Thursday, December 23, 2021

Abandoned castle village in Turkey

Villas like miniature castles lie dormant at the Burj Al Babas project, not far from the town of Mudurnu (Turkey), which was designed to welcome a series of wealthy customers.

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Located between Istanbul and Ankara, Turkey is a beautiful valley with pine forests and hot springs that has something out of a Disney movie: Long rows of identical, castle-style mansions. Photo: CGTV.
Looking closely, you will see many unfinished apartments, piled up materials and not a single person. This place looks like a ghost town, when in reality it's a failed luxury project. Photo: OA.

Burj Al Babas, the name of the project site, is located right near the town of Mudurnu - which was once a trading point on the Silk Road. Now, the town is the capital of the poultry industry, and an interesting tourist destination on the UNESCO World Heritage list of considerations. Photo: OA.
In the early 2000s, Mudurnu and its hot springs attracted the attention of real estate investors and developers, including Sarot, a real estate conglomerate that built two hotels in the area. Sarot came up with a bold idea: Burj Al Babas, a collection of luxury resorts for wealthy Arab clients. The project will have a magnificent Turkish-style swimming pool, shopping, entertainment center and many other items. Photo: OA.
Immediately, the project caused fierce controversy among Mudurnu resident groups. Some argue that Burj Al Babas will help boost the local economy, while many criticize the project's complete disregard for culture, as well as how much pressure it may put on the town's infrastructure. Photo: OA.
However, the project still started in 2014, with 200 million USD being poured to build 587 out of 732 villas planned. Photo: OA.

However, after the 2018 financial crisis, when both the real estate market and the global economy deteriorated and the Turkish lira depreciated, Sarot declared bankruptcy. Construction stopped. Although many villas appear to be completed on the surface, all infrastructure of the project area is not yet complete. Photo: OA.

Now, Burj Al Babas lies dormant and becomes an attraction for curious tourists visiting Mudurnu and nearby Suluklu lake. Photo: @NicholasDanfort.

In winter, this place becomes even more strange, when the snow covers place in white and there is no light, no people. Photo: @NicholasDanfort.
The story is not over, when the US corporation Nova takes over this project. It will still be an expensive abandoned town, or renovated and perfected, starting the journey as the original goal. No one knows for sure, and the fate of Burj Al Babas remains undecided. Photo: OA.

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