Abandoned Chinese City of Ordos in Inner Mongolia has been called the world’s largest ghost town. In the early 2000s, a coal-mining boom led the local government to throw money at urban development in the hopes of creating a new center of economy. Thanks to the discovery of huge coal and oil deposits, the Ordos city generated immense amounts of wealth and spent billions of dollars on urbanization. However, the fantasy didn’t stand long once the coal industry collapsed ten years later and forced numerous developments to abort construction.
Only 2% of its buildings were ever filled; the rest has largely been left to decay, abandoned mid-construction, earning Ordos the title of the largest Abandoned Chinese City. Contemporary art museums, 80,000 seater stadiums, brand new hospitals all sit vacant as if waiting for a distant future to arrive.
The original plan for Ordos Kangbashi called for a new district for a million people by 2023, roughly 20 years after construction began. However, Kangbashi’s original concept was scaled down to a city for 500,000 during its early phases of development. Once intended to accommodate over one million residents, the new town of Kangbashi in northern China is today home to 100,000 residents. hat one witnesses now are enormous aborted developments and abandoned structures.
It also must be noted that Kangbashi’s seas of unoccupied apartments have mostly all been sold. 80-90% of them have owners, who hold on to them as long-term investments. Foreigners consider the Ordos to be abandoned, while Chinese consider the city to be still developing. Reporters and tourists have visited ghost town to document its abandoned buildings and architecture.
Today the abandoned chinese city looks like a surreal place made of pharaonic monuments, futuristic architecture, deserted streets and squares, and a multitude of never finished buildings. All the architecture is inspired to evoke the greatness of Genghis Khan and the Mongolian people, and certainly succeeds, with monumental buildings but equally Kitsch. The city has been planned in minute details, from the huge roads to contain the probable increasing traffic flow, which for the moment does not exist, to the great cultural complex as the museum, the library, the theater, up to the arenas for sports.
A big thanks to Anthony Reed, who allowed us to share his amazing photographs of the abandoned Chinese city, which he took in Inner Mongolia. Follow his personal website and Instagram page to see more of his photography work.