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Inside the abandoned desert ghost town full of diamonds where sun-scorched homes are buried knee-deep in sand


A DITCHED ghost town in the middle of the Namibian desert was once full of diamonds but is now full of run down homes, buried knee-deep in the sand.

A barren Kolmanskop once had hundreds of German miners searching for precious stones that would make them rich.

Kolmanskop was known for being one of the largest diamond mining sites globally where diamonds were seen just sitting in the sand

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Kolmanskop was known for being one of the largest diamond mining sites globally where diamonds were seen just sitting in the sandCredit: Alamy
The first diamond was found when a worker was cleaning the train tracks in the Namibian desert

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The first diamond was found when a worker was cleaning the train tracks in the Namibian desertCredit: Getty
Sand dunes broke through the doors, damaging them and piling up inside the houses

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Sand dunes broke through the doors, damaging them and piling up inside the housesCredit: Getty

The bustling village was producing a million carats of diamonds a year- totalling 11.7 per cent of the world’s total diamond production.

But when they ran out in 1956, the village was completely abandoned and in the coming years sand dunes had smashed through the houses, flinging open doors and filling up the empty buildings with heaps of smooth sand.

Kolmanskop was founded in the early 1900s when diamonds were discovered just sitting on the sand.

Railway worker Zacharias Lewala found one of the shiny gems in 1908 as he shovelled sand from the tracks.

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He showed it to his German boss August Stauch, who got the stone tested and had it confirmed as an expensive diamond.

The news sparked a rush of prospectors into Namibia and within a few years the Germans had made themselves at home.

Kolmanskop grew and soon looked like a German town stuck in the desert.

A hospital, ballroom, power station, school, bowling alley, theatre and town hall all were built along with an ice factory to deal with the scorching heat.

The town boasted the first X-ray station in the southern hemisphere and Africa’s first ever tram.

By the 1920s, 300 German adults, 40 children and 800 native Owambo workers lived in Kolmanskop.

The Namibia tourist board said: “Kolmanskop developed into a lively little haven of German culture, offering entertainment and recreation to suit the requirements of the affluent colonialists.”

After World War One, when the price of diamonds dramatically dropped, the town emptied as richer gems were being found across the world and closer to home.

The town was built and abandoned within just 40 years and was left untouched for decades.

The ghost town went on to be used in several South African TV series and films including the 2000 film The King Is Alive.

After the town was sucked of any life, a tour company called Ghost Town Tours began to manage the historical site and opened it up to curious tourists in 2002.

Today, 35,000 visitors come each year to see what’s left of the eerie site but studies done on the sand swept buildings show that they’ve gone through a “marked deterioration”.

Meaning they could end up dead and buried in the desert pretty soon.

A stunning island off the coat of Greece was left abandoned for years due to its dark past of housing lepers.

It was known as the “Island of the Living Dead”, and was home to nearly 400 inhabitants.

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Haunting images have also been recently released of the inside of an abandoned city built in a hollow skyscraper.

The building in Johannesburg was infamous when criminals used the skyscraper for drug dealing and prostitution.

The prospectors all left by 1956 when the diamonds were worth less and harder to find

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The prospectors all left by 1956 when the diamonds were worth less and harder to findCredit: Getty – Contributor
Kolmanskop once had hundreds of Germans living and working in the village

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Kolmanskop once had hundreds of Germans living and working in the villageCredit: Getty
The buildings could be swept away by the sand soon as research shows there has been “marked deterioration" to many of them.

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The buildings could be swept away by the sand soon as research shows there has been “marked deterioration” to many of them.Credit: Getty
The birds eye view of the abandoned village

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The birds eye view of the abandoned villageCredit: Getty

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