Rows upon rows of small, identical castles sit amongst the rolling hills of Turkey. While the gothic-style buildings could be easily taken straight out of a Disney film, these castles sit empty making for an eerie scene.
These castles were apart of a housing development which began in 2014 called Burj Al Babas. This was a $200 million dollar project located midway between Istanbul and Ankara. The project planned to include a shopping mall, a hotel, a mosque, and famous Turkish baths. However, this project was never completed.
Sarot Property Group, the developers of the project, hoped that the luxurious aesthetic would appeal to wealthy foreign buyers. Despite protests that the villas would not match the architecture of the province, the project still got the seal of approval by authorities. They were given a budget of $200 million dollars and were reportedly selling each chateau for $400,000-$500,000.
587 of the planned 732 villas were completed when the company quickly ran into financial troubles, incurring $27 million in debt. This caused many investors to pull out and production to stop. Roughly half the villas had been sold to buyers from Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia. Unfortunately, the chairman has blamed their financial issues on these customers not transferring any money. While there is still money left in their budget, Sarot Property Group declared bankruptcy in September to protect them from their nonpaying buyers.
Turkey’s economic and political situation may also be partially to blame for the project’s failure. In 2018, the decline of the nation’s currency, the lira, reached an all-time high. Their president has often been criticized for excessive spending on infrastructure projects, which is partly why this has happened. To counteract these issues, Turkish banks raised inflation rates up to 25%, the highest it has been in 15 years. Foreign investors have begun to pull out of Turkish projects and the construction industry has taken a downfall.
The somewhat haunting remains of these castles can be seen from stunning drone footage that individuals have captured. Photos and videos have circled around the internet showing the world this ghostly scene. The abandoned buildings and unnerving scenery represent a country on the verge of a recession. However, the developers of the Burj Al Babas remain hopeful that development will reopen by October of 2019.