Craco: A Town Frozen in Time
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Craco old town (Matera Province, Basilicata) was abandoned in 1963 due to recurring landslides. Between the years of 1959 and 1972, a series of landslides severely damaged portions of the village, making them uninhabitable. In response to the danger posed by these landslides, the entire population of 1,800 residents relocated to Craco Peschiera in 1963, leaving the once-thriving town completely abandoned.
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Despite the tragedy that befell the town, Craco has not been forgotten. In 2010, it was added to the watch list of the World Monuments Fund, recognizing its historical significance and the importance of preserving what remains of its unique cultural heritage.
In addition to its cultural significance, Craco has also served as a popular location for filming movies throughout the years. It has been featured in numerous films, including The Passion of The Christ (2004) by Mel Gibson, La lupa (1953) by Alberto Lattuada, Christ Stopped at Eboli (1979) by Francesco Rosi, The Sun Also Shines at Night (1990) by Paolo and Vittorio Taviani, Quantum of Solace (2008) by Marc Forster, The Nativity Story (2006) by Catherine Hardwicke, and many more.
Today, despite its abandoned state, Craco remains a fascinating destination for tourists and filmmakers alike, who come to explore its eerie, almost otherworldly landscape and capture the haunting beauty of this once-great town.
Exploring the abandoned ghost town of Craco
Craco is a hilltop town located in the Basilicata region of southern Italy, with a history dating back to the 8th century. Over the centuries, it was ruled by various powers, including the Normans, the Angevins, and the Aragonese, before eventually becoming part of the Kingdom of Italy in the 19th century.
The town’s strategic position atop a rocky hill made it an important defensive stronghold throughout its history, and its narrow, winding streets and tall buildings give it a unique, almost labyrinthine character. In its heyday, Craco was a thriving agricultural center, with a population of around 2,500 people.
Today, however, the town is completely abandoned, its buildings crumbling and its streets empty. Visitors to Craco can explore the town’s eerie, ghostly atmosphere and marvel at the haunting beauty of its ruins. Despite the damage caused by landslides and neglect over the years, many of the town’s landmarks remain intact, including the castle, the church of San Nicola, and the palazzo Carbone.
In recent years, efforts have been made to preserve what remains of Craco’s historic architecture and cultural heritage. The town’s inclusion on the World Monuments Fund’s watch list has helped to raise awareness of its importance, and restoration work has begun on several key buildings and landmarks.
While Craco may be a haunting and melancholic place, it is also a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and a reminder of the impermanence of all things. As visitors wander its deserted streets and contemplate its ruins, they are reminded of the fragility of life and the fleeting nature of human achievement.
And some evocative images from Flickr:
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