Abandoned Town in Tenerife
May 18, 2009 Leave a comment
Located near Sanitorio de Abona on the East Coast on Tenerife there is an abandoned town. Known locally as the Hermitage, it was constructed to deal with a social health problem which was becoming a dilemma in Tenerife during the 1930’s. There were around 200 cases of leprosy on the Island at that time and since there was no cure the only remedy was isolation.
The Tenerife Government has always had a panache for architecture, so they appointed a leading Architect to design a leper colony. Jose Enrique Marrero Regalado had already been reponsible for designing many Government Buildings as well as the famous Basilica Nuestra Senora de la Candelaria.
The abandoned town was designed and constructed with an emphasis on self contained community life. The facilities included a main hospital area, segregated residential areas, a church, and even a school. In all there are over thirty buildings on the site in various states of completion. Why is it an abandoned town? The development of antibiotic drugs during the 1940’s provided an effective treatment and it was decided that lepers could be better treated in their own homes. The unfinished facilities were never used to accommodate any patients.
Today, this eerie abandoned town remains pretty much how it would have been left when work stopped, reminiscent of a deserted film set or a boom and bust mining town.
The abandoned town was subsequently used as a military training facility during the second world war, the completed buildings were utilised as barrack blocks for soldiers. There was a grandiose plan during 2002 to develop the site for tourism with a 3000 bed hotel and two golf courses but it never got off the ground. Instead the ghostly facility remains something of a white elephant, a legacy of past social trends.
Nowadays, the abandoned town is used for outdoor events, festivals, rallies and even the the odd film set. See the Google location map below. Turn right off the TF1 motorway just before you get to the wind power generators and head down towards the coast.
Leprosy is actually one of the oldest recorded diseases. It is a chronic infectious disease that attacks the nervous system, particularly the nerves of the hands, feet and face. Sufferers feel no pain in these areas and are thus likely to injure themselves without realising it.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates there are 830,000 cases of the disease worldwide. Today it is only prevalent in poverty-stricken areas of in Asia, Africa and Latin America.