The Deserted Kingdom of Burj al Babas

The luxury residential town that never was.

3 min
Ripley's Believe It or Not!
Ripley's Believe It or Not!
The Deserted Kingdom of Burj al Babas
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Burj al Babas is a state-of-the-art luxury resort community in Turkey equipped with a world-class aqua park, spa, and a $200 million development price tag!

The catch? The community was never fully completed and now sits abandoned with little hope of completion in its future.

the burj al babas
Editorial credit: Esin Deniz /

In the northwestern Turkish town of Mudurnu, a peculiar and ghostly sight awaits those who venture a few kilometers south. Burj Al Babas, once envisioned as a European-inspired haven in the heart of the Middle East, now stands as a testament to unrealized dreams and economic woes.

Disney-Style Mini-Palaces: A Surreal Abandonment

Imagine stumbling upon a town of hundreds of Disney-inspired mini-palaces, complete with turrets and over-the-top glamorous towers. Burj Al Babas was intended to be a luxurious urban development, boasting 732 French-inspired châteaus.

However, economic challenges halted construction at 583 homes, leaving the landscape dotted with abandoned castles that were supposed to redefine opulence in the Middle East.

The Vision: Royal Living in Turkish Valleys

Sarot Group, the ambitious project developer, envisioned a community where Mediterranean climate and European aesthetics converged nestled in a massive valley at the base of Turkey’s northwestern mountains. The allure was not just in the lavish European architecture but also in the promise of Gothic-style rooftop terraces overlooking the lush Turkish forest.

The mini-palaces, each priced between £330,000 to £440,000 , were designed to feature underfloor heating, Jacuzzis on every level, and access to a geothermal spring for a communal spa center. Each castle, veiled in a layer of snow during winter, was designed to offer a fairy-tale-like experience.

Why is Burj al Babas Abandoned?

Burj Al Babas started construction in 2014 with an ambitious four-year timeline. Unfortunately, Turkey’s economic downturn and local dissatisfaction with the project’s aesthetics and environmental impact led to bankruptcy.

The developers faced a £24 million debt, and with bad choices and bad timing, the dream of a luxurious castle village was abruptly abandoned.

A Chilling Post-apocalyptic Aura

As the years passed, the remaining castles crumbled, leaving behind the fractured remains of an epic vision. The once-grand architecture now stands as a chilling reminder of what could have been—a city frozen in time, eerily reminiscent of a sparkling metropolis ravaged by war.

Will Burj al Babas be Completed?

Despite investors and buyers pulling out in 2019, Sarot Group initially expressed confidence in completing the £200 million project. However, the pandemic dealt a severe blow, leaving Burj Al Babas in a state of abandonment. While not impossible, the likelihood of the project resuming now seems uncertain.

A Disney Movie Turned Ghost Town

With half-finished shells dotting the valley, Burj Al Babas remains an unlivable testament to a grand vision gone awry. The manor-dotted landscape, resembling something out of a Disney movie from afar, becomes haunting upon closer inspection. Rows of partially completed castles, patchy landscaping, and zero signs of life create an eerie post-apocalyptic atmosphere.

burj al babas construction
Editorial credit: emasali stock /

The Unseen Beauty and the Uncertain Future

Despite its current state of disarray, Burj Al Babas, with its unseen interiors and picturesque surroundings, still hints at the European luxury it was meant to embody. As the world’s most expensive ghost town , it remains a sprawling enigma in northwestern Turkey—a testament to grand aspirations, unfortunate circumstances, and the unpredictable twists of fate.


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