Overlooking the Black Sea, Abkhazia now has about 240,000 inhabitants distributed in semi-abandoned cities around the country. Here, between 1992 and 1993 a war for independence was fought which effectively destroyed a region rich in natural and mining beauties.
About 35,000 people lost their lives in the war and many more were forced to leave. Left the vacuum, Abkhazia only obtained the recognition of an independent state by Russia and some countries belonging to the United Nations in 2008.
What in the past was a place inhabited by miners who, over time, had built a family and a house, has now become a ghostly landscape. Some families strongly attached to their cities and memories of yesteryear still reside in the semi-empty buildings.
Passing through Polyana (cover photo), up to Jantuha and Akarmara (photo above), the landscape does not seem to change: huge buildings, abandoned cars and a few people around. The capital Sukhumi (photo below), which bears the marks of some battles, certainly has the appearance of a more lived-in and modern city than the rest of the country.
Sometimes some tourists come here. For some inhabitants who, behind the wounds of the war, still see the beauties of nature and the territory, it could be a good point to start over.
This weekend I got the craving for ghost towns and, after yesterday’s article, I decided to reply with this one, which however only speaks of a particular place. I had found a lot of information around. So many that I couldn’t limit them to just one continent. After all, when you travel or organize a trip, ideas come up all the time.
Between history and legends
It seems that the name of this village goes back to a certain John Coleman, a hauler who during a sandstorm got stuck with his cart in front of what would later become the same day settlement. The translation of Kolmanskop from Afrikaans (Germanic language present in southern Africa) means Cape of Coleman, which would link the event to the name of the ghost town.
Back in 1908, when the railway between Luderitz and Ketmanshoop was built, Kolmanshop was just a small train station. It was around this time that a railway worker found a shiny stone in this area and brought it to his foreman. The latter, a certain August Stauch, was a spare-time mineralogist and had ordered his workers to bring him any particular stone they had found in the area. Established with his future business partner Sohnke Nissen (a mining engineer) that this first stone was a diamond, he secured the property by starting diamond mining for years to come.
Although the two new business partners hadn’t shouted the new discovery too much, the news soon spread and Kolmaskop became a favorite destination for adventurers and diamond seekers from all over the world. As early as 1911, electricity was supplied to Kolmaskop and a school, a casino, a theater and a bowling alley had been built. A hospital was also built which had the first X-ray machine in all of southern Africa which probably served to verify that the workers did not swallow the diamonds!
With the beginning of the First World War, in 1914 production in these areas was almost completely eliminated and with it the German era ended. Then in 1928, new sites were discovered south of Luderitz while here the mines were gradually running out. From 1938 they began to take away all the machinery and slowly Kolmanskop was abandoned, leaving room for the advance of the desert.
The last inhabitant left kolmaskop in the late 1950s