• Photoreport

As-salâm ‘aleïkoum Ordos // China

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Drenched in sunlight, the mosque of Ordos gives the same impression as the city that surrounds it – it is waiting.

The mosque is brand new and has been built with cubism and minimalism as the dominant aesthetics in the heart of the most famous Chinese “ghost town”: the district of Kangbashi, a surprisingly large architectural project born from the arid soil of Inner Mongolia in the west of China, surrounded by mining operations seeking coal and rare earth elements.

After pushing through a few doors, it is the Imam himself who will welcome you with a shared cup of tea. From the Hui minority, he is the spiritual leader of a place of worship where no crowd can ever be found, where prayer rugs are a seldom seen sight.
Betting on the future, the new town of Kangbashi doesn’t hide its ambitions and expects that soon it will find the spark that would make it to the “new Shanghai”.

Located in the heart of the ancient empire of Genghis Khan, buildings, stadiums, museums, hospitals and new highways have stood waiting since the project started in 2003, expecting to receive the 1 million souls intended for them . Yet only 20,000 people inhabit these buildings and prices of the real estate here continue their slow decline.

In the end, the striking mirage of Ordos could disappear as suddenly as it appeared, swept away by the winds of the Mongolian steppes.

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