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I Photographed An Abandoned Mining Village Sunken In Sand And Lost In The Namibian Desert
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Photography4 years ago

I Photographed An Abandoned Mining Village Sunken In Sand And Lost In The Namibian Desert

A few years ago, I had the chance to explore and photograph Kolmanskop, a ghost town invaded by sand and lost in the middle of the Namibian desert. But its history stays as short as surprising: Founded after the discovery of diamonds by German settlers in 1908, Kolmanskop went through a real diamond rush and became very fast the nerve center of the area due to its rich deposit of diamond. The legend says that even by night, you only had to go down to find diamonds in the sand thanks to the moonlight. Kolmanskop faced a striking prosperity that attracts many adventurers or other prospectors through all Africa; prosperity symbolized by the fact that the inhabitants of Kolmanskop used to get their clean water from Cape Town in South Africa far from 1 000 kilometers from there or that they imported their Champaign from Reims! Kolmanskop emerges from the soil very quickly, as the new immigrants settled in the city. From a German inspiration, we can soon find there a hospital, a butcher shop, a bakery, an ice fabric, a bowling, a casino, a school, a power plant and even a swimming pool! By the way, the hospital received the first x-ray machine of the entire African continent; but this machine was mostly used to verify if the miners hadn’t swallowed a diamond. At its zenith, Kolmanskop welcomed more than 1 200 people and 700 families.

But the drop in the diamond price after the first world war and the discovery of a bigger deposit south buried the last hope of Kolmanskop. Little by little, the inhabitants quit the town leaving behind them their houses and their belongings. In 1954, the city is definitely abandoned. Since then, it is slowly but slowly covered by sand. Nowadays, Kolmanskop is only visited by the few tourists that venture in this isolated area.

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