Oradour-sur-Glan is a town in west-central France. The original village was destroyed on June 10, 1944, when 642 of its inhabitants were murdered by a German Waffen-SS company. A new village was built post-war on a nearby site and the original has been maintained as a memorial.
Credits: Photo by Curreyuk on Flickr
Kolmannskuppe is a ghost town in southern Namibia. It was a small mining village and is now a popular tourist destination run by the joint firm NAMDEB (Namibia-De Beers).
It developed after the discovery of diamonds in the area in 1908, to provide shelter for workers from the harsh environment of the Namib Desert. The village was built like a German town, with facilities like a hospital, ballroom, power station, school, skittle-alley, theater and sport-hall, casino, ice factory and the first x-ray-station in the southern hemisphere.
The town declined after World War I as diamond prices crashed, and operations moved to Oranjemund. It was abandoned in 1956 but has since been partly restored. The geological forces of the desert mean that tourists can now walk through houses knee-deep in sand.
Credits: Photo by Geoftheref on Flickr
In 1872, the Guillermo Wendell Nitrate Extraction Company founded the saltpeter works of Santa Laura in the same year the “Peru Nitrate Company” was founded. Both works grew quickly, becoming busy towns characterized by lovely buildings in the English style.
The economic model collapsed during the Great Depression of 1929 because of the development of the synthesis of ammonia, which led to the industrial production of fertilizers. Both works were abandoned in 1960 and in 1970, after becoming ghost towns, they were declared national monuments and opened to tourism. In 2005 they were declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Credits: Photo by Aotarola on Flickr
Wittenoom is a locality in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. During the 1950s, Wittenoom was the Pilbara’s biggest town, but was shut down in 1966 due to health concerns from asbestos mining at the nearby Wittenoom Gorge.
Today it is a ghost town with approximately eight residents who receive no government services. The town’s name was removed from official maps and the roads leading to contaminated areas are likely to be closed.
Credits: Photo by Velden on Flickr