Expensive, rich, nobody needs... An involuntary clumsy rhyme arises when looking at photographs from the elite Turkish village of Burj al-Babas.
This town is located in the Turkish outback near the town of Mudurnu and looks very surreal.
Sarot Group's ambitious housing project was geared towards the mighty. Construction began in 2014 and ended in 2018, but not a single building has seen the happy newcomers: all these years, the houses with turrets have been completely empty.
Foreign sources write that it was planned to build 732 villas, but they managed to build 587.
The buildings are located very closely (it is not clear who would like to live like this, "windows into windows") and were created as if for a carbon copy: as commentators laugh on the Internet, "it seems they were printed on a copier".
“This project resembles something from Disney films, but now, during the economic downturn in Turkey, it is thrown here to rot. Stunning whitewashed neo-Gothic villas stand out against the backdrop of nature. Black-roofed buildings rise in a valley surrounded by pine-covered hills; all these houses are like the Neuschwanstein Castle in miniature, which suddenly appeared in the East. The Neo-Gothic style imitates the medieval architectural style of Western Europe. This is a very strange and very ambitious project that collapsed...", - wrote about Burj al-Babas observers of the Daily Mail.
Each "castle" has three floors and two turrets: a round corner one and a square one above the entrance. The large-scale project was approved by Turkish President Erdogan himself, he believed that the creation of jobs for builders and the sale of real estate would turn out to be a boon for the country's economy. It is reported that $ 200 million was invested in the construction, and the luxury villas were going to be sold for $ 350-500 thousand.
In the center of the luxury town, a large domed building was to be located, which was intended to house shops, cinemas, restaurants, conference rooms, and so on. It was also planned to open a water park, basketball courts, tennis courts, football fields, a fitness center, spas, saunas and, of course, Turkish baths.
“And all would be fine, but three years after the start of construction, when the process was in full swing, wealthy investors from Saudi Arabia began to notice that something was wrong. In the passport of the object, they saw beautiful castles, hotels, shops, artificial lakes, and in their view it was all really "expensive and rich", but in fact, they were faced with a completely fanciful development of the territory with "castles" of the same type! And after a while, not only investors, but also the buyers of these houses began to refuse to purchase one after another, ”travel blogger Konstantin Tkachev told his viewers on his YouTube channel.
According to him, by 2018, Sarot Group already had debts of $ 27 million and was declared bankrupt, which managed to sell only a couple of dozen houses. Meanwhile, Life.ru reports on this topic the following: “Investors from the Persian Gulf have defaulted on payments due to the fall in oil prices. As a result, the developer lacked about $ 100 million”.
Finding a hole in the fence with a barbed net, Konstantin Tkachev managed to infiltrate the territory of the abandoned "ghost town", as he calls Burj al-Babas. It is not entirely clear when exactly the blogger made this trip, but apparently, at the end of the last "pandemic" year, since his video was uploaded in November 2020.
"Crazy building, of course... So much dough have been thrown in here!... If you had such money, would you take such a" castle "?", - asks Konstantin from his subscribers, taking a close-up of one of the villas.
Then he looked into one of the buildings: bare walls, wires sticking out from everywhere, scattered building materials... Frankly speaking, an eerie impression.
The Daily Mail reported that immediately after the bankruptcy, Deputy Chairman of the Sarot Group Mejer Yerdelen was still very optimistic.
“We only need to sell 100 villas to pay off the debt. I believe that we will be able to overcome this crisis in four to five months and partially open the project in 2019”, - he said.
Alas, in 2019 the project has not resumed.
They write that now Sarot Group allegedly continues to defend its right to sell Burj al-Babas houses in court, but it is not clear whether this is so. In any case, there are no residents in this strange town, and there is not a word about this on the company's Facebook page - the entries here have not been updated since 2018.