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Behold the Burj al Babas, a $200 million ensemble of wannabe French castles in the Turkish town of Mudurnu, about 150 miles east of Istanbul. The castle-ettes are all empty. (No cassoulet for you!) The project, by a money-laundering outfit, called the Sarot Group pulled the plug on this baby when the value of the Turkish Lira fell 25 percent, pranging their business model. The handful of sales had to be cancelled. I’m sorry I missed the meetings where this project was planned and discussed. It would have surpassed the pitch meeting for the blockbuster movie Black Panther. Any ideas for adaptive re-use before the plywood delaminates and the spray-on stucco flakes off? Might make an excellent ISIS training facility. Live in a simulacrum of Western Civ while plotting to wipe it off the face of the earth. I keep telling you: history is a prankster!  Below, wide angle view of this amazing fiasco:

About James Howard Kunstler

View all posts by James Howard Kunstler
James Howard Kunstler is the author of many books including (non-fiction) The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency and the four-book series of World Made By Hand novels, set in a post economic crash American future. His most recent book is Living in the Long Emergency; Global Crisis, the Failure of the Futurists, and the Early Adapters Who Are Showing Us the Way Forward. Jim lives on a homestead in Washington County, New. York, where he tends his garden and communes with his chickens.

16 Responses to “February 2019”

  1. Hughie the Sailor February 4, 2019 at 9:07 pm #

    Ho Lee Phuck – both images are terrifying. In the first picture I expected to see giant garden gnomes! But the second …is either something out of Sorcerer’s Apprentice or a (mercifully) receding glacier. That this project was a stillborn is a good, good, thing.

    • malthuss February 8, 2019 at 12:42 am #

      gnomes, yes.

  2. Chris at Fernglade Farm February 5, 2019 at 7:04 am #

    Hi Jim,

    I wouldn’t know which one was mine! Honestly, I thought it was a set of miniatures when I first looked at the image, and I still can’t shake the feeling. It’s uncanny.


    • malthuss February 8, 2019 at 12:43 am #

      minis, yes. so perfect. like doll houses in the dust.

  3. malthuss February 8, 2019 at 12:44 am #

    The lower picture. I have never seen anything like that, in real life.

  4. malthuss February 8, 2019 at 12:47 am #

    How many? 1000? 2000?

  5. tucsonspur February 8, 2019 at 3:07 am #

    What beautiful valley is this, being flooded with this nightmarish fairytale of cookie cutter castles?

    Not a sign of a castle keep, but an overwhelming eyeful of a castle heap.

    Even a cat might be squeezed on those curved, balustraded balconies.

    Despair not. I see the humble beginnings of a Greco-Roman parking lot in the center. Or maybe it’s the rec center at the center of this wreck.

    A claustrophobic, cringe worthy attempt at castle conurbation.

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    • malthuss February 8, 2019 at 7:37 am #

      and we thought only Chinese did cookie cutter faux euro villages.

  6. All it needs is a freeway and its done!

  7. AKlein February 11, 2019 at 8:06 am #

    WTF! If I didn’t know better, I would think this is a joke. So much creativity! From what I can see, all the castle-ettes seem identical.

  8. bymitch February 14, 2019 at 8:53 pm #

    no Pat no don’t sit on that

  9. Ishabaka February 22, 2019 at 10:15 am #

    Reminds me of my favorite saying: “If it happens, it’s possible”.

  10. My Point of View February 25, 2019 at 7:30 pm #

    More: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-11-26/builder-of-200-million-turkish-chateaux-project-goes-bankrupt

    I’ll never bitch about “cookie cutter” developments again….

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  11. Ishabaka February 27, 2019 at 2:40 pm #

    Pick one up cheap for your Renaissance festival.
    Actually, you could put a thousand of these quaint villages on the footprint of China’s ghost cities.

  12. funnyjokes March 4, 2019 at 4:44 am #

    I have been seeking information on this topic for the past few hours and found your post to be well written and has solid information. Thank you!
    angry birds


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