Viivikonna, Estonia – Ghost Town
Viivikonna is probably Estonia’s most famous ghost town. Once a mining town of a few thousand people, its population has since dropped to some ninety permanent residents. It’s not really known how many people lived here at its peak, but it is certain that the current residents include a few families of pensioners who have lived here for decades and some stray cats.
Viivikonna was a mining town during Soviet times. After WWII, Nazi war prisoners were forced to work in construction in many parts of Estonia, and they built most of Viivikonna in the Stalinist style. The town was finished in 1955, but its downfall began soon afterwards in 1974 after the closing of the mine. People moved away in search of jobs and better opportunities.
Viivikonna lost its status as a municipality in 1993 when Estonia regained independence, and at the beginning of the 2000s, its running water and electricity were cut off, scaring away quite a few residents. The ones who stayed behind became creative with finding alternative water and electricity sources and got really into heavy metal. By that I mean many of them stole construction metal from the abandoned buildings to sell as scrap.