"There are indications that inhabitants may have departed in a hurry"
February 5, 2020 10:40 AM   Subscribe

"There are indications that inhabitants may have departed in a hurry; doors wide open, personal effects left in a jumble." The ghost village of Al Madam is a place of strange beauty, two rows of homes and a mosque about an hour's drive from Dubai, half buried in shifting sands. Photographers love it, for good reason. If you can't visit it yourself, at least you can take a virtual visit.

On another topic, today is the 20th birthday of my MetaFilter account. Happy birthday to me!
posted by litlnemo (12 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
posted by growabrain at 11:10 AM on February 5 [1 favorite]

"The settlement was likely first built in the 1970s or ’80s and inhabited by the local Al Kutbi tribe. It was abandoned not long afterward."

I like how all the buildup makes it sound like this is some supernatural spook story village vanishing thing from long long ago, and then it turns out it was a couple houses built in the 1980s and then they immediately decided it sucked and left.
posted by FatherDagon at 11:24 AM on February 5 [8 favorites]

Also, doors wide open can happen in any sandstorm? What's with the romanticisation of what was possibly a government effort to 'settle' some nomadic tribespeople that didn't work......

posted by Wilder at 12:18 PM on February 5 [2 favorites]

Yeah, I'm pretty sure that they could find some of the inhabitants and... ask them what happened.
posted by tavella at 12:43 PM on February 5 [1 favorite]

Wow, tough crowd.
posted by litlnemo at 1:35 PM on February 5 [10 favorites]

"Ugh, it's impossible to keep the sand out here!"
posted by rhizome at 1:49 PM on February 5

The pictures are very pretty. One of the links said they abandoned the site because the dunes were creeping upon them.... which I do find creepy. Mainly because it reminds me of that Stephen King short story "Beachworld" where the space ship crash lands on a weird sand planet.
posted by Gyre,Gimble,Wabe, Esq. at 1:53 PM on February 5 [1 favorite]

I bet like a lot of places some developers got some cheap land, built some spec houses, made a model of future development, shopping, road improvements, the next bedroom/corridor to the city, etc etc and then it didn’t pan out and everyone who fell for it got stuck with an underwater mortgage on a house in the sticks. Pretty tho
posted by toodleydoodley at 2:02 PM on February 5 [1 favorite]

Title: Mysterious abandoned village becomes a lure for intrepid travelers
Second sentence of the article: Less than an hour's drive from the city of Dubai ...

This is obviously some strange usage of the word "intrepid" that I was previously unaware of.

Cool pictures though.
posted by Greg_Ace at 2:57 PM on February 5 [1 favorite]

People on Reddit say there is no sign of doors being hung or similar evidence that it was ever inhabited.

The CNN article talks about it as an example of "Sha'bi housing" that was only inhabited very briefly, but it's also possible it was never inhabited at all -- which would explain why no one has an explanation for why it was abandoned.
posted by lewedswiver at 4:05 PM on February 5 [1 favorite]

For those interested in eerie-looking abandoned towns that may never have been inhabited in the first place...
posted by theory at 7:40 PM on February 5 [2 favorites]

There are indications that inhabitants may have departed in a hurry
I'm coming around to the opinion that there's some natural tendency among humans to leave places like that when the abandon them. I've explored several abandoned Chilean mining towns, an prison and a mining office in Mexico, an old US military base. None of them were abandoned quickly or without warning. In every case, there were utensils and papers and combs and stuff sitting out as though ready for use. Sometimes actual food on the table. Often personal or confidential material. The assumption we naturally make that if you're leaving a place for good you'll either take everything with you or throw everything in a bin first doesn't seem to be at all true.

Interesting post!
posted by eotvos at 12:36 PM on February 6 [3 favorites]

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