25 Beautiful But Abandoned Places In The World

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When nature reclaims what was once hers, the result is often hauntingly beautiful. These eerie but beautiful abandoned places were once full of life but are now empty, their halls resonating with their stories and their long corridors overgrown and abandoned. These 25 beautiful abandoned places around the world show the hidden stories and surreal beauty behind them. 

Pripyat, Ukraine

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There is a city where time stopped in 1986. Pripyat was a place full of life, the city where the workers of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant lived. However, when disaster struck, it was abandoned overnight. You can see the abandoned Ferris wheel in the amusement park and classrooms still full of books, a sad reminder of what once it used to be.

Bodie, California, USA

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Located in the wilderness of the West, Bodie is a typical gold-mining ghost town. The town was abandoned in the late 1800s, a then-thriving place with miners and their families. After the depletion of the mineable materials, people began to leave. Everything is just as it was left, from bottles on the bar to a car left in a garage.

Hashima Island, Japan

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This small island off Nagasaki used to be packed with coal miners. Now, it is empty, with the crumbling concrete buildings creating a haunted atmosphere. When you look at the sea surrounding it, it is hard to believe that a booming mining community turned into a desolate, ghostly island. Visiting here feels like uncovering a secret, a lost chapter of industrial history.

Craco, Italy

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Craco is a medieval town situated on a hill in southern Italy that looks like it is straight out of a fairy tale. Sadly, due to recurrent natural disasters such as landslides and earthquakes, the city was abandoned in the 20th century. The lonely streets and ruins of houses, temples, and plazas are sure to give you an eerie feeling.

Kolmanskop, Namibia

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This is a must-visit site for photo lovers. Kolmanskop was a small and quite rich settlement famous for its diamond rush. As the diamonds depleted, the people left, and the desert claimed it back. Now, you can take a walk among the houses filled with sand, with dunes falling out through doors and windows.

Humberstone and Santa Laura, Chile

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Far into the Atacama Desert lie the twin ghost towns of Humberstone and Santa Laura, the remains of Chile’s saltpeter mining industry. These towns were bustling communities from the late 1800s until the industry collapsed in the 1960s. Despite being mostly abandoned, the theater, market, and, yes, the swimming pool are still there to remind visitors of the old days. 

Kayaköy, Turkey

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Nestled in the mountains of southwest Turkey, Kayaköy was abandoned after the Greco-Turkish War in the 1920s. All that is left now are remnants of over 500 homes, two churches, and schools that speak of a once-thriving community. As you walk the cobblestone streets, you can feel the weight of history and the stories of the families who once called this place home. 

Glenrio, Texas and New Mexico, USA

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Situated right on the border of Texas and New Mexico, Glenrio was once a roadside boomtown that thrived on the traffic of Route 66. With the advent of the Interstate Highway System, the town was bypassed, and its businesses closed. Today, you can see the deserted motels, gas stations, and diners that once served eager travelers.

Varosha, Cyprus

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Once a glamorous beach resort in Famagusta, Varosha is a time capsule of the early 1970s, fenced off and abandoned following the Turkish invasion of Cyprus. It was a hotspot for celebrities and tourists. Peering through the fences, you can see the sandy beaches that were once packed with sunbathers are now empty and guarded. 

Ross Island, India

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Ross Island is home to the ruins of a former penal colony under British rule. In 1941, an earthquake severely damaged the island, which was later occupied by the Japanese during World War II. Today, the jungles overgrow the beautiful structures of the colonial era, such as the church, the governor’s house, and the barracks.

Oradour-sur-Glane, France

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This small village in France stands as a poignant memorial to the horrors of World War II. German soldiers committed a massacre in 1944 and destroyed the town, deliberately leaving it in ruins, as an example of war crime aftermath. Now, Oradour-sur-Glane is kept in exactly the same condition it was in at that time: the buildings burned out, and the cars rusted.

Fordlandia, Brazil

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Fordlandia was Henry Ford’s attempt to establish an industrial town in the late 1920s that would provide rubber for his automobile tires. The project flopped due to management issues and the local climate’s unsuitability for rubber growing. Now, it is an eerie site with American-style homes and infrastructure being slowly swallowed by the jungle. 

Beelitz-Heilstätten, Germany

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Just outside Berlin lies Beelitz-Heilstätten, a sprawling hospital complex that treated tuberculosis patients in the 1950s. One of its patients was Adolf Hitler, who was treated during WWI. Abandoned after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the hospital is now dilapidated, with paint peeling off, roofs collapsing, and nature reclaiming the buildings.

Shicheng, China (The Underwater City)

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Shicheng was submerged in 1959 when the Qiandao Lake was built as a reservoir for a hydroelectric power station. It is amazingly preserved underwater and has distinct carvings and statues. The exploration of the city, a 1,400-year-old section of the Ming Dynasty with courtyards, arches, roads, and even stairs gives you a unique view of life in the city.

Salton Sea, California, USA

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The Salton Sea was once the playground of the rich and famous, studded with marinas, speedboat races, and beach bacchanals. It became a poisonous wasteland due to increasing salinity and pollution, driving companies and households away. The ruined buildings stand today, rotting piers and the skeletons of fish carpet the shores.

Plymouth, Montserrat

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In 1997, when the Soufrière Hills volcano erupted, covering Plymouth in ash and mud, the town in the Caribbean became a ghost town. A lively Montserrat capital was transformed into a modern Pompeii. Half-buried buildings and streets strewn with volcanic debris give the impression of a labyrinthine city frozen in time.

Centralia, Pennsylvania, USA

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Centralia looks as if it came out of a horror movie and is said to have inspired the “Silent Hill” movie. This once-vibrant town was abandoned after a coal mine fire started in 1962 and is still burning underground. Smoke and steam leak out from the cracks of its vacant streets; the abandoned buildings remind us of its past.

Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, Belarus

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Although Pripyat is by far the most well-known town in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, which covers more than 2,600 square kilometers and includes small villages and towns affected by the 1986 nuclear meltdown, wildlife now thrives in the area. This shows how nature can rebound in the absence of human interference, making it a profound place for reflection and exploration.

Agdam, Azerbaijan

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Agdam used to be a vibrant city of more than 40,000 people; it was dubbed the “Hiroshima of the Caucasus.” During the Nagorno-Karabakh War in the early 1990s, Agdam was left unattended and eventually deserted. At present, the city is nothing but a vast ruin, with abandoned streets and views of structures and homes reduced to shells.

Spinalonga, Greece

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Originally a Venetian fortress, Spinalonga was later turned into a leper colony from 1903 to 1957. It was one of the last European leprosariums. With a better understanding of the disease and effective treatment, the facility was downsized and eventually abandoned. The lepers’ houses, hospitals, and churches have survived, serving as a testimony to the isolated but still somehow connected community.

Wittenoom, Australia

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Once a bustling asbestos mining settlement, Wittenoom is a dire consequence of an industrial disaster. In the 1960s, its mines were closed due to health hazards, and the town was gradually abandoned. Following the discovery of lethally dangerous residues in the form of asbestos fibers, Wittenoom was declared a contaminated area and closed to the public. 

Kennecott, Alaska, USA

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Elias National Park, Kennecott, is an abandoned mining camp that used to host a vibrant community of copper miners and their families. The city was eventually deserted in the 1930s after the ore was exhausted. Presently, you can gaze at the distant mill building barracks and even some personal belongings left as they were. 

The Maunsell Sea Forts, United Kingdom

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These eerie military forts were constructed in the Thames and Mersey estuaries during World War II to help defend the United Kingdom. After the war, they were decommissioned and left to the mercy of the sea. Today, they stand as decaying symbols of resilience, with their metal bodies slowly being claimed by the sea.

Bannerman Castle, New York, USA

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Bannerman Castle is an early 20th-century warehouse hidden as a Scottish-style castle. Built by Francis Bannerman to store his collection of military surplus, the castle was partially destroyed by an explosion in 1920 and further damaged by fire in 1969. Now stabilized but still in ruins, the castle offers tours that display its unique history and dramatic architecture.

Imber Village, United Kingdom

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Imber is a Wiltshire village that was evacuated in 1943 to use as an exercise ground for American troops during WWII. However, the villagers were never able to return, and the village was permanently abandoned. Today, Imber stands as a poignant British military training site, with the village’s original structures and subsequent military buildings creating an unusual mix of old and new. 


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