Ghost Town Kolmanskop
Namibia, Luderitz

The ghost town of Kolmanskop is located in the southwest of Namibia, on the edge of the Namib desert, 10 kilometers from the city of Luderitz and the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. Dilapidated houses covered with sand, sultry air, scorching sun, complete lack of water and deafening silence - "welcome" to Kolmanskop. It is hard to believe that at the beginning of the 20th century it was one of the richest cities on the African continent. It all began in 1908, when a railway worker Zakarias Leval, clearing sand tracks from a railway track, found several “beautiful stones” that he showed to his boss, August Stauch, the chief inspector of the railway section between the port city of Luderitzbucht and the town of Aus. Seeing the stones, a German who was interested in geology and mineralogy immediately realized that he had diamonds of pure water. Stauch ordered his workers to collect and bring him all the unusual stones that they would find - almost all the stones turned out to be diamonds. The enterprising German tried to keep the news of the find secret as long as possible in order to manage to get the rights to develop the most promising areas in the Luderitz area at the Imperial Directorate of Mining. Every day, his subordinates went in search of diamonds and returned back with jam banks full of precious stones. Diamonds were lying in the sand “like plums under a tree”, old-timers said that Stauch himself once collected 37 gems, without leaving the place. In July 1908, the news of a new diamond deposit finally reached Berlin. Treasure hunters rushed into the Namib Desert in pursuit of wealth, and in September 1908, the German government declared the area of 26,000 square kilometers around the city of Luderitz a “restricted area” (Sperrgebiet), a monopoly on diamond mining was given to the German diamond company. The miners' settlement Kolmanskop, founded in 1908 by Augustus Stauch, has become one of the world centers for diamond mining. For several years, the village has turned into a thriving city, built in the German manner. The newly-minted millionaires lived in luxurious three-story villas, the middle class lived in simpler houses, a school, a hospital (with the first X-ray machine in all of Africa), a library, a casino with a dance hall, a gym, a concert hall and a bowling alley were opened, the first in African continent tram line. The city had a power station, a post office, a butcher shop, a bakery, and a police station. In the middle of one of the driest regions of the world, the Germans built a pool and a factory for the production of ice cream and lemonade, they supplied drinking water by rail for 120 kilometers, did not spare precious moisture - lush gardens with manicured lawns, rose gardens and eucalyptus groves were set up in Kolmanskop. The Kolmanskopa elite prescribed luxury items from a distant homeland, German doctors recommended sandwiches with caviar and champagne as a tonic. From 1908 to 1913, a ton of diamonds (5 million carats) was mined here, during this period of time Kolmanskop had the highest per capita income in the world. The reserves of diamonds were enough for 20 years, by 1930 the sands of the Namib desert ceased to give “beautiful stones”. Diamond mining shifted beyond the restricted area further south to the mouth of the Orange River. Residents of Kolmanskop began to leave the city and move to newly discovered deposits. The last three families left Kolmanskop in 1956. Once one of the richest cities in the world turned into a ghost town, the desert almost swallowed it, conquering its territory from civilization. As for Augustus Stauch, he lost almost his entire fortune during the Great Depression, returned to Germany, where in 1947 he died in poverty (two and a half stamps were found in his pockets).

Related Tour Objects
Archaeological Site of Aigai (Vergina)
Archaeological Site of Aigai (Vergina)
Ruins
City of Kruia
City of Kruia
Settlements
Chulangani Vihara
Chulangani Vihara
Ruins
The ancient city of Yapahuva
The ancient city of Yapahuva
Ruins
Mtskheta
Mtskheta
Settlements
Gates of the Sun (Tiahuanaco)
Gates of the Sun (Tiahuanaco)
Ruins