Here is a top ten of abandoned cities/villages. The fascination for and beauty of such places, frozen in time, taken over by nature is beyond imagination. We have tried to select places all over the world so try and visit the ones closest to you.
1. Pripyat. Ukraine. (abandoned since 1986)
Everyone knows of the Chernobyl disaster in 1986. The town of Pripyat was so contaminated with radiation that it still remains unfit for human life, an abandoned dead city frozen in time. The failed reactor has been entombed in a “sarcophagus” but the once thriving town will be stuck in the Soviet 80s for a long time to come. However, some wildlife has returned to the area, for example wolves hunting among the buildings and the strangest amusement park that opened while the city was already being evacuated.
2. Sanzhi. Taiwan. (abandoned since 1980)
This modern village was initially built as a holiday resort. However, after numerous fatal accidents while constructing it, this futuristic masterpiece was abandoned before it would receive its first guest. Many urban legends, actually facilitated by the government surround the place. Some say that it was doomed to fail because it was built on top of a burial ground, others believe that a dragon statue was destroyed while working on it making the place a cursed one. There is no chance of resurrecting the project or developing the area because of the growing legends.
3. Craco. Italy. (abandoned since 1963)
This medieval town was to serve as some sort of fortress against intruders, hence the position on top of the cliffs. However, towards the end of the 19th century the town faced several economical problems, because of the very position that had allowed it to prosper in the past, and was constantly threatened by earthquakes and landslides and then war. So it was gradually abandoned in favour of a new founded town in the valley. The original village of Craco in its magnificent decay remains the perfect place for exploration of old houses and old churches.
4. Kolmanskop. Namibia (abandoned since 1954)
What was once a flourishing diamond mining community is now a desert ghost town, houses invaded by sand. Originally built by the Germans, it was architecturally close to a German town, with a theatre and the first tram system in Africa. After the miners moved on, the desert reclaimed the grounds. The sand of the Namib desert filled the houses and erased the streets and most signs of civilization except for the buildings of course, creating a real life master piece of the avant-garde.
5. Hashima Island. Japan. (abandoned since 1974)
This small remote island features one of the first large concrete buildings, a product of the industrial revolution in Japan. It was the home of many coal miners, and was used as a base for retrieving coal from the bottom of the sea. Reminiscent of a battle ship it also helped protect the workers and the coal from hurricanes that are common in the area. Having reached an incredible density of population even for Japanese standards it was abandoned when petroleum replaced coal and the mine was shut down. This post-apocalyptic creation is now open to tourists who want to explore the GhostIsland.
6. Oradour-sur-Glane. France. (abandoned since 1944)
This village was completely destroyed during the Second World War. When the Nazi troops invaded the village, they completely destroyed it without any given reason, murdering 642 people, men, women, and children. The burned down buildings and cars stand still and silent in time, a memorial to one of the many massacres of this war, to the villagers who lost their lives and to the monstrosity and destruction that follows a war. The martyr village and its tragic streets are open to visitors.
7. Spinalonga. Greece. (abandoned since 1962)
The island of Spinalonga, located near Crete, originally served as a fortress during Venetian times. However, it is most famous for serving as a Leper Colony in the 20th century, one of the last active colonies in Europe. The entrance to Spinalonga is particularly famous, a tunnel known as “Dante’s Gate”. Equally famous is the main street, known as the “Boulevard of Pain”. The community was provided with food, water and medicines by a small boat. The isolated village-island along with the mass graves and abandoned cemeteries is still haunted by the pain and remains untouched by time. This unoccupied island can be visited any day from Elounda.
Bodie is the traditional American Ghost Town as expected to be. This town was built as a result of the gold rush and was home to many gold diggers. 8,000 feet up in the Sierra Nevada it was one of the largest cities in California. The saloons on the main street, the churches, hospitals, the sherfif’s office, and even the Chinatown remain an impressive sight despite their decadence. After hope was abandoned the city was abandoned as well, a giant breathing museum to what life was like back in time.
9. Kayakoy. Turkey. (abandoned since 1923)
This small town in the middle of Turkey was inhabited by Orthodox Greeks until after the Greco-Turkish war. When the treaty was signed and the population exchange was agreed on, all inhabitants of Kayakoy were forced to leave and move to Greece. Shortly after, the village museum experienced a degree of destruction especially when it comes to the once magnificent churches which now serve as museums. The whole ghost village is under protection of the UNESCO.
10. Balestrino. Italy. (abandoned since 1953)
Balestrino seems to have been built before the 11th century and was then owned by a Benedictine Abbey. In the late 19th century, this coast of Italy was struck by a number of earthquakes and several villages were destroyed. There are no records of Balestrino being affected, but since there are no records to explain the abandonment it must have been due to “geographical instability”. Taken over by nature it is one of the most impressive medieval sites today.
(we don’town any of the pictures, so if you do let us know and you will be given credit. 😉 )