Abandoned buildings spread out through the world offer an insight to deep history in many cases. Spooky places around the world like ghost towns have been long forgotten all over the world. Their reasons are varied whether it’s valuable minerals that ran dry or some sort of disaster. The history can be felt in these places and are fascinating. Imagine the feeling of being in an abandoned building with the natural elements taking it over, trees pushing their way through broken windows. You can feel the wind blowing through halls and the creeks of the old building with it’s story. There is sadness and beauty in abandoned places sometimes, often with a strong vibration of the history. Abandoned cities, villages and work places are strewn all over the world. Each has their story which is often tragic and nobody dares to rebuild out of some strange respect or perhaps fear.
It was the petroleum replacing coal that turned Hashima Island into “ghost island.” Close to Nagasaki, it was a populated island from 1887 to 1974. Families made this their home and worked to extract coal which was a Mitsubishi project. In it’s hay day, Mitsubishi built Japan’s first concrete buildings in 1916. The workers were recruited by force to build the concrete building from all areas of Asia. It served as apartment for the coal workers as well as protection against typhoons. They were taking coal from the sea floor until the mind closed in 1974 which is the reason it is called Ghost Island today. In 2009, it became possible to visit Hashima to observe this abandoned island.
Photo Credits: Jordy Meow
San Zhi, Taiwan
Big dreams for a resort development in the 80’s were happening in San Zhi but after many fatal accidents occurred, the project and place was abandoned. On the norther coast of Taiwan, San Zhi began a futuristic resort with pod-style buildings as part of a tourist attraction. They were color coded based on their location within the resort. It never opened it’s doors but today it’s possible to tour the area.
Pripyat is one of the creepiest abandoned cities in the world as it was the city that house those who worked at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. Pripyat sits in the zone of alienation in norther Ukraine and was abandoned in 1986 due to the Chernobyl nuclear explosion. At the time, 50,000 people lived there but it was evacuated within two days. The contamination is still said to be high but you can enter the Exclusion Zone. Documents are necessary but not difficult to obtain and the city is bordered with guards and police. The city of Chernobyl offers accommodations which is within the Exclusion Zone. If you go, they check you for radiation contamination and guards will sweep it from you if there’s a detection.
Photo Credits: Roland Verant, Vienna
The ghost town of Kadykchan was built for coal miners and their family during World War II. It was built by gulag prisoners during the war. The dissolution of the Soviet Union happened about the same time six men lost their lives in a coal mine explosion there. Coal mining was becoming unprofitable and it was closed in 1996. The 12,000 residents were subsidized by the government to move. The town evacuated and became depopulated entirely by 2012.
Photo Credits: Taringa
Centralia, United States
A Pennsylvanian ghost town was slowly abandoned starting from the coal mine being closed and abandoned. People stayed but eventually fell victim to a mine fire below the ground. The fire burned underground that eventually lead it to the abandoned coal mines below the town. It burnt for decades which causes adverse health effects for residents that remained there. Carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide along with a lack of oxygen in the air caused people to abandon this area. Finally, in 1984 the Congress came up with $42 million to assist residents in relocating. Some families decided to stay despite the warnings from experts. Most took the buyout and moved on.
Photo Credits: Thisisbossi on Flickr
Kowloon Walled City, Hong Kong
The Walled City of Kowloon once had a population of 35,000 people in the 80’s. It was a vibrant city known for it’s brothels, opium dens, cocaine parlors, food courts, secretive factories and dog meat as a meal. The streets were illuminated in order to offer light in the day. So many modifications had been made that the city became monolithic with the only rules being electricity must be provided and building could be no more than fourteen stories high. At the time it was demolished, 50,000 people lived there. One of the most densely populated areas in the world at 1,923,077/km² was demolished in 1984. Residents resettled elsewhere and a park was eventually put there to replace it in 1994.
Photo Credits: Greg Girard and Ian Lambot
In West Central France, the village of Oradour-sur-Glan was destroyed in World War II. The German Waffen-SS company murdered 642 residents was destroyed on June 10, 1944, when 642 of its inhabitants were murdered by a German Waffen-SS company. Today, there are household items strewn on the streets and the village is a memorial for the victims who lost their life.
Photo Credits: Curreyuk on Flickr
The ghost town of Kolmannskuppe in Namibia was a small mining village. It was developed in 1908 due to discovery of diamonds and was the place workers lived. It served as a shelter from sand storms coming off the Namib Desert. The town was fully equipped with a hospital, power station, theater and casino. It boasted the first X-Ray Station in the Southern Hemisphere also. After World War I, the price is diamonds dramatically crashed and operations moved elsewhere. By 1956, it was completely abandoned but is now partly restored and a popular tourist area which is run in part by De Beers.
Photo Credits: Geoftheref/Flickr
Two saltpeter refineries were founded in 1872, the Guillermo Wendell Nitrate Extraction Company and the Peru Nitrate Company. These companies built bussling towns as they grew at rapid speed and were designed in a lovely English style.
Economic collapse occurred during the late 20’s, also known as the Great Depression. The model of the companies lost value due to synthesis of ammonia, created by Fritz Haber and Carl Bosch which lead to production of fertilizers. Both of the companies and towns were abandoned during the 60’s and 70’s. In 2005, they were declared World Heritage sites by UNESCO.
Photo credits to their respective owners Dailymail
The town of Wittenoom in the region of Pilbara in Western Australia was once the largest town in the region. It was completely shut down in 1966 due to major health concerns from nearly asbestos mines. Nowadays, there are a mere eight residents there with no municipal services. They no longer acknowledge the town with a name and was removed from road maps. They still have roads to the contaminated areas but it is said, they will soon be closed off for good.
Photo Credits: Velden/Flickr
Agdam and it’s ghost town status is due to the product of the Nagorno-Karabakh War. After heavy fighting in 1993, Agdam was captured. There were 30,000 residents at the time and they all fled out of the city. The town was destroyed by Armenian forces and through time was looted, leaving it secluded and with almost no remnants to prove it ever existed. The mosque in the town still stands but it dilapidated.
Photo Credits: Karabakhblog/Flickr
Varosha, a quarter in the town of Famagusta once stood as the most popular destination in the world for the wealthy during the 70’s. Big stars such as Brigette Bardot, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. High rises were built and high end hotels were constructed to meet the demands of the huge amount of tourists vacationing there.
The Turkish Invasion of Cyprus saw the end to this flourishing tourist spot in 1974. Everyone fled the city in hopes to come back once the Turkish left. The resort was fenced off by Turkish military and in 1984, the UN resolved to prohibit anyone from resettling. This stunning location sits guarded and fenced off.
Bodie State Park, California
Bodie was once a mining camp in the early 1900’s. Once the gold ran out, the people left. It’s been a National Historic Landmark since 1962.
Please let us know of your thoughts, if you know of any other abandoned ghost town, do let us know.
Ahmad in a nutshell is product of passion, enthusiasm and adventure. He loves to write around anything that involves behaviors, art, business and what makes people happier.