7 Modern Cities That Became Ghost Towns Because No One Wanted to Live There

Every year, new cities are built from scratch around the world. However, they don’t always find their inhabitants. Hundreds of new residential houses are empty, sitting in eternal expectation of their owners. One can find such newborn ghost towns in different parts of the world.

We at Bright Side wondered why this happens, and look what we’ve found. The most interesting thing we prepared for you is at the end of the article.

1. Kangbashi, China

China is the world leader when it comes to the number of buildings under construction. New cities are built there every year, but, despite the high population density, lots of them remain empty.

One probable reason is the extremely high prices for real estate. Another theory says it’s insurance in case of war. If the densely populated Chinese cities are attacked from the air, rebuilding them will cost a fortune. It’s much cheaper and easier to settle the surviving population in new cities.

The largest Chinese ghost city is located in the Ordos district, where a rich coal deposit was discovered. In the city of Kangbashi, there are thousands of houses as well as the necessary infrastructure, including an airport, parks, theatres, street sculptures, and a museum.

Construction began in 2001, and there were supposed to be 1 million inhabitants. However, only 2% of the planned population currently live there.

2. Cirueña, Spain

In the early 2000s, Cirueña was a small village in the north of Spain. But a few years later, a whole city designed for 10,000 people was built on its outskirts in record time.

More than 100 cottages and multi-apartment buildings were constructed there with restaurants, stores, swimming pools, and even a golf club. Yet 2008 brought a global financial crisis, which prevented the city’s settlement.

Now Cirueña has slightly more than 100 citizens, but all the necessary infrastructure functions properly.

Nevertheless, the city never becomes truly empty because here lies the path of the pilgrims to the Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela.

3. Tianducheng, China

In the east of China, there’s a small replica of Paris: Tianducheng. The city was built in the same style, with its own Champs-Élysées, Notre-Dame de Paris, and even a small copy of the Eiffel Tower, which is 108 meters high.

The city was built in 2007 and was designed for 100,000 people wanting to exchange their rural way of life for an urban one.

However, now the "Eastern Paris" doesn’t have even a quarter of the population. The prices for real estate turned out to be unbearable, as in other similar places in China.

Tianducheng now looks more like a large French film set, and this is why newlyweds love using it for wedding photo sessions.

4. Kilamba, Angola

The new city of Kilamba was built by a Chinese investment corporation 30 km away from Luanda, the capital of Angola. It was the embodiment of the pre-election promises of President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who guaranteed the construction of a huge amount of buildings in the shortest time possible.

The construction of Kilamba was finished in 2012. There were 750 multi-story apartment buildings to house half a million people, more than 100 shopping spaces, and dozens of schools.

The total cost of construction is estimated at $3.5 billion.

However, despite all efforts, the city’s population is about 1,000 people. It turned out that the country almost didn’t have a middle class. The majority of the population is below the poverty threshold, living with $2 a day. Therefore, they cannot afford to buy an apartment even with the help of a mortgage.

5. Thames Town, China

Another Chinese ghost town, Thames Town, is a small copy of London. It occupies only 1 square km and was meant for 10,000 inhabitants.

It has its own River Thames, Victorian houses, a Gothic church, red telephone booths, and statues of Harry Potter and James Bond. The budget for the city’s construction was about $800 million.

The pseudo-European town failed to become settled due to the financial crisis of 2008, which showed that the wealthy Chinese population the town was designed for was practically absent. Very few people could afford to live in "Chinese London," so the city remains a ghost town.

Now Thames Town, along with Tianducheng, is only large-scale wedding scenery.

6. Masdar City, UAE

Masdar City is an eco-city that’s being built 17 km away from Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. The project is estimated at $22 billion. It’s based on the principle of responsibility, which means a sustainable environment in the city. This will be achieved by providing energy from renewable sources, minimizing carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere, and a complete city waste recycling system.

The city is meant for 50,000 inhabitants, but only 300 people live there now. Most of them are students of the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology.

Cars are prohibited there, and only one store is open. One needs to go to other cities for the majority of goods.

Despite the fact that the project is almost finished, the city is still empty. One of the reasons that prevented the settlement was the economic crisis. In addition, a population that’s accustomed to living in luxury may not be ready to live on the principle of responsibility that lies at the core of Masdar City.

7. Kijong-dong, North Korea

The North Korean village of Kijong-dong is located next to a demilitarized zone and is the only settlement that can be seen from South Korea. The village was built in the 1950s with the aim of promoting a high standard of living that awaits all southerners crossing the border.

Despite the official version that there are 200 ordinary families living in the village, one can see with the help of modern optics that the houses are empty boxes without rooms. The lights there are always turned on in the same parts of the buildings and at the same time. Sometimes one can notice soldiers, as well as women washing windows — the same people as 15 years ago.

Until 2004, the village had working loudspeakers with propaganda texts directed toward the South. Having realized the uselessness of such shows, North Korea began to broadcast military marches for 20 hours a day at full volume. South Korea responded with roaring speakers playing local rock music. When the noise became unbearable, the radios on both sides were turned off forever.

Bonus: Naypyidaw, Myanmar

In 2005, the government of Myanmar, quite unexpectedly for the whole world, decided to move the country’s capital from Yangon to Naypyidaw. The new capital was built in the middle of the jungle in the inhabited part of the country and occupied an area of 7,054 square km. It took billions of dollars and several years of construction to give the terrain a new status.

In addition to governmental and residential buildings, numerous shopping centers, hotels, golf courses, a sports complex, a herbarium, and even a zoo were built in the city.

The exact time of the transfer was appointed at 6:36 a.m. by astrologers, whose opinion is of huge importance for the people of this country. The reason for the change of the capital is still a mystery. Among the most interesting theories is the authorities’ fear of a large crowd of people and possible strikes, as well as the opinion of the astrologers.

Initially, the members of the government lived here. According to rumors, they were ordered to move to the new capital within 48 hours, but few performed the authorities’ will. For a long time, Naypyidaw was a deserted place with empty houses and streets. However, now, after a dozen years, this is a lively city with a constantly growing population.

Which city surprised you the most? Do you know of any other ghost towns? Share them in the comments!

Preview photo credit mohigan