Tons of of creepy Disney-style castles sit deserted in Turkish ghost city

200 km east of Istanbul, Turkey, near the Roman spa town of Mudurnu, lies the surreal haunting village of Burj Al Babas.

Dreamed of by two Turkish real estate developers with the intention of being a luxurious European-style holiday town, what was intended as a fairytale village today sees hundreds of castle-inspired mini-castles half-finished, empty and quickly derelict.

The economic downturn and the weakening of the Turkish currency have left many companies unable to pay the large foreign currency debt they borrowed to fund projects, resulting in many companies filing for bankruptcy and failing to complete projects .

Chris McGrath / Getty Images

The economic downturn and the weakening of the Turkish currency have left many companies unable to pay the large foreign currency debt they borrowed to fund projects, resulting in many companies filing for bankruptcy and failing to complete projects .

The 732 planned Disney-like turreted properties would form an idyllic new vacation resort that would also feature Turkish baths, health and beauty shops.

350 investor groups brought the dream with them and agreed to buy the villas for values ​​between $ 370,000 and $ 530,000 (NZD 530,433 to NZD 759,810).

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However, a perfect storm crashed the project in late 2018 when a failed political coup rocketed the Turkish economy and skyrocketed construction costs, turning the development into $ 27 million in debt Million NZD) crashed and the builders left. Behind the project is the Sarot Group, bankrupt.

Construction of the luxury residential project began in 2014 and was aimed at building 732 villas, a shopping mall and entertainment facilities for foreign vacationers.

Chris McGrath / Getty Images

Construction of the luxury residential project began in 2014 and was aimed at building 732 villas, a shopping mall and entertainment facilities for foreign vacationers.

The chairman of the Sarot Group, Mehmet Emin Yerdelen, told the Turkish newspaper Hürriyet at the time that the judicial insolvency of his company and the subsequent construction freeze were due to investors who had not met their purchase obligation.

“We couldn’t get claims of $ 7.5 million for the villas we sold to Gulf States,” Yerdelen is quoted as saying. “We filed for bankruptcy protection, but the court ruled bankruptcy. We will appeal the verdict.

“The project is valued at $ 200 million,” he said. “We only have to sell 100 villas to pay off our debts. I believe we can overcome this crisis in 4-5 months and partially inaugurate the project in 2019.”

Hundreds of castle-like villas and houses are unfinished in the Burj Al Babas housing estate in Turkey.

Chris McGrath / Getty Images

Hundreds of castle-like villas and houses are unfinished in the Burj Al Babas housing estate in Turkey.

Although the company received a small reprieve in February 2019 when a majority of creditors voted to reopen the building, construction has never progressed and today the estate is empty, more similar Banksy’s decrepit Dismaland than the magical kingdom.

The abandoned 587 villas, some of which have been built, are an eerie sight and are still waiting for their fairytale end.