The name of this Disneyland lookalike is Burj Al Babas and, originally, it had nothing to do with Disneyland at all. It was a development that was intended to cater to wealthy tourists who, hopefully, would purchase the houses as vacation homes. A wide expanse of houses, all designed to resemble small castles in their own right, once held great hopes for those who could afford it. The construction of these houses began in 2014 and, initially, things seemed to be going swimmingly.
Being in the presence of this interesting, albeit slightly eerie, development was like coming face to face with a landscape of row after row of perfect castles, which certainly commanded a presence. Those who owned them would not have been permitted to change or alter their exterior appearances in any way, so every detail, even down to the color of the houses, was identical. Had the project taken off and been able to come to full fruition, it likely would have felt like a wonderland for kids and adults... But that didn't exactly happen.
Vacation Houses Fit For Royalty
The cost to build the development totaled 200 million before it was all said and done, making it a multi-million dollar investment for all those involved. While it had such high hopes and a promise of a luxury-filled future, the project went bankrupt four years after its construction start date. With 587 buildings completed out of an anticipated 732, not only was the development, as a whole, half-finished, but many of its houses also went without their finishing touches. Along with houses, the complex was also destined to have movie theaters, Turkish baths, and sports facilities. In short, the dream was bigger than the turnout - and this was originally planned to be a miniature town or city, making it virtually unnecessary for any homeowner to need to leave for any form of entertainment or amenities.
With that being said, the houses themselves are nothing short of stunning. On the outside, they perfectly exemplify the chateaux-style of architecture that's so well-known throughout France, with classic Turkish touches that exuded luxury. Each home was adorned with anything from Juliet balconies to round turrets, complete with exterior facades that spoke to the glamour of these houses. If nothing else, this made the whole thing even more unsettling as they've sat, abandoned and empty, for three years now.
A Steep Cost
Living in a fairytale comes with a price tag and the cost of these houses was no small fee. Originally, each house would have gone for anywhere between $400,000 to $500,000, depending on the features and space. While this sounds outrageous, the more surprising thing is that some of the houses did see sales before they were even finished, according to All That's Interesting. When the project went bankrupt, however, the sales were canceled, leaving no profit by the end of it all. When this project was started, it was believed that it would bring jobs to the country and allow the economy some reprieve as it saw an eventual boost in profit from these vacation homes. Obviously, that did not happen, and so the houses sit, to this day, empty and unoccupied.
Those curious about seeing the castle-like houses themselves can visit this somewhat dystopian-style landscape in Mudurno, Turkey. In person, it's easy to see how this development could have really taken off, and how every morning spent on the Juliet balcony or the front steps could have felt like a dream come true. Now, it's a silent reminder of what could have been... with an anti-Disneyland vibe to it thanks to the architecture of each house. Even the Gothic steeples of each house are reminiscent of Cinderella's castle, an iconic landmark in Disneyland that appears across 500 sullen, sad houses in Mudurno.
While Turkey remains a destination for many who wish to see its gorgeous landscape, the country was still facing an economic plight with political turmoil according to Insider, which also factored into the decision on many people's parts to cancel their sales. While these villas could have been something truly special and were originally seen as a beacon of hope to a struggling economy, they've since become a landmark for visitors to Turkey. Abandoned towns have always been a place of interest and while this one is a bit sadder than most, it hasn't stopped people from exploring its desolate landscape. To this day, Burj Al Babas still holds the title of the largest ghost town in the world.