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Ordos City in China: Discovering the secrets of an abandoned city

Ordos City
Ordos City in China: Discovering the secrets of an abandoned city
on May, 23 2014
Ordos City

Image credit: Ordos Airport terminal taken by Ngchikit under Public Domain.

When the term ghost town is mentioned, we immediately think of a dark place with dilapidated walls and decaying buildings. However, in China, a more modern version of a ghost town was unexpectedly created. This city, which was supposed to house millions of people and become one of the booming modern cities in China, ended up as an abandoned place. This is Ordos City located in Inner Mongolia, China.

Ordos used to be a simple city where people of Chinese and Mongol descents live harmoniously. However, in 2003, new urban property developers thought of transforming the city and make it one of the best cities in China. In fact, the dream for the Kangbashi New Area in Ordos was for it to become the futuristic jewel of China.

As the plan was finally realized, high rise buildings were created. Housing facilities were also built around the city with lots of modern architectural designs in place. Public services were also made available. Roads and bridges were also built using modern innovations in engineering.

Aside from making the city one of the busiest in China, it was also meant to highlight the rich heritage and culture of the Mongols. Ordos is one of the remaining cities that still make use of traditional Mongol script. In fact, even in Mongolia, people have already started making use of other scripts. There were also statues built around the city that depict the bravery of Mongol warriors.

How Ordos Ended Up Where It is Now

Though the construction of facilities and buildings around Ordos was fast, its fall was unexpectedly fast as well. Sadly, a lot of deadlines were not met and loans have remained unpaid. As a result, several investors pulled out even when the projects have not been completed. The cost of living in the area has also become impossibly expensive that people who were supposed to inhabit the place have decided not to move in. Even apartments that have been completed and fully furnished became so difficult to sell. Those who have already moved in have started to look for other places to live as more and more residents have decided to leave Ordos. From the expected population of at least one million, the city is now left with more or less 20,000 people.

Efforts to Revive the City

In order to bring back the people to Ordos, developers have decided to reduce the price of houses per square foot. Renting office spaces has also cost a lot less now. A lot more tourist destinations have been set up in order to bring in at least a few more tourists to somehow revive the city. Free visits are also given every now and then to wealthy Chinese business people who might decide to invest in Ordos. The local government in fact hosted the Miss World beauty pageant in 2012, which in a way made the city known to the world.

The future of Ordos might be bleak for now. The original plan that was grand and ambitious did not really materialize. However, if the table will soon turn around, Ordos could be among the most unbelievable success stories. Though the grand plans for the city have started to fall apart, the truth remains that it is still one of the most interesting places to see because of its history and culture.

Bernadine Racoma

Bernadine is a writer, researcher, professional and multi-awarded blogger and new media consultant. She brings with her a rich set of experience in the corporate world, as well as in the field of research and writing. Having taken early retirement after working as an international civil servant and traveling the world for 22 years, she has aggressively pursued her main interest in writing and research. You can also find Bernadine Racoma at .

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