city frozen in time as though in a block of amber.
Kolmanskop – At the height of the Namibian diamond trade the city of Kolmanskop housed the workers of the nearby diamond fields. Driven by the enormous demand for the high quality diamonds the surrounding desert yielded the town grew with incredible speed, quickly rising from a small railroad settlement to a prosperous mining town. New housing, a theater, a casino, and the first x-ray station in the southern hemisphere soon adorned the town, and a tram connection to nearby ports brought in a wealth of workers. The town was under German rule at the time, leading the town have seemingly out of place German architecture and infrastructure. As World War I followed by the great depression caused a decrease in the demand for diamonds, and more easily accessible sources of the gems were located elsewhere the need for the city faded, and in rapid succession the city was simply abandoned, leaving it completely abandoned to the element. As time went on, the cities last populace left, and sand and animals moved back into the space once occupied by man. Today the city still stands, slowly being reclaimed by the desert air and sand, though much interest has been revived in the area through guided tours in recent years.
Kowloon Walled City – While this city has since been torn down, the history of this location is quite unique, and very few cities have ever existed quite like it. The city was originally built as a military garrison just outside the Chinese city of Hong Kong, used to check British influence in the region during Great Britain’s years of colonial expansionism. Later, the territory including the expanded fortress were provisionally lent to the British empire, and remained in their hands until claimed by the Japanese during World War II. After the war, the area became a haven of sorts for those displaced by the war, and both the British and Chinese governments took a hands off approach to the walled city. Allowed to govern itself, the city fell to the control of gangs, growing taller as it’s population boomed. A lawless city so tall that the street level seldom saw sunlight, the city was eventually purged of it’s populace in the late 80’s and early 90’s, leaving a massive city completely empty, a monument only to the people who once lived there. The city has since been demolished and replaced with a large park, but many of the historical features of the city survived to be built into the park. Where is your favorite forgotten place? Let us know in the comments below for a chance to win our monthly drawing.