It’s every Disney-lovers dream to live in a fairytale castle - but one town in Turkey appears to have trouble finding residents, leaving hundreds of picturesque mansions sitting abandoned and empty for years.
The Burj al Babas project, set among hills about 200 km east of Istanbul, was conceived as a luxury housing development with row upon row of identical cream-coloured homes, shaped like chateaus with grey turrets.
It was designed to be a luxury resort town with more than 700 mini-castles at the base of Turkey’s northwestern mountains.
After the project kicked off in 2014, the developers were impacted by an economic downturn, which was made worse by political unrest, terror attacks in the country and, more recently, the coronavirus pandemic.
After buyers failed to pay for their properties, the developer, the Sarot Group, filed for bankruptcy and eventually abandoned the project.
In February 2019, the development won a reprieve from bankruptcy when creditors voted to allow a construction company to complete work on the project.
In total, 587 of the planned 732 homes were started, but none of them have ever been finished.
‘Ghost town’ popular with explorers
The lifeless town has continued to fascinate adventurous tourists, who travel to the village to explore the eerie sea of deserted castles.
One TikTok user visited Burj al Babas and filmed himself and his friends exploring the town and looking inside some of the chateaus.
While the homes look complete on the outside, they are just a shell, with nothing but crumbling concrete floors, walls, and stairs on the inside.
“I have never seen anything like this. This is a ghost town of abandoned Disney castles,” Mike Corey, aka @fearlessandfar, captioned the video, which has been viewed more than 450,000 times since it was uploaded earlier this month.
“This is AMAZING. I feel like I could pick one up and take one home,” one person wrote.
“Let’s all go live there and give ourselves titles and be royals and princesses,” one woman said.
“It’s on my bucket list to visit,” added another.
Others shared similar sentiments while some thought the place was “super creepy”.
“Doesn't it feel like the start of those found-footage horror films?” a man said.
“This takes McMansions to a whole new level,” another wrote.
Dozens of viewers found the village to be a “waste” and suggested using the empty buildings to house the homeless.
Burj al Babas is not the first 'ghost town' to go viral.
Another popular TikTok video showed an abandoned subdivision in the US state of Missouri, which was once poised to be called the Indian Ridge Resort.
The development planned to have a water park, golf courses, hotels and shopping centres, but the 2008 housing crisis saw dozens of huge homes left empty in eerily quiet streets.
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