This Abandoned Turkish Town Is Made Of 600 Identical Chateaus


Burj al Babas estate is a developer responsible for the 600 identical French-style château dwellings that are located between Istanbul and the capital Ankara in Bolu’s province sitting empty. Why are the château dwellings located in the picturesque mountains empty? That is because Burj al Babas estate racked up a debt of $27 million.

The original goal was to fill the luxury housing complex with a total of 732 château dwellings. Each was supposed to be on a plot of 324 square meters. Some of these have already been sold at a price between $370,000 and $530,000. The recent collapse of the Turkish economy has led the Burj al Babas estate to leave hundreds of houses during different stages of completion. Lira has lost 38% of its values against the dollar in only 2018.

The project was kicked off back in 2014 with the ambition of creating a town featuring mini three-story French-style château dwellings with each dwelling having its own turrets, and a huge classical domed building located at the development’s heart. If the development continues according to the original plan, the central building will end up becoming the community hub that will feature a mosque, retail establishments, restaurants, cinemas, conference halls, and a nursery. Furthermore, the estate was also supposed to feature an aqua park, Turkish baths, high-end sports facilities, and steam rooms.

The Sarot Group managed to complete 587 of the houses before it ended up in bankruptcy. According to deputy chair Mezher Yerdelen, he had hoped that the construction would continue again in 2019 since the company only needs to sell another 100 of the villas to clear the debt. The current value of the project is $200 million. He said, ‘I believe we can get over this crisis in four to five months and partially inaugurate the project in 2019.’

The development has been getting mixed reactions especially because of the sharp contrast that exists between it and the traditional Ottoman style of the local historical mansions located in Mudurnu. The town was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List in 2015.