Ashley Hefnawy is an editorial assistant and a content producer for Shutterstock’s blog. This post was originally published on the Shutterstock blog and has been adapted with permission.

Abandoned places that once bustled and thrived with people, ghost towns are remarkable because they provide a vision of what once existed. While there’s a historical background to any city, ghost towns possess especially interesting ones, since their histories are all that remains.

Kolmanskop, which means Coleman’s Hill in Afrikaans, is located in Namibia’s southern Namib Desert. It was settled by German miners after a diamond discovery in 1908. The inhabitants who took over built homes and local institutions heavily inspired by German architecture. After about 40 years, however, the town found itself on the decline when its diamond resources were exhausted, leading to its eventual abandonment.

According to rumors, the buildings and homes that remain standing in Kolmanskop are now inhabited by ghosts, and indeed possess a certain haunted eeriness. The interiors of these structures show how the desert has slowly but surely devoured the town after only about 100 years, which leads us to believe that the strange town, which is now a tourist attraction that requires a permit to enter, may not exist at all in another century.

Scroll to explore Kolmanskop through these stunning images.

Kolmanskuppe in GermanKolmanskuppe in German

View from a distanceView from a distance

An abandoned houseAn abandoned house

Another abandoned houseAnother abandoned house

A view from insideA view from inside

A darker view from indoorsA darker view from indoors

The sand takeoverThe sand takeover 

Multi-colored layersMulti-colored layers

Room filled with sandRoom filled with sand

Rooms with different viewsRooms with different views