Viivikonna: Estonia’s ‘Ghost Town’

Viivikonna is a village in northeast Estonia. You’ll often see it called a ‘ghost town’ nowadays, though that wasn’t quite my experience of it. Once housing some 1,000 citizens, it was a shale mining settlement through much of the 20th century – but now, with the industry dried up, most have moved away, and many of the former buildings are reduced to rubble. However a small population still remains: cyclists loop around abandoned houses, commuters wait patiently at a faded concrete bus stop, and clean washing hangs out to dry between the crumbling plaster façades of classical-style town houses, many of which have stood empty for a decade.












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