The Lost Jungle Palaces of African Dictator Joseph Mobutu

At the height of his power, Mobuto had replicas of the French palace of Versailles and the Chinese forbidden city built in his hometown, far in the remote north of the country (Zaire). As well as a Coca Cola factory, an airport large enough to accommodate a Concorde jet, and a nuclear bunker that could fit up to 500 people.

In the collapse of Mobuto’s regime around 1997, the palaces – and indeed much of Gbadolite – was abandoned to the looting of mutinous Congolese troops. But the structures of the palaces – and presumably the bunker and other buildings – still remain, alone in the middle of the Congolese jungle.

–Richard Stupart