Abandoned places have something appealing in their mystery, don’t you think? Even the decaying and the derelict has their own form of beauty that cannot be found in structures still intact.
Aside from beauty, abandoned places also mirror the human spirit – stubborn, unyielding, and willing to stand up against the test of time and the elements. So, what are some of the most famous abandoned places in the world today?
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An absolute ghost town ever since the catastrophe of the Chernobyl incident. Pripyat in Ukraine is a town not far away from the Nuclear Plant disaster that made thousands of people flee their homes and is now an extraordinary sight and will be for hundreds of years to come. It is possible to visit the area with very special gear organized by some tour agencies. For us, looking at the city in pictures is enough! But, tours are getting more and more popular with visitors wishing to experience, for themselves, the horrendous disaster that struck on the 26th April 1986, where 31 people died but many within contact with the deadly radiation.
Machu Picchu, Peru
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Arguably one of the most beautiful and stunning places on Earth to visit today. This area has been abandoned for roughly 500 years now but was once home to the Inca Elite, Tamputoco. Many debates are resonating as to why it was deserted in the first place, but some argue that the last known rebel was captured, Tupac Amaru. However, Machu Picchu is undoubtedly one of the archaeological wonders of the world, not only because it was built on a hill with difficult access, but also because it is one of the urban projects that blend seamlessly with the surrounding natural landscape.
Gunkanjima Islands, Japan
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The James bond tribute in the Skyfall movie, to this lost, deteriorating facility with a shady past. Also known as Hashima Island, the island was deserted after a decline in coal mining needs, in 1974 having been in operation starting 1887. It was once home to the offshore coal mining workers for almost a century in dreadful conditions, where over a thousand died, and now to date has been left in ruins. It is still possible to visit the area, although the government has put sanctions on small groups as it could in theory crumble down at any time now.
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Diamonds are not forever. Once home to one of the busiest diamond industries in the early 20th Century, it soon got depleted of its rarest, most prestigious, and valuable stone – diamonds. It was totally deserted in 1958 after its depletion in the ’30s. This place had diamonds literally waiting to be picked up from the sand, it was that easy. So naturally, interests were high. The now ghost town sand desert has been reclaimed by its rightful owner, sand. Which perhaps will not share the same greed as humans.
Centralia, Pennsylvania, USA
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The mine fire that has been burning for 50 years, is one of the saddest incidents that occurred back a century ago. The area was once home to a bustling mining center, housing over 1200 of its people. It was also the home to a rich deposit of anthracite coal and the town was incorporated after mining began in the 1850s. Once the fire erupted underneath the city, temperatures of over 900 degrees Fahrenheit were recorded. Residents started to have health problems and eventually, the government put a stop to it, evacuating all but 7 left residents. The fire presumably can burn, if unattended for another 100 years.
Photo by Ricardo A. Palta Rodriguez
James Thomas Humberstone founded Humberstone in 1862 and backed by mainly British investments. Due to the abundance of sodium nitrate in the area, miners built 200 plants to mine and process the material. Sodium nitrate was popular due to the manufacturing of explosives and fertilizers, transforming agriculture in both America and Europe and collapsing the whole industry. Saltpeter was so important to the Chileans that they were prepared to go to war over it. And they did. It is now a ghost town in the Atacama and is now considered a national monument protected by UNESCO since 2005. Nearby citizens refuse to go back to the area, thinking that it was once home to the supernatural.
Photo credit to incredible-pictures.com
Who knew in such a beautiful country? Craco is a ghost town and comune in the province of Matera, in the southern Italian region of Basilicata. It was abandoned towards the end of the 20th century, due to pipework that was put on having failed, and caused the town to go into a dramatic landslide. The village sits on a cliff 400 meters off of the ground. With panoramic views, the city center was easily defended from the average barbarian horde back in its day. People can still visit the stunningly beautiful town from May to October for one of the 6 different festivals hosted there.
The Salton Riviera, California
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The Salton Sea is one of California’s strangest landmarks. Once a bustling resort town, it’s now a wasteland that looms precariously on the verge of potential catastrophe. It all started with a mistake in 1905. Now, one can find thousands upon thousands of fish corpses, empty homes, and a smell to remember. When the river breached the canal, it flooded a dry lake bed that would come to be known as the Salton Sea. The State of California is trying to reinstate wildlife there before the playa carries off far too many dust particles in the air affecting populated areas nearby.
Wonderland Amusement Park, China
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An incredible 120-acre land was to become the host of over 20M people to inhabit the area nearby, 20 minutes drive away from Beijing. Alas, in 1998, everything came to a halt. Some sources said that the area was haunted and others that they had found mass graveyards. However, the truth is, the money ran out when piles and piles of debts were the only things leftover. The Cinderella and sleeping beauty, influenced theme park by Thai-Chinese property Developer Reignwood Group, the same group with the distributing rights to Red Bull. After Talks between Disneyland Hong Kong, a contract came up a year later, and eventually, the theme park came to fruition in June 2016.
Ordos City, Mongolia
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Officially, Ordos is China’s largest ghost town after being flooded with cash. In the early 2000s, a coal-mining boom led the local government to throw money at urban development in the hopes of creating a new epicenter of culture, economy, and politics. Unfortunately, high property taxes and poor construction scarred people away from settling in the Ordos. In 2016, some 100,000 people lived and worked there; leaving the city two-thirds empty. The estimated population was estimated at 1 Million but later dropped to 300,000 only. Perhaps that made things tricky financially speaking.