Emma McEvoy/Tech Insider

This abandoned town has been filling with sand for 50 years

So eerie, yet beautiful.

NINA GODLEWSKI, TECH INSIDER
9 JUN 2016
 

Kolmanskop was once full of life. The former diamond mining town, located in the Namib desert in the south of Namibia, was home to over 1,000 people.

They had a ballroom, a hospital, and a bowling alley among other amenities, but by 1954, it was completely abandoned.

 

Australian photographer Emma McEvoy visited what's left of the town in November 2015 and took stunning photos of the empty homes filled with sand in her series "Sandcastles". 

Keep scrolling to see inside the ghost town.

"From the outside, the buildings actually look rather unremarkable," McEvoy tells Tech Insider in an email. "They blend into the bleak and barren landscape."

"From the outside, the buildings actually look rather unremarkable," McEvoy tells Tech Insider in an email. "They blend into the bleak and barren landscape."Emma McEvoy

But she explains that once you get inside the homes, the walls are vibrant and colourful.

But she explains that once you get inside the homes, the walls are vibrant and colorful.Emma McEvoy

"The wallpaper is different in each room and the contrast of these incredibly colourful, old, peeling wallpapers and the sand is so surreal," she says.

"The wallpaper is different in each room and the contrast of these incredibly colorful, old, peeling wallpapers and the sand is so surreal," she says.Emma McEvoy

McEvoy was worried there would be footprints in the sand from other visitors, but a wind storm a few days before her visit left it looking untouched.

McEvoy was worried there would be footprints in the sand from other visitors, but a wind storm a few days before her visit left it looking untouched.Emma McEvoy

Tourists and photographers who wish to visit the town must obtain permits beforehand.

Tourists and photographers who wish to visit the town must obtain permits beforehand.Emma McEvoy

Even then, the town is only open for a few hours a day to tourists, but photographers wishing to visit after hours can do so with the proper permit.

Even then, the town is only open for a few hours a day to tourists, but photographers wishing to visit after hours can do so with the proper permit.Emma McEvoy

McEvoy tells TI that when she tried to get a permit, the office was closed. She had to find another way in.

McEvoy tells TI that when she tried to get a permit, the office was closed. She had to find another way in.Emma McEvoy
 

"[I] had to sneak in to capture the images in the beautiful golden light at dawn and dusk all on my own," she tells TI.

"[I] had to sneak in to capture the images in the beautiful golden light at dawn and dusk all on my own," she tells TI.Emma McEvoy

Her favourite image is of the blue room.

Her favorite image is of the blue room.Emma McEvoy

But she says her favourite moment was "the feeling of having the entire town to myself." McEvoy danced around the rooms in a white lace dress to create self-portraits, like this one.

But she says her favorite moment was "the feeling of having the entire town to myself." McEvoy danced around the rooms in a white lace dress to create self-portraits, like this one.Emma McEvoy

The worn homes are located in what was once a diamond mining town started by Germans in the early 1900s, so the architecture resembles that of Europe.

The worn homes are located in what was once a diamond mining town started by Germans in the early 1900s, so the architecture resembles that of Europe.Emma McEvoy

It's hard to believe people once lived in these homes.

It's hard to believe people once lived in these homes.Emma McEvoy

McEvoy tells TI that she was unsure whether she was going to turn the photos into a series, until she arrived in Kolmanskop.

McEvoy tells TI that she was unsure whether she was going to turn the photos into a series, until she arrived in Kolmanskop.Emma McEvoy

"As soon as I stepped foot in there, I was so overcome with emotion, I knew I had to do something more with it," she says.

"As soon as I stepped foot in there, I was so overcome with emotion, I knew I had to do something more with it," she says.Emma McEvoy

McEvoy first learned about the abandoned mining town in an online article over five years ago, she tells TI.

McEvoy first learned about the abandoned mining town in an online article over five years ago, she tells TI.Emma McEvoy

After that, she added the location to her travel bucket list.

After that, she added the location to her travel bucket list.Emma McEvoy

McEvoy found an abandoned home back in Australia to house her photography exhibit about Kolmanskop.

McEvoy found an abandoned home back in Australia to house her photography exhibit about Kolmanskop.Emma McEvoy
 

She even filled the home with 9 tons (8.16 tonnes) of sand to fit with the theme of her exhibit.

She even filled the home with 9 tons of sand to fit with the theme of her exhibit.Emma McEvoy

"Having a pop-up exhibition in a house due to be demolished tied in really well with my whole concept around the impermanence of everything," she tells TI.

"Having a pop-up exhibition in a house due to be demolished tied in really well with my whole concept around the impermanence of everything," she tells TI.Emma McEvoy

The homes in Kolmanskop are being reclaimed by the earth as the sand moves in. Though the footsteps of visitors may vanish, the beauty of Kolmanskop will long be remembered through McEvoy's photos.

The homes in Kolmanskop are being reclaimed by the earth as the sand moves in. Though the footsteps of visitors may vanish, the beauty of Kolmanskop will long be remembered through McEvoy's photos.Emma McEvoy

This article was originally published by Tech Insider.

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