In the desert of the Sinai peninsula, you'll find strange otherwordly concrete structures scattered across the landscape. Why they are there is open to debate (check out BLDG BLOG); the only agreement is that they were built to be hotels. Whether they were abandoned due to conflict, embezzlement or lack of funds is not clear. Some say Egyptians create these speculative structures to show investors and, left in this state, they don't have to pay duties on them.
Whatever the reason, we love these pictures, taken between 2002 and 2005 by Sabine Haubitz and Stefanie Zoche of Haubitz+Zoche, and housed in their book Sinai Hotels. The structures have amazing names too – Hotel Seaview, Magic Life Imperial and the Sultan's Palace. Names that evoke blissful relaxation, not the dry, hard lines we see here.
They remind me of my favorite poem 'Ozymandias' by Percy Bysshe Shelley, an ode to triumphs that have long since withered into decay:
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock'd them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
But here's a twist… A friend of ours recently visited the Sinai peninsula and reports back that these buildings are now being finished. Apparently they're no longer ghostly – there's building going on. Abandoned no more, it seems. RM
Via BLDG BLOG
Images: © Haubitz+Zoche