Homeland's Skyscraper Slum

Homeland Tower Of David

Even if you don't watch the show, currently in its third season, you'll find Caracas' Tower of David horrifyingly intriguing.

But first, if you aren't watching Homeland, start. It's one of the best shows on right now, and the gripping topic (bi-polar CIA agent tracks, and sleeps with, US Marine-cum-terrorist) twists every week like a contortionist. (Or, uh, like Carrie and Brody.)

The past episode shows the former Marine, Nicholas Brody, awaken after recovering from a gunshot wound in a wall-less room high above a city. We learn he's in Caracas, Venezuela, in the Tower of David, a skyscraper which was abandoned during construction in 1994 and is now filled with squatters, and a 'doctor' who has treated him.

Homeland Tower Of David

In reality, the scene was shot in Puerto Rico, in an abandoned building 10-storeys up. Also in reality is the fact the Tower of David stands in Caracas, filled with 2,500 squatters. There are bodegas, 'dentists' and hair salons, as well as a communal electrical grid and water, that come through an aqueduct. And although the tower more or less function outside the jurisdiction of the local authorities, the residents have created their own set of rules.

And so, many people without homes have moved in and renovated their spaces, in some cases, creating what looks like an almost-complete apartment. But there are still floors without walls up and down the 28 floors which are inhabited, and there isn't a lift at all.

Inside The Tower From Vocativ Video

Construction on the building, officially known as the Centro Financiero Confinanzas, began in the early 1990s, and was financed by David Brillembourg. He died in 1993, and the country's banking crisis hit in 1994, and work on it stopped. Squatters arrived in 2007, and today, it is more or less overlooked by the government, despite its notoriety.

The 45-story building was original funded in the early 90s by financier David Brillembourg, for whom the tower is named. He died in 1993, and when Venezuela's banking crisis hit in 1994, the building—which was half-finished, lacking elevators, installed utilities, and guard rails—the government took it over. Thus it sat until 2007, when a former gang member turned pastor led its first occupants into the building.

Tower Of David Rhanxerox

Click here to watch a short video about the Tower of David.

Click here to read about Skyfall's Abandoned Island.