Abandoned Places In The World

Do you love creepy old buildings? Have you ever wanted to explore a ghost town? Whether you’re looking for the scare factor or you simply have a passion for history, you would probably enjoy visiting some of the interesting abandoned places in the world.

Picture yourself standing in the halls of an abandoned hospital, a cool breeze rushing past with moans that make you wonder if it’s haunted. Imagine driving along a quiet back road and coming across a town — once bustling, now crumbling like the dreams of the workers who have long since gone. See the remnants of a castle built centuries ago, now being reclaimed by Mother Nature herself.

What you might find in abandoned places in the world is beauty. Or sadness. Or a chill that runs up your spine. Because although these places might be deserted, they are far from dead. They live on in our memories and our imagination.

If you aren’t fortunate enough to have interesting abandoned places near you to explore, you might enjoy our original list below. Here are some of the world’s most impressive abandoned places. But don’t leave it at that. There might be more right in your own backyard. Feel free to tell us about your favorite abandoned places in the comments.

Update: Here are two more very interesting links for everyone.

Photos of Abandoned Buildings: Modern Day Ruins
The Poetry Of Forgotten Places

When starting on this post for some reason I was thinking that there are not many abandoned places in the world, at least the cities. I knew there are many villages, farms and just lonely houses all around the world but when thousands of people leave, leaving the whole city dead that’s a real tragedy. There are mainly two reasons why people suddenly or little by little leave the place where they used to live for years or even generations: that’s the danger and economic factors. The biggest number of abandoned villages and farms can be found in Unites States and the countries of the former USSR.

Visiting abandoned places is getting more and more popular these days and many tourist agencies offer special tours where people can meet the ghost cities and villages face to face. I have never been to any of these and frankly speaking I don’t want to. I thinks we should leave the ghosts in peace, especially in the places like Pripyat where the horrible tragedy took place.

Still hobbies differ and surfing online we can find photographer’s websites fully devoted to abandoned places like this one www.abandoned-places.com or Lost America photo stream.

The abandoned places can look charming or they can look frightening, we tried to present it all. The abandoned cities of the former USSR look almost like clones and they resemble the concentration camps from the times of the World War II.

In any case, that’s the history we should know about, so le’ts get started.

Gunkanjima, Japan

Hashima Island, commonly called Gunkanjima (meaning “Battleship Island”) is one among 505 uninhabited islands in the Nagasaki Prefecture about 15 kilometers from Nagasaki itself. The island was populated from 1887 to 1974 as a coal mining facility.

Mitsubishi bought the island in 1890 and began the project, the aim of which was retrieving coal from the bottom of the sea. They built Japan’s first large concrete building, a block of apartments in 1916 to accommodate their burgeoning ranks of workers (many of whom were forcibly recruited labourers from other parts of Asia), and to protect against typhoon destruction.

As petroleum replaced coal in Japan in the 1960s, coal mines began shutting down all over the country, and Hashima’s mines were no exception. Mitsubishi officially announced the closing of the mine in 1974, and today it is empty and bare, which is why it’s called the Ghost Island. Travel to Hashima was re-opened on April 22, 2009 after more than 20 years of closure.






Credits: Photos by Artsyken on Flickr

San Zhi, Taiwan

San Zhi is an abandoned vacation resort on the northern coast of Taiwan. It was built in the early 1980s, but construction of the futuristic resort ceased after a series of fatal accidents. Even though it never opened as a vacation resort, San Zhi can still be toured. The strange pod-like buildings act as a tourist attraction. The colors of the pod-like buildings depend on their location. The buildings in the west are green, in the east pink, in the south blue, and in the north white.






Credits: Photos byNoelas on Flickr

Pripyat, Ukraine

Pripyat is an abandoned city in the zone of alienation in northern Ukraine. The city was founded in 1970 to house the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant workers, and was abandoned in 1986 following the Chernobyl disaster. Its population had been around 50,000 prior to the accident. The city of was evacuated in two days.

The city and the Exclusion Zone are now bordered with guards and police, but obtaining the necessary documents to enter the zone is not considered particularly difficult. A guide will accompany visitors to ensure nothing is vandalized or taken from the zone. The doors of most of the buildings are open to reduce the risk to visitors, and almost all of them can be visited when accompanied by a guide. The city of Chernobyl, located a few miles from Prypyat, has some accommodations including a hotel, many apartment buildings, and a local lodge, which are maintained as a permanent residence for watch-standing crew, and visitors.









Credits: Photos by Artgrin

Kadykchan, Russia

Kadykchan is a ghost town that was built during the World War II for the workers of the coal mines and their families. In 1996, 6 men died as a result of explosion in a coal mine and the mines were closed. 12000 inhabitants were evacuated to other places leaving the town empty and silent.








Photo Credits

Centralia, United States

Centralia is a ghost town in Pennsylvania, United States. Its population has dwindled from over 1,000 residents in 1981 to 12 in 2005 and 9 in 2007, as a result of a mine fire burning beneath the borough since 1962.

One theory asserts that in May 1962, Centralia Borough Council hired five members of the volunteer fire company to clean up the town landfill, located in an abandoned strip mine pit next to the Odd Fellows Cemetery. This had been done in previous years, when the landfill was in a different location. The firefighters set the dump on fire, and let it burn for a time. Unlike in previous years, however, the fire was not extinguished.

The fire remained burning underground and spread through a hole in the rock pit into the abandoned coal mines beneath Centralia. Attempts to extinguish the fire were unsuccessful and it continued to burn throughout the 1960s and 1970s. Adverse health effects were reported by several people due to the byproducts of the fire, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide and lack of healthy oxygen levels.

In 1984, Congress allocated more than $42 million for relocation efforts. Most of the residents accepted buyout offers and moved to the nearby communities of Mount Carmel and Ashland. A few families opted to stay despite warnings from state officials.







Credits: Photo by Thisisbossi on Flickr

Kowloon Walled City, Hong Kong

Kowloon used to be one of the areas of Hong Kong city. By the end of 1970s Walled City began to grow. Square buildings folded up into one another as thousands of modifications were made, virtually none by architects or engineers, until the entire City became monolithic. Labyrinthine corridors ran through the City, some former streets (at the ground level, and often clogged up with refuse), and some running through upper floors, through and between buildings. The streets were illuminated by fluorescent lights, as sunlight rarely reached the lower levels. There were only two rules for construction: electricity had to be provided to avoid fire, and the buildings could be no more than fourteen stories high, because of the nearby airport. Eight municipal pipes provided water to the entire structure (although more could have come from wells).

By the early 1980s, Kowloon Walled City had an estimated population of 35,000. The City was notorious for its excess of brothels, casinos, opium dens, cocaine parlours, food courts serving dog meat, and secret factories.

In 1984 the Walled city was demolished and its inhabitants resettleed. At that time, it had 50,000 inhabitants on 26 000 m² (31 000 sq. yards), and therefore a very high population density of 1,923,077/km², making it one of the most densely populated urban areas on Earth.

After the demolition, a park was built in its place with construction starting in May 1994.






Credits: Photo by Jetsetcd on Flickr

1 2 3
Join the discussion

  • Thank you for donig this. I love photography and i love abandoned places. I couldn’t imagine leaving behind some of the stuff and places that get left behind. thanks again.

  • Beautiful photos. They convey well the eerie solitude of these abandoned places. I have been to Centralia, PA, USA before. The smoke rising up through the ground, the few remaining houses/buildings and the decrepit roadways leave one with the feeling that they have entered another world.

  • Excellent “travel” via your web site. Used Google Maps and Wikipedia to round-out information on each site.

    Have bookmarked “Abandoned Places in the World” and the main page, http://www.dirjournal.com, under my Travel folder for future visits.

    Thanks for providing these wonderful pictures and information!

  • Wonderful pictures, a bit creepy, but very beautiful. Especially the italian villages. Sad stories behind some unfortunatelly, but a nice try to make sth nice from sth bad as an abandoned city.

  • Surprised that St Kilda is not here. A remote Scottish island off the West coast was inhabited until the 1920s when all the people were evacuated due to starvation. A lot of the young men were killed during WW1 and the people left were unable to sustain their crofting economy. There are pictures available showing the evacuation and resulting empty crofts.

  • It’s a shame about Varosha,Cyprus.This ghost town should be handed back to it’s former residents,so that it can be restored back to it’s former glory.It should have people holidaying,living and working there,not laying derelict and abandoned like it has for the past 35 years. It is pointless keeping this city empty,fill it with life.

  • Although most of these stories are intriguing & eerie, I particularly like the underground mine fire because that to me is extraordinary considering fire that burns underground.

  • Very beautiful places. I only saw Pripyat before, I didn’t know there are other so abandoned places. I wish to see at least one of them.

  • Fantastic! Incredible posting and thanks so much for it. I’m a 40 year real estate professional who sells real estate all across the US at auction, was telling someone this evening that we are now seeing so many abandoned buildings and even developments that we were going to have more modern day ghost towns and their reply was no once you build something there will always be people there. I can’t wait to show them these photos.

  • In 1969, for a period of several months, I was the officer-in-charge of the Hong Kong Police Force ‘s Kowloon Walled City Patrol Unit. The enclave’s legal status lay in a grey area, as it had been excluded from the Sino-British treaty ceding the Kowloon Peninsula to the Brits, and policing was only at a token level; hence the abundance of illicit activities, though “cocaine parlours” were certainly not among them. Heroin divans, to the contrary, were plentiful. The area was also renowned for its unregistered dental clinics, many of which were shockingly brutal and unhygienic, operated by quack dentists. While on patrol, it was not uncommon to have a pot of excrement dumped on one from above. Suffice to say, that period of my service was not a highlight of my police career!

    • I just visit the park that replaced the hong kong walled city over the winter. my dad was telling me all kinds of stories just like yours cause he lived there.

  • What a great site. I started discovering ghost towns throughout Texas and the Western United States as a motorcycle rider and have been to over 100. Now I guess I have a new, more expensive goal…

  • Prefigures global wasteland following series of high-altitude Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) attacks devastating urban agglomerations. By end of current 1.8-million year Pleistocene Era some 12-million years hence, traces of human efflorescence will be limited to deep-cut highway excavations networking blob-like, knobbly mounds.

    Extradite Soetoro!

  • I can confirm what Honkytowner said of the Kowloon Walled City. I was a Patrol Sub-unit Commander in Kowloon City Division of the RHKP in 1974. Each Sub-unit had a dedicated Walled City patrol of a Sergeant and 2 or 3 Constables. I recall an escaping opium smoker landing on my head during an early winter morning raid on a divan but no turds! The park is a huge improvement!

  • it’s interesting to see how some of these monument-like, abandoned habitats started off as utopias. And now diminished into forgotten wastelands and forsaken memories – a somewhat dystopia.

    how living spaces are conjured up, by design function or other circumstance, it is truly amazing to see how these habitats unfolded then. How was each individual’s experience in each of this different environments? All of which had their distinct unique qualities!

    and in revealing them now, we definitely perceive them differently. They serve different purpose/functions now (i.e. tourist hot spots, a historian’s field trip destination, etc).

    My question is – should these landscapes be lost with their belonging memories or do we rethink how to harness and utilise these somewhat extraordinary habits/environments again?
    Or could all of this inspire an architecture designed to serve its function purposefully and dies out literally as demand diminishes – fading into the blowing winds like a memory wantinng to be forgot.

  • Came across ths website quite by accident and was surprised to see the town, or, Ghost Town, where I grew up, on your list. Centralia, PA. Despite the fire, it was a wonderful place to grow up. Very closely knit community. A decent place to live and raise children. Thanks for the posting.

    • I was just thinking the same thing. The picture of the ferris wheel had given me a good chuckle. I emailed my son the website so that he too could see that the developers of these games do use real world things when making the games.

    • That’s because they were in fighting in Pripyat. Remember the radiation warnings? Yes, the game got it right, and pretty true to scale for a game.

      I still remember the first time I saw pictures of the abandoned city of Pripyat, a chill ran up my spine. The ferris wheel was the kicker. I called for my son, whom plays COD also, and had him look at the pictures. He was 4 years old a the time. He said, “Dad, that’s the city from Call Of Duty!”


  • John Cramer Says:
    November 9th, 2009 at 4:26 pm
    Anyone else notice that COD4 modern warfare definitely used the same building in chernobyl?

    Yeah I did, the big wheel is pretty much tke same.

  • Just when you think all of the planet is filled with people it’s nice to know that everything belongs to the earth in the end. The larger towns that are abandoned are really creepy. It would be a good ghost hunt. Thank you for taking these photos for those of us who may never get to visit these sights.

  • Thankyou for all these fascinating photos. I’m partcularly well aquainted with Varosha, since my sister is a journalist who lives in Cyprus, and I’ve visited it (as close as is possible without getting shot!) several times. How on earth did you manage to take some of those photos without getting hauled off in the back of a Turkish army van?!Dear, fascinating old place- it never changes. I’ve met several of my sister’s colleagues who have been inside the place to do special features about it, and many of the tales about it remaining exactly as it was left, really are true. Whilst the Turkish Army did indeed loot it extensively following the invasion of ’74, it’s so big (about the size of Worcester) that they couldn’t possibly appropriate all the contents of all it’s buildings. Hundreds of homes remain full of their owner’s things- shops still stock 1974 goods- hotel restaurants are still laid for breakfast- pubs & bars remain stocked with old brands like Dubonnet, Double Diamond and Worthington E (the Turks wouldn’t touch alcohol, being Muslims) with the jukeboxes loaded with tracks by Deep Purple, Redbone and Santana- and lovely old ’60s & early ’70s cars (by now classics, all of ’em) remain waiting in their garages. Drunken UN squaddies have done some damage with vandalism, though things have been tightened up now considerably.

    My hope is that eventually, it too will become protected by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Many abandoned cities & towns quickly decay, becoming just a jumble of walls and rotting timber, but Varosha is almost unique in that it’s so complete and has survived so well (Pripyat in Ukraine being the only other place to compare with it). I think the Mediterranean climate has a lot to do with it, plus the fact that unlike most examples of foreign beach resort architecture, it was actually very well built and remains pretty solid.
    Meanwhile, there she basks in the Cypriot sun, guarding her treasures for future generations. Re. the photograph featuring the beach umbrellas, the tall building to the far right of the picture has the bizarre name of the Twiga Tower, and is one of Varosha’s smaller and cheaper hotels. Of quite outstanding ugliness, it deserves to be preserved for it’s very hideosity alone- many of it’s rooms remain in a good state of decoration, as can be seen from outside, and some even still have glass in their windows. Just in front of it is it’s small, kidney-shaped swimming pool, which when I last saw it was occupied by a large blue plastic barrel!

    A note to readers: tempting though it is to think of having a good old explore of Varosha, DONT- it’s VERY dangerous to do so. The area remains technically held by the Turkish military, and although it is actually patrolled by the UN for most of the time, the Turks guard it’s integrity very jealously. On neither side of the divide are you allowed to take photos, though the Greeks tolerate observation through binoculars. The Turks don’t even allow that, and whilst an incursion in the Greek half would just result in ejection and a loud telling-off by UN guards, entry from the Turkish sector could result in arrest, detention, or even being shot at on sight. The only persons allowed in are Turkish and UN personnel, visiting dignitaries, or journalists under special escort.
    In addition, many of the buildings are now infested with vermin, and poisonous snakes have adopted parts of it as a breeding ground- thus the potential for disease is considerable.

  • Oradour-sur-Glane, France Your last picture is near Limoges north west
    about 30 km
    I,ve been there,
    too bad you only show one picture.
    the new town of oradour was rebuilt beside the old town
    the french left it this way
    as a memorial to the dead

    The Germans destroyed it in ww2
    in retaliation for killing some germans in an other
    This town was off the beaten track
    this in the book 10 great atrocities of man

  • If you want to read more about Centralia, Pa, and the underground mine fire that turned it into a ghost town, check out my new book, Fire Underground: The Ongoing Tragedy of the Centralia Mine Fire (Globe Pequot Press, 2009). Available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million, and Borders, as well as other fine online booksellers and not a few brick & mortar stores.

  • Hey David
    Many thanks for posting that info about your book, I’m putting that on my wish list with Amazon right now. ” All I want for Christmas is a few good books”. I’m a WV native and find stories about the coal fields very interesting and look foward to reading yours.

  • the author says “following the discovery of gold in 1859.” i cannot let that pass, as the san francisco 49ers are named because gold was discovered in california in 1849.

  • It’s not just the places, but the feeling that these ruins are left standing with so many stories trapped within its walls, waiting to get out. Amazing pics.

  • Wow – I stumbled on this blog after returning from Marrakech and looking for somewhere interesting but QUIET to visit – I had no idea there were so many abandoned towns all over the world, truely fascinating and quite sad to see. Money, greed and lack of respect for fellow humans seams to be the main culprit.
    This has given me a morbid curiosity to see some of these places, and yet I want to leave well alone at the same time.

    You have found some fab images.
    Kath – UK

  • amazing pics of some amazing places, i have recently visited an abandoned military hosptital (the cambridge hospital) in aldershot hants uk, very interesting and would highly recomend paying a visit.

  • these pics should be so amazing but are so not. Not a feeling of anything, just a person with a camera. very disappointed. Just goes to show just because you have a camera and take a pic does not make you a photographer, you either have “something” or you don’t. Not one of these rocks. Bummer I was looking to get a couple purchased and have blown up for my offices, anyone else have some talent that took some of this area?

    • Marion,
      I guess all of us are different, but this site as well as others I find fascinating. I wish I had the time to tour many of these places that still exist with my view camera and photograph them from different perspectives. Unfortunately even for those who can go to these places access to make dramatic photos may not be possible. I have filmed in abandoned mines, buildings and factories and for safety reasons I have many snap-shot quality photos and not many quality photographs as seen travel publications. However, in any case what is provided on this site is still very interesting and nicely done.

    • Each one has their own perspectives… the photographs are amazing indeed and these are not jus layman pics, it provides lot of information bout the place… the view is awesome and i really nyoyed watchn all of it…..

  • Marion, it sounds like maybe you have DIFFERENT taste. just because you dont see the beauty in these pics, does not mean that everyone feels the same. I happen to think there are some amazing photos here. Why, if you did not feel they were any good, did you feel th need to post anything at all? And as far as talent goes, if anyone out there with “talent” is reading this, hopefully they dont feel the need to respond you. Why dont you get off your lazy, trolling ass and take some pictures yourself? Probably because you are the one with no “Talent.” Thank you, have a nice day.

  • It just a terrible or fearable pleces of world where there is no life or human beings. The World and UNESCO should keep these cities and town in memories and show it as a lapse decades herrites to other country of the world and find out the main reason of these incident or reason and why they were take place and how.

  • wow. just kinda stumbled upon this. didnt even know about any of these except for pripyat. thanks for the pics and the info. one day i’ll get out and see some of these places (with respect).

  • Awesome information. It was a great help to our research we are doing in order to help save and restore the Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company Homes. Three years ago we came to what was soon going to be one of these places and now it is most likely going to be a revived vibrant community again. Kudo’s to you for all the time and effort this had to take.

  • What the heck?????
    i’m sad,, i couldn’t visit this places ever
    but the photos are simply awsome!!
    loved it 🙂
    Keep up
    Wish to visit abandoned city in ukraine

  • What I don’t get is why people want to tour abandoned cities that have been left to the elements. I understand that whatever makes money, makes money, but if I was looking for places to visit on vacation, a town with a fire burning underground that will keep burning well into the next few centuries or a city that has been abandoned due to radioactive disasters, no matter how long ago, in a power plant only a few miles away would NOT be on my list, you know?

    • Well, some people like to park their asses on the beach three weeks, others go hiking on deserted mountains. I just returned from visiting Pripyat and it was the single best experience I had in years. The sensation of walking around in an area with such history, trying to capture the essence in pictures… I would not have missed it for the world.

  • I felt something inside me when I saw these pics. They look like they must be horrific. But they are taken in nice angles though. I hope to see the other way around!

  • Found this site while searching for the Duga-3 in Ukraine. Got interested in old abandoned things a few years ago when I got some email on abandoned antenna sites. Should have gotten more interested and sooner when an old theater building was being demolished (what a waste) and when I could readily get to Centrailia, PA. Been there many times and somewhere in my photgraphic archives are many photos from at least 20 years ago along with many coal region abandoned places. I have to find them and scan them since there are so many websites now where they may be of use to others. Keep up the good work on this site. It’s great.