Asbestos mine

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At the abandoned asbestos mine in Troodos (the largest of the chrysotile asbestos reserves in Europe), a world that has been thriving for decades, has now declined to nothing but ruins and ghosts of the past. The expanse of 13 square kilometers, at 1500 meters above sea level now hosts signs of abandonment and others of a new life, passing through a transitional era.


The asbestos of Cyprus used to be of great value, as it was widely used since ancient times. In 1904 some of the local communities acquired the privilege of exploiting asbestos. Right after that, the mine was passed through the hands of a series of different companies, until it finally came under the authority of the company “Cypriot Asbestos mine LTD”. Most of the workers would live in temporary constructions around the area of the mine, which later evolved into permanent residences, thus leading to the development of a community with schools, hospital and shops.


After 1950, the automation of the mine begun with the utilization of large extraction machinery, while from 1963 and onwards, a 9-storey asbestos extrusion plant would begin to operate. This resulted in the decrease of the human workforce, and the abandonment of the nearby community. The operation of the Cyprus Asbestos Mines was profitable until 1982, when the international campaign against the utilization of asbestos led to a radical drop in demand. The mine eventually stopped working, leaving behind a vast expanse of land that was roughly dug up and stripped of all vegetation. After the loss of every living element in the area, and the abandonment of the facilities and the nearby settlement, the area around the mine took on a complete sense of desolation. The remnants of life that are found there today give the impression that one day, everything suddenly ceased to exist.


The plan for the restoration of the deforested area of the mine has already yielded results. Today, in this vast expanse of land, besides the abandoned mine facilities, one can also find the Troodos Geopark Visitors’ Center, and the Troodos Botanical Gardens, as well as an artificial lake, which aims to create a biotope where crater created by excavations once stood.