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Richard Ehrlich: Namibia


Sand Houses: The Forbidden Zone by Richard Ehrlich

"By 1920, the desert town Kolmanskop was a booming center of mining activity and home for 300 German expatriates and their families who came to seek their fortune.  A hospital, gymnasium, concert hall, casino, bowling alley, school, bakery and power station were all built in the desert.

Kolmanskop was one of the wealthiest communities in Africa.  Over 1,000 kilos of diamonds were extracted before World War I.  Houses were built with great interior aesthetic sensibility and color, presumably to offset the lonely existence in the middle of the inhospitable desert.

By 1928, large deposits were found elsewhere and the houses were left abandoned to the fierce winds and forever shifting sands.  Their remains, savaged by sand and time, are left behind with objects emerging or being buried by the daily winds."