“These photographs represent perfectly what I try to show through my pictures of abandoned places: What used to be and no longer exists. And that humans are just passing through Earth—nature will always have the last word,” says French photographer Romain Veillon of his photos of Kolmanskop, an abandoned town nestled deep in the Namibian desert.

Kolmanskop, which is now rumored to have actual ghosts, used to be a booming town, with everything from schools, factories, ballrooms, and a hospital with Africa’s first X-ray machine. The region was literally bursting with diamonds in the early 1900s. By 1914, over 2,000 pounds of diamonds had been collected in the area. As time went by, demand for the stones began to drop, and the price fell with it. By 1956, Kolmanskop had been abandoned, and Mother Nature began moving in.

Due to the arid African climate, many of the original buildings are still in good condition, even though heaps of sand have slowly been making their way into the city. Nature has reclaimed the European-style village, and soon all that remains will be Veillon's haunting photos of the local.

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[via Co.Design]