Amazing Buildings Swallowed by the DesertThe desert is one of the best landscapes for finding ancient buildings. The arid climate lends itself to preservation, and there is little danger of serious decay or damage from flooding. At the same time, the sand is an ever-shifting geographic feature that can swallow whole towns both quickly (as in a violent sandstorm) or slowly (as it shifts over time). The elements of one of the world�s harshest climates can wreak havoc on anything man-made, even while providing the perfect climate for it to be preserved.

Amazing Buildings Swallowed by the DesertMosque Minaret, Egypt

This 1100 year old mosque was discovered near the town of Al Burullus along Egypt�s Mediterranean coastline. Archaeologists discovered in only recently, and speculate that there could be an entire town buried beneath the sand. The minaret is believed to be 30 meters tall, but only the very tip is showing above the sand.

Amazing Buildings Swallowed by the DesertArouane

The outpost of Arouane is located halfway between the legendary city of Timbuktu and the salt mines. Though the salt caravan�s travel infrequently these days, the town is still inhabited. However, the ever-shifting sands mean that the buildings are almost always partially buried.

Amazing Buildings Swallowed by the DesertArmenian Ruins

This ruined building in Ani, Turkey is part of the remnants of the country�s once strong Armenian population. Persecution and genocide caused many Armenians to move elsewhere (as far away as Los Angeles). Meanwhile, ruins like these dot the arid countryside.

Amazing Buildings Swallowed by the DesertAmerican Ghost Towns

The Berlin Ghost Town in Nevada is a reminder of the late 19th century gold rush. Located at the base of the Shoshone Mountains, the buildings were not covered by sand. Some still stand eerily intact amid the thriving desert shrubs. A mill and a hotel are the two largest remaining buildings in Berlin.

Amazing Buildings Swallowed by the DesertMeroe, Sudan

The pyramids at Meroe show the influence of the ancient Egyptian empire. A Nubian kingdom once had its capitol at Meroe. Pyramids and a city were built more than 2300 years ago. The city is now Sudan�s largest archaeological site, with the tombs almost completely unearthed but other parts of the city still hidden under the ever-shifting sands.

Amazing Buildings Swallowed by the DesertTelouet, MoroccoTelouet was inhabited until 50 years ago. Located high in the Atlas Mountains, it housed rulers who were loyal to the French colonial administration in Morocco. Because of this fact, and because slaves were used to serve the ruling family, little care has been taken to preserve these buildings which are being eroded by time and the harsh winds of the high desert.

Amazing Buildings Swallowed by the DesertSahel

The Sahel is the Sahara�s little sister. Located just below the Sahara, it is mostly characterized by semi-arid grasslands. Parts of the Sahel have fallen victim to desertification, with the sand from the Sahara literally blowing into the grasslands.

Amazing Buildings Swallowed by the DesertNamibian Ghost Town

The town of Kolmanskop was built when diamond fever hit Namibia in the early 1900s. The town was quickly constructed a few miles inland from a major port. A mere 10 years after the first inhabitants moved in, people started leaving as diamond prices fell during World War I. By World War II, the town was completely deserted and the sand dunes started to reclaim the land.

Amazing Buildings Swallowed by the DesertSandstorms

Though sandstorms would probably never be fierce enough to swallow a huge city like Dubai, they can temporarily cause problems by creating low visibility and coating everything with a layer of dust.

Amazing Buildings Swallowed by the DesertDune-covered Church

This church in northern Denmark was covered by a sand dune in the late 17oos. In its final days as a working church, parishioners actually had to dig their way in. The tower, the only part that is still visible, is in remarkably good shape and has become an easily recognizable landmark. This is also a good example of why shifting sands are not merely found in the desert.

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