US News Elizabeth Bay - Namibia's abandoned diamond city

07:50  23 february  2021
07:50  23 february  2021 Source:   travelbook.de

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When huge deposits of diamonds were discovered here, the city of Elizabeth Bay experienced a brief boom - under the predominance of German workers. Today the area is a restricted area, but the evidence of that time can still be seen.

Namibia © Getty Images Namibia

On Namibia's Atlantic coast, in the middle of the vast Namib desert, lies a place that tells of a dark chapter in the country. A story marked by greed and exploitation. If the walls of the building, which continues to decay, could speak, they would tell of a time that is about 100 years ago. Of unbelievable riches and abysmal misery. They would tell about the forgotten diamond city in Namibia, Elizabeth Bay.

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At the beginning of the 20th century, today's Namibia was a German colony. According to the “ Federal Agency for Civic Education ”, it was “officially” named a “Protected Area German South West Africa” in 1884 and named Lüderitzland. The merchant Franz Josef Lüderitz bought the land on which the Namibian state is located in 1883 "under dubious circumstances" from the Nama, a local tribe of indigenous people.

Elisabeth Bay in Namibia was a place for adventurers Wo einst Diamanten abgebaut wurden, herrscht heute der Verfall Foto: Getty Images © Getty Images Where diamonds were once mined, today they are in decay Photo: Getty Images

In order to open up the coast and above all the hostile Namib Desert in the name of progress soon a railway line. This connected Windhoek with the port city of Lüderitz. In the course of this expansion, according to the weekly magazine " Stern ", immense diamond deposits were soon discovered not far from Lüderitz. Mining towns like Bogenfels, Pomona, Kolmanskop and Elizabeth Bay emerged.

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As the travel website " Atlas Obscura " reports, German soldiers of fortune in particular were drawn to the up-and-coming town en masse. He soon had a casino, among other things, where quite a few of them lost their quickly acquired wealth even more quickly. But while the German workers were building houses, the situation for the locals was far more precarious.

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Live like slaves Die Überreste des Raubbaus kann man heute noch besichtigen, aber nur mit einer geführten Tour Foto: Getty Images © Getty Images The remains of the overexploitation can still be seen today, but only with a guided tour Photo: Getty Images

Mass accommodation was built for them, huge dorms with 20 or more beds on each side of the building. And only one washroom for the workers at a time. There was no privacy, the beds were only separated from each other by sliding partitions. People were locked in here at night. The only windows in the buildings were deliberately high to prevent possible escape attempts. The workers were treated like slaves.

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The rapid and unconditional exploitation of the diamond deposits meant that Elizabeth Bay only existed for 20 years. In 1948 the mine was closed and the place quickly became a ghost town. You can only guess at the former glory, time and the tides have long since turned the houses into ruins. Another mine was opened in the region in 1991 and is still in operation today.

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The area around Elizabeth Bay in Namibia is therefore today declared a restricted zone in order to prevent diamond smuggling, as the" Stern "writes. However, you can only find the remains of Visit Elizabeth Bay. On the travel portal Tripadvisor , users are enthusiastic about the experience. One writes: “It was wonderful to see the old city and to imagine it in all its splendor.” A second says: “We can do this Absolutely recommend the tour. ”

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