Kolmanskop was once a prosperous diamond-mining town. Now, it's a slowly sinking city in the desert of southern Namibia.
Diamond In The Rough
In 1908, a railway worker found a diamond amongst the sand while working on the rail line.
Soon after, fortune hunters rushed into the Namib Desert hoping to strike it rich. In a short space of time, Kolmanskop had plunged into diamond fever.
Driven by the enormous wealth of the first diamond miners, an extravagant village was built in the architectural style of a German town. In German, the town name translates to Kolmannskuppe.
The original town was complete with exclusive residential buildings, a hospital, power station, school, theatre, casino, sports hall, factories, tram and railway, and the first x-ray station in the southern hemisphere.
The development of Kolmanskop reached its pinnacle in the 1920s with nearly 1,200 residents – a mixture of local contract workers and German colonialists.
Prior to World War I, over 900kg of diamonds were sifted from the sands of the Namib Desert. During the war, prices of gemstones diminished and the diamond-field was slowly exhausted.
Richer diamond deposits were soon discovered further south and by 1956, the town was completely abandoned.
In 1980, the mining company De Beers established a museum and restored a number of buildings in the town. Whilst the crumbling ruins of Kolmanskop bear little resemblance to its former glory, the eerie ghost town is now a popular tourist destination.
Within a span of 40 years Kolmanskop flourished and died. The famous ghost town now fights a constant battle against encroaching sand dunes.
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