Johannesburg is definitely not the only metropolitan city that is guilty of abandoned landmarks, but unfortunately Jozi has a long list of unused and deteriorating buildings which were once considered architectural masterpieces.
It seems as if Johannesburg spends a lot more time looking toward the future, with new high-rise buildings going up on the regular, than focusing on and restoring its past. The following examples are just a few of Joburg’s forgotten landmarks.
The Carlton Hotel
When it comes to abandoned hotels in Johannesburg, it is hard to pick just one… but the story of The Carlton Hotel is truly disappointing. The very first Carlton hotel opened in 1906. It was a marvel for its time, with a telephone in every room. This building was demolished in 1963, and a new Carlton was opened a block away in 1972, with an improvement in the form of 30 floors and 670 rooms! Both Carltons played host to celebrities such as Mick Jagger, Whitney Houston and Margaret Thatcher.
The Carlton closed in 1998, and lies dormant to this day.
Alhambra Theatre & Ster City
The Alhambra Theatre was built in 1924 in New Doorfontein, and has an enigmatic neorococo style to it. The red and cream building has been in disuse since 1994, and although it is still intact, the building is slowly deteriorating.
Just around the corner, you’ll find Ster City. Ster City was a major hit in the 60s, and the cinema complex was considered a modern masterpiece of its time, even boasting a 1000-seater theatre. Now Ster City is boarded up and abandoned, a true pity for such a famous Joburg landmark.
From an architectural standpoint, it is a shame to see so many of Joburg’s structural gems boarded up and in disuse.
Over the years Johannesburg’s tourism industry has slowly gone from bad to worse, with tourists heading directly to safaris once landing at OR Tambo, instead of exploring the famous concrete jungle. Johannesburg’s pleading tourism slogan of ‘Stay One More Day’ says it all.
Could this have something to do with the lack of care taken in preserving and restoring the city’s landmarks?
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