There is a town in Burma that almost the whole of the western world has never heard of, which is weird, because it’s six times the size of NYC. Stranger still, it’s also the country’s capital city. Ten years ago the Burmese government decided they would move the capital from Yangon to Naypyidaw, which was viewed as a strange decision because nobody had ever heard of it.
In case you don’t know, Burma is a country in Southeast Asia and has one of the strictest military regimes on the planet. They haven’t allowed democracy to flourish, even though the country’s residents are desperate for political change. Since the regime decided to move the capital, it has effectively been out of bounds to westerners – which seems incredibly odd, as it’s cost billions to build.
It was designed to house millions of people, but the whole metropolis is basically vacant. On the average day, only a few government workers can be seen in the city. There are barely any residents, which of course makes the whole thing even more bizarre.
The Guardian visited it earlier this year and described it as “an eerie picture of post-apocalypse suburban America; like a David Lynch film on location in North Korea.”
The city was built in the middle of a jungle in quite an unsettled region of the country, but there is very little trouble as there are so few people there. Weirdly, the whole city has wifi, even though the restaurants and hotels lie completely and utterly without customers.
The streets are built for huge quantities of traffic, but as you can see from the photos all the roads are completely deserted. Some of the structures the government have built are incredibly beautiful, but sadly there are simply no eager tourists or happy citizens to enjoy them.
There are rumours that Burma actually contracted technicians from North Korea to build a maze of underground tunnels underneath the deserted city. Much of Naypyidaw’s history is incredibly mysterious, nobody knows when construction began, or exactly who built it. Is it just me or would this make an amazing script for a movie?
If deserted cities are your kind of thing, you really should check out this video of the ghost town of Rhyolite. It’s located on the edge of Death Valley, in Nye County Nevada, 120 miles North West of Las Vegas.
In its heyday, between 1905 and 1912, Rhyolite was the biggest and most prosperous town in the region. Today, only a few of the more than one hundred original buildings still remain. Now isn’t that a sad state of affairs?