Ghost towns of the Atacama

dscf1038
The factory complex at Santa Laura – its production period was from 1916 to 1960

A short bus ride from Iquique are two UNESCO world heritage ghost towns – the Nitrate factories of Humberstone and Santa Laura. We had the eerily preserved schools, theatres, workshops, swimming pools, power rooms etc etc pretty well all to ourselves.

In the first half of the 20th century ‘Chilean Nitrate’ was the in-demand fertiliser for crops all around the world. But then air sourced Nitrates came along and these plants in the desert couldn’t compete any more; both closed in 1960.

dscf1021
At Humberstone – named after it’s English founder – the workers lived in segregated housing separate from the managers
dscf1020
The Humberstone factory complex viewed from the waste hill

As examples of our ability to create working communities in the most extreme environments, its great to see these sites listed, but UNESCO views their status as still endangered.

Advertisements

Thanks for reading. We'd love to hear your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s