The village and factory were build to subtract and treat salpeter, and is thus located near the place where the stone containing saltpeter was found, in the middle of the desert. Once the natural saltpeter industry collapsed, due to synthetic fertilisers, the town was deserted, as its only reason for existence stopped. Since then the town has slowly decayed, although more recently the decay has been stopped, and some parts are partially renovated. It is thus a mining town preserved, although the housing for the miners themselves have collapsed and disappeared. But the other housing, the hotel, theatre, grocery store where they had to pay with fichas, as they weren't paid in money, but fiches that could only be spent in the town stores owned by the mine company. Also the factory buildings largely remain. Very well worth a few hours strolling through, in the part near the entrance typical objects used in the town are on display, and there is a decent amount of information also in English.