Some seriously weird things have been found amongst the sands
Deserts are hostile and lonely places. Vast plains of sand stretching as far as the eye can see, and a hostile climate, make these huge swathes of land mysterious and fascinating.
Deserts cover approximately one-third of the Earth’s land surface, according to the US Geological Survey, but there’s often more to these extreme environments than just insane quantities of sand. They are home to some of the most bizarre flora and fauna on the planet, not to mention the weird and wonderful secrets buried beneath their surface.
From long-forgotten cities, ancient monuments to ambitious artworks and, erm, a stash of retro video games, deserts are the keepers of civilisations’ secrets, some of which may never be unearthed.
A Giant Stone Hand In Chile
Situated in the Atacama desert in Chile, along the Pan-American Highway, an enormous hand rises 36 feet out of the sand. It looks like something from Game of Thrones, but La Mano del Desierto, ”the Hand of the Desert,” was commissioned by the isolated city of Antofagasta more than 25 years ago. The hand is the work of Santiago sculptor Mario Mario Irarrázabal, and it’s a monument dedicated to the emptiness of its Atacama Desert location, and symbolises human vulnerability.
The Ghost Town Of Namib Desert
Once home to hundreds of German families, the town of Kolmanskop was founded in Namibian Desert after the discovery of diamonds in 1908.
People flocked to the area and built a grand town with European architecture, stately homes, a hospital, casino and theatre, but by 1954, diamond mining had ceased and the town was left to the mercy of the desert.
Kolmanskop is still standing, although it’s an eery shadow of its former glorious incarnation, and is now a popular spot for tourists.