The Ghost Buildings of Bansko, Bulgaria. OooooOOOOooooo!

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Brent and I have been living as digital nomads for close to a year now. And one of our favorite stops so far has been Bansko, Bulgaria. A ski town located at the base of the gorgeous Pirin Mountains, Bansko is charming, surrounded by nature, and incredibly affordable..

But Bansko also has a slew of half-constructed hotels, apartment buildings, and houses that don’t fit in with its fun-filled winter playground image. Some of the “ghost” buildings are sprinkled among other finished buildings, like one rotten tooth set in an otherwise healthy mouth. But in parts of town, there are entire blocks of half-constructed buildings that make one feel like you’ve crossed over into some post-apocalyptic world.

What accounts for these ghost buildings of Bansko? We’ve heard two different theories. The first is Bansko was undergoing a huge building boom right up until the start of the Great Recession back in 2008. And when the bottom fell out of the worldwide real estate market, it hit Bansko especially hard. Dozens of buildings lost their financing and construction halted on the spot. Stacks of bricks, wiring, and other materials were left right where they were sitting.

The second explanation is that it’s something of a financial scam in unregulated Bulgaria: con artists get building loans, start construction, then claim to have run out of money and go "bankrupt,” pocketing the rest.

Regardless of the explanation, the Ghost Buildings of Bansko sure make for an interesting, if eerie, walk around town.