American Detroit was until recently known as the automotive capital. But nowadays it is more often than not mentioned in the context of decline and population outflow. Outlook decided to figure out why ghost cities emerge.
Over the last 40 years population of Detroit fell by half. While in 1970 1.5 million people lived there, in 2012 there were only 700 thousand. And, sadly, the trend runs on to the present day.
As far back as in 1950s number of the huge metropolis dwellers began to decrease. Then it was due to the fact that wealthy inhabitants preferred moving to prestigious suburbs. People who remained in the city were not the richest ones and there was a high percentage of dark-skin population. Because of that interracial conflicts kept bursting out which made Caucasians start leaving the city. And it was oil crisis of 1973 that ‘finished’ Detroit. It made many American industrial companies go bankrupt so they had to either shut down completely or reduce staffs significantly. All these factors turned the city into a perfect stage for post-apocalyptic movies with filmmakers actively taking advantage of it for they don’t have to build half-destroyed skyscrapers, streets with trees growing through asphalt and real abandoned districts – all this stuff is enough and to spare in what used to be the USA’s industrial heart.
Populated localities die out for various reasons therefore a story of each of them is unique. Take, for instance, Oradour-sur-Glane in France; it was seriously damaged in World War II. During famous Normandy landings SS troops stormed in because of rumors that a captive German officer was in town. In merely a couple of days of mass executions the place turned into empty ruins. And after the war Charles de Gaulle decided not to restore Oradour-sur-Glane leaving it as a memory to descendants about terrors of Nazism.
Another reason for a ghost city to emerge is a manmade disaster. And here we will, unfortunately, tell about Ukrainian Pripyat because its absence would make the selection incomplete. Inhabited locality, situated three kilometers away from notorious Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, was founded in 1970. According to the design of Soviet engineers, it was supposed to become a prosperous city of the future. However the explosion at the plan and evacuation that followed it interfered with lives of 50 thousand people in 1986. Nowadays almost nobody lives in the territory of ‘Nuclear Town’ and it became a site of pilgrimage for stalkers and tourists long time ago.
By the way, despite abandonment, Pripyat was never deprived of its city status and is formally under the jurisdiction of Kiev Administrative Region Council for there is no own regulatory body there.
Lately ‘ghosts’ emerge even in places that are most favorable for living. Last year I was surprised a lot when told that in comfortable German Hamburg there are a couple of abandoned districts. Not having believed it, I headed there to check it for myself. As it turned out, in newly-built Hamburg City and Altstadt windows are mostly dark in the evening and one can hardly meet people outside. And this is the courtesy of sky-high prices for residential space. Even apartments that were paid for were purchased as investments – not to get settled in, because there are almost no shops or other infrastructure there. Currently authorities are trying to fix the problem somehow since there is critical need for affordable housing in Hamburg. Instead of 6 thousand of annually needed apartments only 4 thousands are built; this gives rise to serious discussions in German society. Tons of concrete just stand there unowned while people even with high income cannot afford buying residential space in new districts.
Similar problem can be spotted in China. Not just districts – whole towns stay empty there. In Chenggong alone, which was built in 2003, about 100 thousand apartments are awaiting owners.
Local authorities are in no hurry to relocate there people from Yunnan province with its 46-million population. The Chinese believe that such cities are ‘reserve airfields’ of a kind in case of natural disasters. Therefore, while the country still has spare money for construction, such residential locations will keep emerging.
In 2013 in the whole Celestial Kingdom number of empty apartments ‘eager’ to have someone to reside in them amounted to 50 million. And the lucky ones will not be found waiting because in this huge country urban expansion is massive and at least 10 million people annually move to cities.
Where to look for Clementin, the narrowest hotel in Czech Republic merely 3.28 meters wide, how to chose between Pilsner Urquel, Krušovice and Gambrinus, when to feed gold-colored carps and why tram 91 has no peer? Elvira Matrosova learned about these and more. And despite the fact that this city stands on Vltava (Wilth-ahwa – literally means Wild water), it is aristocratic, consistent and calm yet far from Puritanism.
There are few ones similar to it. Around 400 meters long. With its special atmosphere. Small town inside a city. Cars don’t drive here. Here you can feel old uneven stone-blocked pavement beneath your feet with paintings on buildings around being so delusive that one cannot make out where there is a real window-balcony-door and where it is merely a picture…
One of the smallest capitals of the world – Malé – offers to have a look at the country’s, not 5-star hotel’s, places of interest and to get closer to life of ordinary Maldivians, not people from a room next door. First association that comes to mind at the mention of the Maldives is something azure and pastoral.
More than fifteen hundred years ago Romans were awe struck when they caught the very first sight of the Sistine Chapel. After that masters of painting were born and dead as well as whole pictural art styles. And contemporaries of you and me gape on the distinguished temple.
For many tourists France is mainly Paris with long queues to the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, as well as neighbouring sights with royal chic, or Mediterranean resorts. But OUTLOOK author while travelling through the country decided to go to the north, to Normandy! Our readers are welcome to read series of travel essays about a journey to the Atlantic Ocean by Kornei Gritsyuk...
Its sounds penetrate the heart, stop the flow of thoughts and cause the blood to move in some kind of magical rhythm. It's a roll of thunder. It gives the shivers. It's a secret. Japanese drums in their homeland are elevated to the rank of cult. Without them, not a single official event is possible, their melodies delight the hearing during joy and help to experience sadness.
Green slopes covered with heather moorland, deserted suburban roads, narrow streets with small cottages and gardens emitting heady fragrance - it seems that British villages are unchangeable through the passage of time. Like stilled scenery for heroic fantasy fiction, each of them has its own story about great battles, brave warriors and legendary artefacts.
Baltic States are a good destination for inexpensive tourism in Europe, they are well known for various attractions and changeable weather. Local waters and winds come up with unexpected rainfalls, but that is not a reason to hide in the hotel since there are many amazing museums around, and it is not much of a problem to visit all three countries within just a few days.
The Senegalese capital of Dakar is not only the most important city of West Africa, but also a city of extremes, a fascinating introduction if purpose of the trip is to "get acquainted with the Continent, but gently and smoothly". In addition to many civilizational and habitual to modern people attributes of life, every moment you feel spirit of Africa, at once both intimidating, romantic, off-beat and deeply alluring.
Facet of Botswana diamonds shine brightly. But aside from gemstones every woman in the world dreams about, there are many other treasures in this African nook. Today let us have a look at this country for ourselves...
Tibet… what are you mulling over while articulating this name, drawing it in your mind mentioning the concept involved in the mild space of clouds?Tibet… There are mountains that seem to be speaking with the heaven. Here everything is penetrated with the religion and different beliefs such as culture, art, folk traditions and customs.
Mon amour, mon ami… All most beautiful words and songs of love sound in French. Review every curve of France and find privacy in province of Provence that gently swings in the south-east of Brigitte Bardot and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Ancient cities from Marseille to Monaco are penetrated with lyric antiquity so ideas of staying at Côte d’Azur keep coming back to your head.
Despite ongoing development of air transport, many people across the Earth still love to travel by train for various reasons. Though the majority of passengers associate trains with a rather slow way to travel compared with airplanes, and are concerned with low comfort which can be still at the level of last century, reading through our selection below...
Depression and lack of new ideas? Head to Goa! It was the rest in Goa that helped business lady Kira Kondratenko build up energy and ideas for the implementation of an interesting project once. Today she shares with us her impressions of the island while calling it nothing short of Heaven on Earth.
Nature bestowed our planet with many sky-high peaks, which at any moment give visitors the feeling of boundless freedom. Cities build skyscrapers boasting to one another and, to satisfy high aspirations, they add observation decks at the height of the bird's flight. Travelling from continent to continent, with bated breath we will admire the world's loftiest views from the summits of supertalls.
There are many things that we can learn from citizens of the United States but what deserves special respect is love to their land. Patriotism of Americans manifests itself in everything, even in internal tourism - without having properly explored own country, an American would hardly travel anywhere outside its territory. Today we tell about one of the most popular internal tourism towns - about Leavenworth.
European coast of the Baltic Sea can boast of neither warm waters nor lasting beach season – this however does not prevent it from being a popular resort area. Great number of cozy coastal towns attracts tourists first of all with fresh and curative air as well as with the opportunity to “heal the eyes” looking at the cold sea and amazing landscapes. Sopot – main Baltic resort of Poland – exhibits all of these advantages to the full.
If what they show in cinematograph is true than a typical samurai appears to be austere, taciturn and even slightly unsociable person. But this image in actual fact doesn’t get in line with reality... You don’t believe it? Our journalist Elena Rasenko suggests you make sure of it for yourself.
Residents of Queenstown, like all New Zealanders, are among the first on the planet to meet the dawn. There are no children's homes, homeless animals. People are resistant to cold, so much so that at zero degrees go in T-shirts. Each of them has an average of nine sheep, and in nature there are practically no such dangers as mosquitoes and snakes.
Once upon the time, Pygmy peoples lived on the west coast of Africa. They did not have any conflicts with anyone. When they were hungry, they went hunting, picked up nuts and bananas. Then the Mpongwé and the Fang tribes came. After them, the Portuguese arrived and named these lands Gabon. They were followed by the French who acquired the land and declared it as their colony.