These Are The Coolest Abandoned Places On Earth – HistoryInOrbit.com

These Are The Coolest Abandoned Places On Earth

November 13, 2018 | Matt


Deserted Places

As the world grows more and more populous, not all parts of the globe are included in that growth. The places on this list have all been forgotten and left to be reclaimed by nature. Some of them are quite eerie, like Kolmanskop. Kolmanskop was a booming diamond mining town near the coast of Namibia. Following WWII, the mines were depleted of their treasures and Kolmanskop became a ghost town.

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The town was named after a transport driver named Johnny Coleman. In the middle of a sand storm, Coleman left his ox-drawn wagon behind, near the settlement that would come to bear his name. The town is, these days, a tourist destination managed by Namibia-De Beers.

Diamonds were discovered there in 1908. It was quickly settled by German miners who became exorbitantly rich. The town boomed, seeing a flurry of construction in the style of a German town. As the diamond supply dwindled after WWII, so, too, did Kolmanskop’s prospects. When an enormous diamond deposit was found to the south, the town was abandoned in 1956.

Chernobyl, Ukraine

In April 1986 the Chernobyl, Ukraine nuclear plant had an explosion, the worst nuclear disaster in history. The conditions still remain unlivable today. Chernobyl is one of the spookiest abandoned places in the world, not only because of what happened there but because of how it looks now.

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The United Nations Development Program launched the Chernobyl Recovery and Development Programme in 2003, in an attempt to recover the areas affected by the disaster. The project is aimed at ameliorating the long-term damage done by the incident, working in support of the Ukrainian government. These days, the surrounding area is densely populated with wildlife. By current estimates, there are now more mammals in the area than there were before the meltdown.

Pripyat, Ukraine

Amusement park in Pripyat as part of the exclusion zone following the Chernobyl disaster. It is now not a place of great cheer. It is a bleak relic of a bygone era, when people could still live in the area, before the nuclear disaster rendered it uninhabitable for human beings.

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Pripyat was founded in 1970, as a “nuclear city.” Nuclear cities were established to serve nearby power plants. Pripyat served the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant and was officially declared to be a city in 1979. When it was evacuated the day after the Chernobyl disaster, it had a population of 49, 360. The city is now totally abandoned. It is currently supervised by the Ministry of Emergencies, which manages the whole Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.

Maunsell Sea Forts, England

Erected during WWII by Britain as a means of defense against air and naval raids should the German forces attempt attacking along the Thames and Mersey rivers.  They were left shortly after the end of WWII in 1950.

Ixigo

The forts, after being decommissioned in the fifties, were eventually put to use in other ways. Most interestingly, they were used for pirate radio broadcasting. One of them is under the management of the officially unrecognized micronation Principality of Sealand. The forts are still occasionally visited, but these days are mostly completely abandoned. Considering the fact that they are alone in the middle of the ocean, it’s understandable that nobody lives there anymore.

Chateau Miranda, Belgium

Chateau de Noisy, formerly known as Chateau Miranda was once a magnificent place in the open country of Belgium. After it was used as a children’s camp for ill children it was given the name Chateau de Noisy.

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The Chateau has remained unoccupied since 1991. Its maintenance costs are too high and the property has failed to attract investors. The family that owns it has since refused to hand over ownership. Vandals and the elements have degraded it significantly, as well as a fire. The Chateau was demolished completely in 2017. Now, it looks extremely creepy and likely haunted. How could it not be?

City Hall Subway Station, New York

A lot more time and artistry went into the design of this particular subway stop because of it’s location, under City Hall. Unfortunately, also because of its location, it was not a very busy stop. As the speed of the trains increased the curved design used at this stop made it no longer viable.

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The track’s curvature only made it useable for trains with five or fewer cars. It has been out of use since December 31 of 1945. It is still sometimes used as a turning loop for the 6 train. As far as abandoned places go, this one is pretty close to home, and reasonably non-terrifying. It is still inhabited, but only by rats.

Tequendama Falls, Colombia

Colombia boasts this magnificent hotel for international visitors who come to see the 157 meter waterfall.

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The falls are 433 feet high, part of the Bogota River about 20 miles southwest of Bogota. Tequendama was one of the first permanent settlements in all of Colombia, founded around 10,000 BCE. It is one of the country’s biggest tourist draws. Remarkably, the falls dry up completely in December. The name means “he who precipitated downward.” The scenery is absolutely beautiful, some of the most striking and photogenic of any tourist destination in the world.

Beelitz, Germany

Tucked away in the forest not too far from Berlin is the Military Hospital of Beelitz, Germany.  Originally used to treat tuberculosis patients until the WWII where it was turned into a military hospital.

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The hospital complex consisted of sixty-odd buildings. It was originally meant to be a sanatorium but was used as a military hospital during the first World War. It was the facility where Hitler mended after being wounded in the Battle of the Somme. Traces of its original decoration lend it a beautiful, if dilapidated, aesthetic. It’s hard to imagine that this place is not home to a ghost or six.

Hashima Island, Japan

Gunkanjima, Battleship Island, or Hashima Island all are names given to this island off the shore a Nagasaki, Japan. Once inhabited by thousands who were in the coal mining business.

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It is actually only one of 505 uninhabited islands in Nagasaki Prefecture. The island is covered in unoccupied concrete buildings and not a single person lives there. The island is a reminder of Japan’s history of forced labor during and before World War II. Its underwater coal mines began operation in 1887, reaching its peak in 1959. The mine was closed in 1974. The island is one of the most iconic abandoned places in the world.

Sydney, Australia

Nature has reclaimed these 102 year old ships. They are a permanent part of Homebush Bay in Sydney, Australia.

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The ship is the SS Ayrfield, originally named the SS Corrimal when it was built in 1911. The Ayrfield was retired in 1972, and now sits in Homebush Bay. Unlike other abandoned ships, the Ayrfield is now a floating forest, populated with multiple trees. It is a significant tourist attraction. After all, it’s hard to take a photo of the ship that isn’t impressive. It’s easy to fantasize about living on such a boat. Wouldn’t be a bad life, as long as you could catch a fish to eat every now and again.

House of Bulgaria’s Communist Party

This was once the House of Bulgaria’s Communist Party. With its UFO similarities the exterior is as eerie as the interior. It is a huge concrete structure that looks much like a flying saucer perched on a pedestal. It looks like the cover of a science fiction novel from the sixties.

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It’s called the Buzludzha Monument, sitting on the peak of Buzludzha Mountain in the Central Balkan Mountains. In 1942, it was renamed “Hadzhi Dimitar,” but is still most commonly called Buzludzha. Some people think that these abandoned pieces of Communist architecture could attract tourism if they were restored. Until then, it, like many Communist monuments, sits disused.

Wonderland, China

China’s Wonderland just outside of Beijing was supposed to be the equivalent to Disneyland.  Unfortunately disagreements over property prices between government and farmers stopped it from ever opening.

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It was originally meant to be the largest amusement park in Asia, but was never completed. Construction began again in 2008, but the project was abandoned. What had been built was totally demolished in 2013, making way for a shopping mall that opened in its place in 2015. Wonderland caused concerns that there was a property bubble in China. It did not exactly look like a fun place when this photo was taken.

Holland Island, Michigan

Holland Island was once a little island community in the Chesapeake Bay area until erosion ate away at the island leaving no room for the homes.  This home too, collapsed in 2010.

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This was the very last house remaining on the island, before it fell into the water in October of 2010. If ever there was a location to film a ghost hunting show, this was it. Unfortunately, now we’ll never know what kind of spooks and ghouls have had to acclimate to an aquatic environment. As far as abandoned places go, it’s hard to imagine somewhere more perfect as the setting of a horror movie.

Monceau, Belgium

This is part of an old cooling tower of a power station in Monceau, Belgium. A moss-covered concrete pit plunges into what appears to be an endless abyss.

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It’s part of Power Plant IM, which was built in 1921. When it was still operational, it was among the very largest coal-burning plants in all of Belgium. The water in the cooling tower was cooled by wind, producing huge towers of hot air. In the seventies, Power Plant IM was the Charleroi area’s main power source. It was allegedly capable of cooling 480,000 gallons of water a minute. These days, it would be a great place for a light saber battle.

Dreamland, Japan

Inspired by Disneyland, Japan once had its own amusement park that only operated from 1961 to 2006.

Bannister

Dreamland faced direct competition from Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea, themselves struggling for attendance as more and more Japanese people traveled to the American theme parks. With the opening of DisneySea, Dreamland’s attendance numbers went south. It was closed permanently in 2006, and stood for a decade before being demolished. Tokyo Disneyland is still open, however. Disney never dies.

Cape Romano, Florida

Built off the coast of Florida in Cape Romano, these odd dome shaped structures were built as summer home for Bob Lee in 1981, but have since fallen into disrepair. Now, the salt air and ocean water are slowly eating away at the structures, which are definitely worse for wear.

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They look like a set from the original Star Wars trilogy. Not sure why this would have screamed “the life of luxury” when they were originally built. However, even real estate as gaudy as this must have fetched a pretty penny or million. They are now home to very upscale seagulls.

Michigan Central Station, Detroit

Michigan Central Station, Detroit. It was built to become the transportation hub of Detroit in 1913 but due to engineering oversights it closed in 1988. It’s hard to imagine that such a huge building could fall into complete disuse, but that’s pretty much the story of Detroit.

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Detroit is still home to many landmarks like this: icons of the city’s halcyon days now gutted and standing derelict. Detroit is renowned for its stunning level of poverty, though in recent years the city has launched some successful rejuvenation projects. Detroit is also one of the cultural capitals of the nation, especially in the world of music.

New Bedford Orpheum, Massachusetts

Opened in 1912 as a theater and building for entertainment, it was in use for nearly 50 years. After closing its doors as a theater it was used as a storage building and supermarket.

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The Orpheum is currently privately owned. A nonprofit called Orph Inc. has designs on restoring the theater and re-opening it as a performance space. In their mission statement, they say they want to “create and operate a multi-cultural arts facility, to promote arts, culture, diversity and education, to hold, organize and promote events for public participation; to manage the theater to the benefit of its stated purpose, and to do any and all acts permitted by a corporation organized under Chapter 180 of the General Laws of Massachusetts, 2004”.

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Angkor Wat translated means “City of Temples” and rightfully so, this is the world’s largest religious monument.  It has been standing since the end of the 12th century. If you recognize it from nowhere else, you may recognize it from Jean-Claude Van Damme movies.

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Angkor Wat is among the world’s largest religious monuments, sprawling across 402 acres. It was first built as a Hindu temple, in honor of the god Vishnu, by the Khmer Empire. It was then converted into a Buddhist temple in the 12th century. The temple is now a Cambodian icon, even pictured on the country’s flag. It is also Cambodia’s top tourist destination.

Bodiam Castle, England

This is the epitome of what we think when it comes to castles.  It emerges from the mist, surrounded by a moat and has the original military fortifications still in tact, a very impressive structure.

Taringa!

The castle was built by Sir Edward Dalyngrigge in 1385, likely to defend against the French during the Hundred Years’ War. Interestingly, the castle is without a keep. Its rooms are built into the defensive walls and inner courtyards. The water was meant as a defensive measure, but is also quite beautiful. You can almost hear dragons while looking at this photo.

Czestochowa, Poland

Where trains go when they are no longer needed, the abandoned train depot. Many, many trains now call Czestochowa their permanent home.

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Czestochowa was one of the largest industrial centers in Poland during the early 20th century, bolstered by the Warsaw-Vienna Railway which was built in 1846. Of its many train stations, the city is home to a few disused stations that are now “train graveyards.” Many trains sit rusting handsomely in these graveyards, just begging to be tagged.

Sarajevo

Left form the 1984 Winter Olympics. This bobsleigh track is one of many structures built for the world that has fallen to ruins.

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These things have a tendency to become canvases for graffiti. The track is overgrown with both bubble script and with vegetation. Not a bobsleigh in sight. Or even a bobsled. The 1984 Winter Olympics were the second Olympics to be held in a socialist country, following Moscow. They were also the only Olympics ever held in a city that had a majority Muslim population. Neglected venues from the 1984 games got some international attention in the coverage of the 2014 Sochi Olympic games.

Carco, Italy

Natural disasters such as landslides, flooding, and finally an earthquake turned this long standing town desolate.   Originally built around the 5th century, it stood until 1980.

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Natural disasters led Craco’s residents to leave it permanently. Now, the interesting architecture and total absence of residents have made the town a magnet for tourists and film crews. It is currently on the World Monuments Fund’s watch list. The town looks like a painting, but is a real place. Prime real estate for any Italian vampires that may find themselves between homes.

Antarctica

This is the Mar Sem Fim, a Braziliam research ship that sunk in Maxwell Bay, Antarctica in 2012. It remained visible for about a year after it sank.

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The 76-foot craft hit ice while being used to film a documentary. Thankfully, the crew was rescued by the Chilean Navy before they were exposed to potentially fatal conditions. The ship sank to the bottom of the bay, under about thirty feet of water. The ship’s owner returned the following year to retrieve the ship. It was floated with buoys and towed in, but was ruled unsalvageable. At the very least, the sinking made for some truly unforgettable photos.

Sorento, Italy

There are a number of structures like this, sitting in a deep cleft in a cliff called the “Valley of the Mills.” The Mills have ben standing since roughly 900 AD.

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The flour mills were built of stone, sometime around the 13th century. They benefitted from an ever-flowing stream at the bottom of the valley, and were used to grind wheat and other grains for the area’s residents. Now, they are overgrown with vegetation and have not ground grains in many, many years. The place is absolutely stunning.

Keelung, Taiwan

The residential buildings were left unfinished and had been slowly overtaken by nature.

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The building complex is in the Zhongzheng district of Keelung. When the buildings were abandoned before they were finished, nature stepped in to fill in the cracks. Now, it looks like something out of a post-apocalyptic movie. Its vaguely Brutalist architecture is, perhaps, improved by the touches of green that now dot its surfaces. It is a popular place for urban explorers to take photos.

Russian Rocket Facility

Ever wonder what the inside of highly confidential rocket facilities look like? This Soviet facility, name unknown, has sat totally unused for many years. Which is too bad, considering how large it appears to be.

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Unknown if the original architects intended the facility to look like a Halo level. We would love to see more pics of this strange place. Hopefully there are no longer rockets being stored there.

New York City

Did you know that there are two abandoned islands in New York City? This large building can be found on North Brother Island, totally overgrown with vegetation and featuring a mouldering dock.

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The North and South Brother Islands are between the Bronx and Rikers Island, in the East River. North Brother Island, pictured here, was home to a hospital. These days, the entire island has been designated as a bird sanctuary and has no permanent human residents. South Brother Island was privately owned until 2007, when it was bought by the city. It is remarkable just how aggressive nature can be, even in the midst of the most developed urban area in the country.

Lawndale Theater, Chicago

This was once a grand theater built in the center of a thriving community at it prime.

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Before the theater closed, it was mostly being used as a church. A fitting end, as it is believed to have been designed by William P. Whitney, an architect who mostly specialized in churches. Whitney also designed the Symphony Theater in Chicago. In its heyday, it was a stately venue. These days, it is mostly collecting dust and serving as a cautionary tale for other performance spaces.

Panvel, India

Built as a fort for the Prime Minister to keep an eye on neighboring settlements, it has been coined the most dangerous fort on earth.   The steps were carved out of the stone they climbed, a tremendous feet in itself.

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The Karnala fort is located about 10km from Panvel. It sits inside of the Karnala Bird Sanctuary. In its previous life, it served a very strategically important role, overlooking the Bor pass. The Bor pass connected Maharashtra’s interior to the Konkan coast, an important trade route. The fort sits at a staggering 1,440 feet. If you want to see the view, you have to climb to the top on foot. It takes about an hour. Assuming it’s not monsoon season.

Bodie, California

A Ghost town that is frozen in time was once a booming gold mining town.  Everything is just as it was in the late 1800’s.

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Bodie can be found in the Bodie Hills, east of the Sierra Nevada mountains in California. In 1876, its population boomed after gold was discovered nearby. Thousands flocked. Now, it’s a ghost town. Bodie is both a National Historic Landmark and a California Historical Landmark. California, while heavily developed, is also a place of wide open expanses. Especially around the Sierra Nevada mountains, where there are many ghost towns very similar to Bodie.

Talisay City, Philippines

The skeletal remains of this mansion leave it completely see-through and make it a striking structure to see.

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It looks almost Roman in its design. This would make one very expensive AirBNB. Well, maybe not so expensive, considering the fact that there’s no roof. Talisay only has a population of about 228,000 people. It is mostly a residential area. It is also, interestingly, a very important city for the manufacture of blasting caps. Maybe that explains the roof.

Sutton Scarsdale Hall, England

A grand mansion that was commissioned to be built in 1724 still stands as stately as it did in its prime.  The interior was stripped and auctioned. Today some of those pieces of art can still be viewed in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It sits on a rolling green that gives it a dignified ambiance. Like something straight out of a Sherlock Holmes novel.

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After changing owners many times, the estate was purchased in 1946 by Sir Osbert Sitwell, who intended merely to maintain it as a ruin. The Hall is now maintained by English Heritage. If you want to visit, it is open to the public.

Ruperra Castle, Wales

Built in 1626 it has housed King Charles I, and remained in the Morgan family until the mid-1900’s.  It was abandoned after it was gutted by a fire in 1941. Now, it sits abandoned, being slowly engulfed in greenery as the decades pass.

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One recent owner, a Mr. Ashraf Barakat, had a series of misadventures with the castle. He bought it in 1998 and tried to get permission to build nine apartments inside it, but was thwarted by an infestation of bats. He then tried to demolish the castle, but was again refused permission. It sold in 2014 for an estimated one and a half million pounds.

Pidhirsti Castle, Ukraine

The once lavish interior of this mansion was greatly destroyed by Soviet soldiers during WWI.  What was left of the grand interior was destroyed by a fire that burned for three weeks in 1956.

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The mansion was built in Pidhirsti village in western Ukraine, between 1635 and 1640. After the Ukraine gained its independence from the USSR, the castle was going to be repurposed as a presidential home. A plan that never came to fruition. It is taking a well-earned rest after its many years of violent treatment. For an abandoned place, it is reasonably well maintained. In this photo, tourists can be seen appreciating its facade.

Halcyon Hall, New York

Intended to be a fine hotel when it opened its doors in 1890.  After only a decade it was turned into a school of girls of prominent families.

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Halcyon Hall is located on the grounds of Bennett College in New York. The school shuttered in 1978. Halcyon Hall was its main building, constructed in 1893. It was a two-hundred-room mansion with five stories. The college also featured dorms, stables and a chapel. Now, signs of disuse are visible even from a distance. It is a shame that so much real estate should go unused in such a populous state.

Kasteel van Mesen, Lede, Belgium

This 500 year old building was used as a castle, gin distillery, tobacco factory, and a boarding school.  Unfortunately it was demolished in 2010. A gem of architecture was lost. It is not difficult to imagine alternate uses that such a large structure could have been put to use for.

The English Room

The castle was built as the private residence of the Marquess of Lede. Its lavish facade was designed by Giovanni Niccolo Servandoni, and it is considered one of his best pieces of work. It was demolished completely in 2011. Before then, it was a popular haunt of urban explorers. Like all abandoned structures, it was slowly being digested by the elements before it was destroyed.

Bannerman Castle, New York

Francis Bannerman, a Scottish immigrant purchased the island and built this castle to advertise. A fire destroyed its interior and roof. About a third of it is now totally beyond repair. The island stands completely abandoned except for this structure.

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The castle is now owned by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. The only parts of it still structurally sound are parts of its exterior walls. In addition to the fire, it has also suffered from vandalism and neglect. All of these factors make it look about five hundred years older than it actually is. Construction on the castle halted in 1918, with the death of Bannerman.

Prince Said Halim’s Palce, Cairo

This used to be one of the best secondary schools for boys it the country. It has been empty since 2004.

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The mansion sits on an entire city block. When people still lived there, it was one of the most expensive homes in all of Cairo. It was the private residence of Said Halim Pasha. These days, however, it is an empty shell, surrounded by gardens. For such an enormous city, one would think that a huge building like this could be put to use in a number of ways more constructive than leaving it to be photogenic.

Baron Palace, Cairo

A very odd structure with a rich history that is reputed to be haunted. People have reported mirrors appearing covered in blood, furniture moving under its own power, and voices crying out late at night. It is now closed to the public.

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It was designed by the architect Alexandre Marcel to resemble Angkor Wat, Cambodia, which was pictured earlier in this article. Despite its ancient appearance, it was built between 1907 and 1911, of reinforced concrete. It still stands in Heliopolis, a suburb of Cairo.

Mansion in Taichung, Taiwan

The interesting combination of western Baroque styling with symmetrical wings on either side of the courtyard show the styling of Feng Shui, an intriguing mix of architectural styles.

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The mansion sits, unoccupied, in the city of Taichung, Taiwan. It is believed to have formerly been the residence of a famous poet. In the intervening years, it has fallen into total disuse. Despite its unoccupied status, it appears to be in relatively good shape. If you didn’t know it was abandoned, you might guess that someone lived there, just looking at it.

Villa de Vecchi, Cortenova, Italy

A perfect summer villa built on the Lake Como, Italy was anything but perfect. Known as the Ghost Mansion due to the untimely demise of its architect, death of the count’s wife and disappearance of his daughter.

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The house goes by a few names. In addition to “Ghost Mansion,” it’s also referred to as the “Red House” and “Casa Delle Streghe,” which translates to “The House of Witches.” It was originally meant to be the summer home of Count Felix De Vecchi, but it was abandoned due to the sequence of tragedies that would forever shroud the house in menace and mystery. The house itself looks like it’s stained with blood.

Harborough Rocks Lead Mines, Derbyshire, England

Ruins run deep in the countryside as four large pillars stand as a reminder of the great lead mines that employed hundreds.

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The towers blend with the natural rock outcroppings of the hillside, making them look like ancient monoliths. But this is not a henge, it’s a relic of an industrial past. It is both beautiful and severe, a site of much misery and toil rendered picturesque by time and the elements.

Chatillon Car Graveyard

Châtillon, Belgium is home to an automobile graveyard that is famous around the world. The graveyard has its origins in WWII, when American soldiers left their cars in a section of forest to be retrieved at a later date, due to prohibitively high shipping costs. The cars were never retrieved, and languished in the forest.

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The cars were degraded by the elements and by thieves. Only the hulls remained, rusting in the woods. The graveyard snowballed, as more and more cars were abandoned there. The graveyard has reportedly been closed to the public over environmental worries. The many cars are now overgrown with ferns, home to woodland creatures.

Mary Murphy Mine, Colorado

These are the remains of the Mary Murphy Mine, the largest goldmine in the Chalk Creek mining district of Colorado. The once booming mine is now a dilapidated pile of boards.

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The mine was in operation from 1870 to 1925. A total of 220,000 ounces of gold was pulled from the ground there, worth about a hundred and eighty million of today’s dollars. The mine also produced lead, zinc and silver. Now, it is a destination for people who are into ghost towns. It’s also popular with ATV riders.

Ural Mountains, Russia

During the height of WWII, Russia moved their mines to the Ural Mountains to keep up with the military’s demand for metals. Carts at the mines are still loaded with ore and have been sitting since the end of WWII. Obviously, mines like this don’t get many visitors. Both because they’re creepy and because they’re dangerous.

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This pool in the mine is tinted a bright green, possibly from copper content and possibly from algae growth. Regardless, the effect is both beautiful and eerie. Much like the rest of the mine, which sat untouched until this intrepid soul decided to investigate it with a camera.

Fort Alexander, Russia

The ultimate defense fortress with 360 degree cannon firing ability, this fortress was built during the Crimean War on a manmade island just off the shore of St. Petersburg. Following that, it was converted into a plague research center.

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The fort was a popular venue for raves in the ninteies. Since the mid aughts, the fort has been managed by the administration of the Constantine Palace in Strelna, who hoped to renovate it beginning in 2007. If you want to visit, you can arrange for a boat tour. The island is a very strange piece of architecture, definitely a reminder of the austere design aesthetic of the Soviet era. It was designed with utility in mind.

Atlantis Marine Park, Yanchep, Australia

Neptune still welcomes any onlookers that come to Atlantis Marine Park to see its decay.  It once housed dolphins, penguins, sea lions and other aquatic life but had to close its doors in the 1980’s when regulations changed for the animal enclosures. King Neptune was left behind to watch over the abandoned park.

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The park was closed in 1990, and has sat derelict ever since. There are plans to convert the grounds into a retail zone. The plans would keep the Neptune sculpture. The area was re-opened to the public in 2015. The sculpture is listed by the Western Australian Heritage Council. Looks like Neptune’s best years are still in front of him.

Victoria, Australia

Aradale Mental Hospital was built in 1863 to house thousands of “lunatics.”  It was a self-sustaining community with markets, farms, orchards, gardens, vineyards and livestock. It closed its doors for good in 2001. Thankfully, mental hospitals underwent thoroughgoing reforms that led to more humane conditions for the mentally ill people treated there. Asylums are now associated with brutality and deprivation.

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The hospital was built close to the city of Ararat. It was one of three “sister” facilities, including asylums at Kew and Beechworth. Its construction started in 1864. It ceased operations as an asylum in 1998. In 2001 it was converted to be a campus of Melbourne Polytechnic.

New South Wales, Australia

Legend has it that the disused Hellensburgh tunnels are haunted by the spirit of a man who was cut in half by a train. By the looks of it, that sounds about right. He wasn’t the only person to lose his life in the tunnels, either. Another man was beaten to death and robbed.

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The tunnels, which were only in operation on the Sutherland-Wollongong line for two years, between 1884 and 1886, are now totally abandoned. During the sixties and seventies, the tunnels were home to a mushroom farm, but the farmers didn’t stick around. People who visit the tunnels now report seeing ghosts and feeling cold hands on the backs of their necks. If you feel like having a cold ghost hand on the back of your neck, there is a stretch of tunnel that is open to the public.

New South Wales, Australia

This photo was taken at the Rozelle Tram Depot, the second largest such depot in the Sydney network, now abandoned. During its heyday, the depot employed more than 650 people. It now sits behind padlocked gates.

MTM

Security measures have not prevented graffiti artists from vandalizing the depot’s many derelict trams. The depot has been closed since 1958. One of the painted trams was removed from the depot, restored, and put on display. These days, the depot is the stuff of an urban explorer’s dreams. Unlimited opportunities for compelling photos, with the allure of trespassing thrown in. The trams honestly probably look better with their new appearances than they would just rotting in a big warehouse.

Greenland Military Bunker

During the Cold War, the American military undertook all kinds of strange projects to deter the Soviets. One such project was the construction of an underground city below the Greenland Ice Sheet in 1959. The site was supposed to house nuclear missiles, but the project was abandoned in 1967. It was believed that the subterranean base would become permanently encased in ice. Until recently.

Baomoi

The base may once again become accessible due to climate change. Scientists are predicting that ice melt may reveal the base by 2090. This is, however, a time capsule we may not want opened. Within a hundred years of the base becoming once again exposed, a large store of toxic wastes could be released, including nuclear waste. This may pose a political problem between America and Denmark.

Takakanonuma Greenland, Japan

Fukushima Prefecture is most associated with the nuclear plant disaster of 2011. It is also home to a derelict amusement park named Takakanonuma Greenland. Its history is sketchy, and its remnants are creepy.

SvD

Even creepier, it’s not listed on any maps. We know that it was opened in 1973 and then closed after two years. There are conflicting stories as to why. Some claim it was due to low attendance. Others say it was closed because so many people died on the rides. The park reopened in 1986 but was permanently closed in 1999, when it was edged out by bigger, less allegedly fatal amusement parks nearby. Its rides were not destroyed when the park closed. They still stand today.

Kangbashi, China

Ordos Kangbashi, in Inner Mongolia, China, is a modern ghost town. The city, bristling with impressive, contemporary architecture, became famous for its monumental failure to be established as a permanent urban center.

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The city was built rapidly, in the Ordos Desert. The construction effort, financed by the Chinese government, cost an estimated $161 billion. The world became aware of it in 2009, through an Al Jazeera report about its massive, unoccupied developments. Time Magazine also covered the story in 2010. The city is known for its prolific residential housing buildings that are virtually empty. While it’s not technically a ghost town, its few residents are dwarfed by the enormous structures that stand as a constant reminder of what the city could have been.

Rinville House, Ireland

Rinville House is overgrown with decades of foliage. You would never guess it was at the center of a 1400 acre estate.

Landed Families of Britain and Ireland

Renville, alternatively Rinville, House, was first built in 1820. It was owned by the Lynch family. The Lynches, bonded to the Athy family by marriage, were one of the “Tribes of Galway,” fourteen powerful families who controlled civic life in Galway until the late 19th century. Before moving into the Renville House, the Lynch-Athy family lived in the nearby Rinville Castle. The Renville House’s covering of foliage makes it look much older than it is. Still, it certainly looks like something out of a fantasy movie.

Ardfry House, Ireland

The Ardfry House was built in 1770 by a man named Joseph Blake, also known as Lord Wallscourt, a title that came to be associated with the infamous demise of the house. The fourth Earl’s second wife gambled away the family’s wealth. Her gambling debts were so severe, they had to sell the roof of the house.

Taringa!

The house was left unoccupied, and much of its contents were pillaged by thieves. In the fifties, the Earl’s granddaughters were able to reclaim the property for themselves. The three sisters lived in a humble cottage close to the Ardfry ruins. The ruins are quite imposing. The house was two storeys, with nine bays and a roofed pavilion. One of the house’s previous owners was known to enjoy walking around nude. He carried a cowbell to warn the help that he was coming.

Tyrone House, Ireland

The most impressive mansion of Galway, the Tyrone house, was built overlooking the Atlantic ocean and was destroyed by the Irish Republican Army (IRA).  It twas purchased in 1972 by Georgian Society but remains a ruin today.

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It was allegedly designed by John Roberts, who also designed the Waterford Cathedral. It was first built in 1779. By 1912, it was already showing the ravages of time. In 1920, it was leveled in the Irish War of Independence when the IRA caught wind of supposed Black and Tan plans to turn it into a hospital. At the time, it was unoccupied except for a caretaker who was removed before the house was set on fire. The shell of the three-story mansion still stands today, partially engulfed in greenery.

Pentedattilo, Calabria, Italy

A town built on the mountainside that was populated from 640 BC until an earthquake damaged much of it 1783.  It was left completely uninhabited until volunteers repaired roads and houses in the 1980’s. Now, it is partially restored.

ViaggiArt

The mountain on which Pentedattilo was built originally looks like a hand with five fingers, hence the name, which means “five fingers” in Greek. It was founded in 640 BCE, and flourished during the ensuing eras. It was sacked by the Byzantine empire and then conquered by the Normans. An earthquake in 1783 led to a large exodus of the town’s population to Melito Porto Salvo. In the modern era, it stood completely uninhabited from the middle of the sixties until the eighties. Some of its buildings were then restored, and a small contingent of people from multiple European countries repopulated the town.

Roscigno, Vecchia, Italy

This town was abandoned following a landslide. Residents built Nuovo Roscigno 1.5 km away and they never returned to the old town center.  The ghost town has stood as an eco-mueum since early 2000.

Cilento Guest House

The landslide occurred in the early part of the 20th century, since which time the town has remained uninhabited. It is located close to another ghost town, the village of Romagnano al Monte. Roscigno Vecchia was oriented in the typical 19th-century way, with a central square surrounded by buildings, including a church. The church still stands, and shows period architecture unmodified by modern flourishes.

Celleno, Italy

The hilltop town of Celleno, located in the province of Viterbo, has stood abandoned since 1951. In medieval times, it was a strategically critical fortification. Now, it’s a ghost town.

Rete Comuni Italiani

The 19th century saw a long period of decline for Celleno. It came to a head in the fifties, when it was left completely uninhabited. Multiple interesting pieces of architecture still stand there, including Orsini Castle and the San Donato and San Carlo churches. Unfortunately, the area was wracked with earthquakes in 2016. The prospects of repopulation seem dim. It appears destined to sit unused for the foreseeable future.

Balestrino, Italy

A very mysterious town that has scant written history. It still stands as if frozen in time. One theory suggests an earthquake drove the residents from their homes.

deAcademic

The town is found in the Province of Savona, about 43 miles southwest of Genoa. Its population is only about 600 people, living in a four and a half square mile area. While a more modern area is inhabited, its old city center is abandoned. While the historical record is surprisingly sparse when it comes to Balestrino, it is known that the town dates to at least the 11th century. Multiple 12th century structures still stand in the city’s abandoned area, including two churches.

Bolzano, Italy

Lake Reschen is a manmade lake with a 14th century submerged church in the center. In the winter months it freezes over and you can walk out to the steeple of the church.

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Local legend holds that in the winter, you can sometimes hear the church bells ringing despite nobody being in the tower. Especially spooky, considering the fact that the church’s bells were removed on July 18, 1950, preceding the nave’s destruction and the lake’s creation. The lake was originally supposed to be made in 1940, but plans were forestalled by the outbreak of World War II. 163 homes had to be submerged in the process.

Klevan, Ukraine

This Ukrainian railway is one of the most visually stunning in the world. It is an industrial railway colloquially known as the “Tunnel of Love.”

Atlas Obscura

The Tunnel of Love is part of a railway that runs near Klevan, Ukraine. It is known for its striking green arches, which surround the railway for three to five kilometers. The industrial railway is popular as a destination for couples to take romantic walks. Maybe the only romantic industrial railway in the world. The majority of the railway’s 6.4 km total length is covered by forest. The effect is certainly beautiful.

Berlin, Germany

Spreepark, built by the river Spree, was the only park of its kind in Berlin. It closed with a large amount of debt, leaving attractions to fall into disrepair.

Ottsworld

The park was built with the name Kulturpark Plänterwald. It was the only permanent amusement park in the entire German Democratic Republic (East Germany). It was also the only amusement park in East and West Berlin, until it closed. Significant portions of the park were destroyed in a 2014 fire, leaving it even more derelict than it was before. The burnt-out husk of a park structure can be seen here with its large ferris wheel in the background. The authorities believe the fire may have been set deliberately.

Canfranc, Spain

When a train derailment demolished a bridge on the French side of the Pyrenees Mountains, they decided to not rebuild it. The cross border line was no longer needed.

Wikipedia

The derailment occurred on March 20, 1970. A train on the Pau-Canfranc railway lined collided with the L’Estanguet bridge. The French government, being lobbied by the SNCF railway company, did not reconstruct the bridge. The cross-border line was consequently shut down permanently and the population of Canfranc, the village where the station was built, plummeted. The station is now totally abandoned, but maintained for tourism. It actually gets more foot traffic now that it’s abandoned than when it was used as a railway station.

Hokkaido, Japan

This is Taushubetsu Bridge, also known as the “phantom bridge.” It was built to span the Taushubetsu River in Hokkaido. When the river was dammed in 1955, the bridge fell into disuse.

Zekkei Japan

It gets its “phantom” designation from the fact that Lake Nukabira, which now surrounds it, fluctuates up and down with the seasons, submerging it completely for most of the year. The bridge has become significantly dilapidated over the years, since it was built in 1937, and is expected to be fully claimed by the lake soon. For now, it’s a popular destination for photographers. About two thousand people travel to see the phantom bridge each year.

France

A beautiful overgrown railway in France. It’s incredible to see what nature can do to a piece of human architecture, given enough time and enough rain.

MyTe Box

Rather than looking menacing, this railway looks like a scene out of a movie or a video game. It’s exploding with greenery, plants clinging to every surface. It probably looks quite a bit more forlorn when the plants wilt. But until then, this might as well be a snapshot of Middle Earth. Though there were no trains in Lord of the Rings.

Chateau de la Mothe-Chandeniers,France

This is the Chateau de la Mothe-Chandeniers, a 13th century castle that was on the precipice of being demolished when people who lived close to it came up with a brilliant plan to save it.

CGB

The Chateau now has around thirteen thousand owners, thanks to a crowdfunding campaign that was launched to save the castle from being torn down. The campaign raised about $1.3 million USD to preserve the decaying structure, which had stood since the 1200’s. Obviously, thirteen thousand people can’t live there. Despite being overgrown with foliage, the Chateau is quite beautiful. It’s easy to see why people would pay money to see it remain standing.

Istanbul, Turkey

This mosque, the Molla Zeyrek Mosque in the neighborhood of Faith, stands derelict and is allegedly haunted.

History Fanatic

People report that sometimes, screams can be heard from an area close to the mosque that used to be a stable. The stable area is reportedly connected to the Ayvansary district by underground tunnel. Whether the screams come from ghosts or people using the tunnel, it’s still creepy. Istanbul is home to its fair share of haunted places. This huge, abandoned mosque is up there in terms of spooky ambiance.

Cahawba, Alabama

This former Alabama state capital is now a ghost town. The capital had to be moved due to constant flooding.

archidev

Cahaba, alternatively Cahawba, was built at the confluence of the Cahaba and Alabama rivers. The area flooded regularly when the rivers swelled during the rainy season. The state legislature moved the county seat to Selma in 1865, leaving Cahaba a mostly uninhabited place. Today, it’s a ghost town designated as the Old Cahawba Archaeological Park. There is currently an effort to raise funds to restore the St. Luke’s Episcopal Church there.

St. Elmo, Colorado

Silver and gold drew thousands to this once booming mining town that is now serves as a popular tourist stop. Its original buildings still line the streets, even featuring a wooden boardwalk.

Odyssey

The town was founded in 1880, about twenty miles southwest of Buena Vista. It’s a mountain town, sitting at about nine and a half thousand feet. During its mining boom, it was home to about two thousand people. The gold and silver mines started drying up in the twenties. In 1922, the railroad stopped its service to St. Elmo, sealing its fate. It is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is unusually well preserved for a ghost town.

Silver City, Idaho

A silver mining town in the mountains of Idaho remains nearly intact. Tourists can walk the streets of this ghost town. It is over 100 years old and has its original wooden framed buildings lining the streets.

History Fanatic

Silver City’s population, at its height, was about two and a half thousand people. It was the county seat of Owyhee County from 1867 to 1934. Most of its seventy-odd buildings are now privately owned, the majority of them by descendants of the town’s original residents. A small number of businesses are still in operation in the town, but not many.

City Methodist Church in Gary, Indiana

If this looks familiar, you may have seen it in Transformers. It was constructed in the twenties, and cost $1 million, not adjusted for inflation. It’s been closed for a while, used mostly as a film set.

Walid Shoebat

Gary saw a period of rapid decline in the sixties and seventies, and the church followed suit. By 1973, following an outbreak of white flight, the church only had a congregation of 320 people, of whom only a fraction attended services regularly. The church was shuttered in 1975 after no buyer was found.

Oregon

Tillamook Rock Lighthouse.  When the original occupants left no one replaced them due to the harsh weather conditions and isolation.

Never a Niche

The lighthouse sits on a small island a mile west of Tillamook Head. A Native American myth surrounded the rock, claiming that it had underwater tunnels that were home to spirits that would sometimes visit the surface. If they do, it seems like they would definitely visit the spooky lighthouse that now sits, abandoned, on the rock. One can only assume that the light is visible at night sometimes, despite nobody being there. Just a guess.

South Pass City, Wyoming

Along the infamous Oregon Trail.  One of the last original structures built by the immigrants crossing the country.

Wikipedia

The city boomed with the discovery of gold in 1842. White settlers displaced the native population and established many permanent towns, at high cost of human life. These days, it’s just a tourist destination. If you visit, you can do various gold-oriented activities, such as panning for gold, or listening to people talk about gold, or reading plaques about gold.

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About the Author:
Matt lives in Southern California. He is interested in politics, history, literature and the natural world.