A ghost of a town

For me, the word “ghost town” conjures up images of empty, dusty streets, abandoned homes, favourite toys left behind and machinery left to rust. There is always a hint of sadness that comes with the images.

Humberstone in northern Chile is – to me – the epitome of a ghost town. Once a thriving mining town it is now an empty place, an empty monument to happier times. The town’s sole industry was based on the mining and refining of nitrates, however when synthetic nitrates were developed these two industries quickly became redundant. By 1960 the industrial plants had shut down, there were no jobs, the families left and by 1970 the abandonment was total and complete.

There isn’t much more I can say about this town, other than it is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I’ll defer again to pictures, in the hope that they will capture the feeling of the town.

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