The Creepy Beauty of China's Totally Uninhabited Cities

Getty Images
Getty Images

Around China, there are dozens of housing projects that were constructed during their housing boom and never totally completed. Some were left unfinished with walls half up and no windows installed while others were finished but never moved into. While this happened a little bit in the U.S. during the recession, China's empty locales are particularly striking because whole cities, including shopping malls and local attractions, are left empty, leaving the areas to look like they are sets for a new post-apocalyptic film.

These images seem to depict abandoned cities, but the reality is that a place must first be used in order to be abandoned. Most of China's ghost cities never even had residents to start with. While the photos of these places seem creepy, they are also strikingly beautiful in a way, showing what happens when overly-ambitious developers push through projects without any potential customers in line to buy their creations.

Check out more of these amazing images over at io9.

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Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels.com
Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels.com

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The Tallest Cemetery Monument in New Orleans Was Built Out of Spite

baldeaglebluff, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0
baldeaglebluff, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

Spite has motivated many construction projects, from a 40-foot-tall fence in California to an 8-foot-wide home in Massachusetts. But when it comes to pettiness, few structures can beat Moriarty Monument in New Orleans's Metairie Cemetery. Reaching 80 feet high, the memorial to Mary Moriarty was an excuse for her widower to show off his wealth to everyone who rejected him.

New Orleans is famous for its cemeteries, which feature above-ground mausoleums. The soil in the region is too wet and swampy to dig traditional 6-foot graves, so instead, bodies are interred at the same level as the living. The most impressive of these graveyards may be Metairie Cemetery on Metairie Road and Pontchartrain Boulevard. Built in 1872, it lays claim to the most above-ground monuments and mausoleums in the city, the tallest of which is the Moriarty Monument.

The granite tomb was commissioned by Daniel A. Moriarty, an Irish immigrant who moved to New Orleans with little money in the mid-1800s. It was there he met his wife, Mary Farrell, and together they started a successful business and invested their new income into real estate. The couple was able to build a significant fortune this way, but Moriarty struggled to shake off his reputation as a poor foreigner. The city's upper class refused to accept him into their ranks—something Moriarty never got over. After his wife died in 1887, he came up with an idea that would honor her memory and hopefully tick off the pretentious aristocrats at the same time.

By 1905, he had constructed her the grandest memorial he could afford. In addition to the towering steeple, which is a topped with a cross, the site is adorned with four statues at the base. These figures represent faith, hope, charity, and memory, while the monument itself is meant to be a not-so-virtuous middle finger to all those who insulted its builder.

Gerard Schoen, community outreach director for Metairie Cemetery, told WGNO ABC, “The reason Daniel wanted his property to be the tallest was so his wife could look down and snub every 'blue blood' in the cemetery for all eternity." More than a century later, it still holds that distinction.

[h/t Atlas Obscura]