Category: Namibia

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All Caught Up Again & Austrian History

For only the second time in the ca. 15 years since I started writing for my main website, I’m all caught up, i.e. I’ve completed and uploaded all the chapters that I had material for from my own travels. (The first time I had come to that point was earlier this year.)

First I finished the remaining chapters for Namibia, namely about Swakopmund and its local museum. And then I still had a substantial chapter to write about a relatively recent addition to the museum portfolio of the city I live in, Vienna, namely the House of Austrian History (“Haus der Geschichte Österreichs” in the original German, or HdGÖ for short), housed in

Namibia & North Korea

Many readers will wonder what the south-west African country of Namibia, one of the best-functioning democracies of the continent, can possibly have to do with North Korea, that staunch ultra-communist dictatorial hermit country in the far east of Asia. But there is a link. This: The Mansudae Art Studio in Pyongyang. North Korea has a massive demand for propaganda posters, monuments and other socialist-realist art, and most of that is produced by the Mansudae Studio. It’s a veritable industry. So big is the “industry” that it also has an “Overseas Projects” branch, offering their services to other countries. And several countries have indeed taken up that offer over the years, mostly in Africa,

Elizabeth Bay

This is the third and final blog post about the diamond-mining ghost towns in Namibia (after the earlier ones featuring Pomona and Kolmanskop). This time it’s about the largest of the three: Elizabeth Bay. And again this post is primarily a photo essay.

The name comes from the actual Elizabeth Bay on the Namibian Atlantic coast where the town and diamond mine were established in the 1920s. The bay was given its name by the British in the mid-nineteenth century, during the German colonial era it was known as “Elisabethbucht”. Locally the name

Pomona

As promised in the previous Blog post about the famous ghost town of Kolmanskop, I now bring you another photo essay about a far less well-known ghost town in the south of Namibia: Pomona.

This desolate place lies deep inside the “Sperrgebiet”, i.e. the ‘forbidden zone’, the restricted-access diamond-mining area stretching from Lüderitz all the way to the Orange River at the border with South Africa. A special permit is required to gain access to this vast area, and plenty of strict rules apply. But there are

Kolmanskop

This is the most fabled of Namibia’s ghost towns, in fact one of the most photographed ghost towns in the world. And indeed it is immensely photogenic. Hence this Blog post will essentially be a photo essay (as promised in the previous Blog post). But first here’s just the briefest of summaries of the history of Kolmanskop:

The town owes its existence to diamonds. In 1908, so during the German South-West-Africa colonial era, a railway worker who had previously had a job at Kimberley Mine, South Africa, discovered a diamond while clearing desert sand off a railway track. He showed the find to his German foreman, soon more more diamonds were found and before long a veritable diamond rush ensued. The whole

Namibia

I’ve finally finished processing the many photos I took in August in Namibia. Most were taken in RAW format so required a lot of developing/processing (white balance, exposure, etc.) so that was quite a bit of work, but that’s now done. In this new post I’ll give a general overview and a few taster photos (15 in total) – naturally with an emphasis on dark-tourism-relevant aspects.

One of the very darkest chapters in Namibian history was what is widely regarded as the 20th century’s first genocide, namely against the Herero and Nama peoples at the hands of the German colonial military, the so-called “Schutztruppe” (‘protection force’). This took place (mostly) between 1904 and 1907. One particular place

Kosovo

A few weeks ago, over the long May Day weekend, I travelled, for the first time, to Kosovo, the newest country in Europe: it declared itself independent only in 2008 … after a long period of struggle and unrest in the wake of the break-up of Yugoslavia (Kosovo, which is predominantly ethnic Albanian, was a semi-autonomous part of Serbia in the Yugoslav federal state).

This struggle included the full-blown Kosovo War of 1998/99 that eventually prompted a NATO intervention and the subsequent stationing of peacekeeping troops (KFOR) in the territory. To date, only a little over half of the countries

Dark Tourism & Mining

This is another theme post, and again not the result of a poll but half promised in the previous blog post and then requested in a comment in response to that post. So here we go.

In terms of dark tourism, one of the prime places associated with mining has to be Butte in the Rocky Mountains of Montana, USA. It became a boom town in the 18th and 19th century thanks to its rich deposits of