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In the 1920s, a resort town was built on the banks of a salt lake south of Buenos Aires, Argentina. The town was home to over a thousand permanent residents, with thousands more seasonal tourists coming in from the city. It was called Villa Epecuen, and up until 1985, it was a popular tourist spot, with 280 businesses to frequent and a lake to swim in. It was a little slice of paradise.

But this is what it looks like today.

But this is what it looks like today.

What happened? Well, in 1985, a dam broke, and the town was rapidly flooded with salt water from the nearby lake. The water reached 33 feet at its highest, submerging buildings and cars.

People quickly realized that the water wasn”t going anywhere. Many of them had initially camped out on their rooftops, hoping for the water to recede so they could salvage what they had and start over. But the water stayed, and so the residents abandoned the town. No one was killed in the flooding, but people lost everything they had.

For about 25 years, the town remained submerged as kind of a modern Atlantis. Only the tops of trees, telephone poles, and the tallest buildings could be seen over the surface of the new lake.

For about 25 years, the town remained submerged as kind of a modern Atlantis. Only the tops of trees, telephone poles, and the tallest buildings could be seen over the surface of the new lake.

In 2009, the water began to finally recede. From it, the gray, ruined town began to slowly emerge, showing the full scale of the devastation. It”s silent and eerie — a true ghost town. Here, the salt-crusted artifacts and empty roads look like something out of a post-apocalyptic fantasy.

This was the town”s slaughterhouse.

This was the town

As the water continues to recede, more and more of the town”s features are becoming visible again.

As the water continues to recede, more and more of the town

Houses, telephone poles, and more have emerged from the depths.

The buildings, as well as everything else, have been rendered gray and ghostly after 25 years under the salt water.

The buildings, as well as everything else, have been rendered gray and ghostly after 25 years under the salt water.

A dead tree holds a chunk of concrete.

A dead tree holds a chunk of concrete.

Window frames from a collapsed building.

Window frames from a collapsed building.

In the uncovered parts of town, you can still see the outlines of streets, which are lined with dead trees. The street signs are still there, too, pointing into the empty distance. Cars, furniture, and appliances, pieces of people”s interrupted lives, can be found among the rubble. And perhaps most eerily, the town”s cemetery is also emerging, and some of the graves have been opened in the water, revealing skeletons inside.

Today, the vegetation is beginning to grow back, but the remains of the original trees are everywhere.

Today, the vegetation is beginning to grow back, but the remains of the original trees are everywhere.

(via MessyNessyChic, Wikipedia)

It”s going to be a long time before Villa Epecuen is ever really habitable again, but it actually does have one resident. After the waters receded enough for him to get in, resident Pablo Novak, now about 84, returned to his property. Today, he lives in a stone hut with a refrigerator and a basic stove, with nothing but the bleached trees for company. Why? No one knows. Maybe he just loves Villa Epecuen that much.

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