File image: Athens. Independent UK.

CAPE TOWN - There are establishments all over the world which took several billions of rands to build. However, these projects are now the most expensive white elephants which are no longer in use. 

Take a look at 5 of the most infamous and expensive white elephants in history. 


1. Olympic facilities, Athens, Greece

    Cost: R114.4 billion

 File image: Athens. Independent UK. 

The Greek government splurged R89.3 billion to prepare for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. This is worth R114.4 billion in today’s money. Post-olympic games, most of the venues remain empty and unoccupied. Meanwhile, the country remains on the edge of bankruptcy. The facilities reportedly helped to bring down the Greek economy. 

2. UK Navy aircraft carriers

    Cost: R99.2 billion
        File image: HMS Queen Elizabeth. Independent UK. 

The British Navy commissioned two new aircraft carriers which costs R99.2 billion, combined. This is reportedly more than double its original estimates. The first carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth launched to fanfare in 2016.

The second, HMS Prince of Wales is still being built. 

Yet, they have both been labeled as  "a grotesque waste of money". Both UK Navy ships were designed to carry 40 US military aircraft. However, only 14 has been ordered and the price of the ships have increased. 

Equipment has been cut back on the carriers. This means that it cannot carry as many weapons or fly as far as originally intended. 

3. Naypyidaw, Myanmar

    Cost: R63.5 billion

         File image: Naypyitaw. (Reuters). 

The new capital of Myanmar, Naypyidaw was built at a cost of R63.5 billion by the military dictatorship of Myanmar. Naypyidaw was built over a 10 year period, ending 2012. 

It features large public buildings and a safari park. However, it is considered a ghost town as it lacks residents. Although official figures report that population to consist of 1 million, the actual number of residents is close to zero. 

4. Palace of the Parliament, Bucharest, Romania

    Cost: R49.5 billion
        File image: Palace of the Parliament. (Reuters). 

Palace of the Parliament, a project by dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu was built in 1984 and completed in 1997. It cost Rome R49.5 billion. Despite thousands of people who had died while building the structure, work continued following Ceaușescu's execution in 1989. 

The palace stretches over millions of square feet. Today, only 30% of the building is in use and the heating bill alone costs R76.2 million. 

5. World Cup stadiums, Brazil

    Cost: R38.1 billion 
         File image: World Cup stadium. (Reuters). 

Brazil has had its fair share of Soccer World Cup white elephants. A total of 12 stadiums were built at a cost of R38.1 billion for the 2014 World Cup. 

Only a few years have passed since the tournament yet most of these high maintenance venues remain either empty and underused or have been thoughtlessly repurposed. The Estádio Nacional in the country's capital Brasília for instance is currently being used as a bus depot.

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