They say that the only permanent thing in the world is change. History books are one way to understand the passage of time, but some real-life monuments speak of the past in their ways. While some of these monuments are well taken care of and protected, those partially or entirely run-down abandoned places are often the most interesting and haunting.
Here’s a selection of some of the most ghostly haunting abandoned places worldwide, each with unique charm. Beneath all the dust, rust, and cracks, there are stories of people who used to live, pray, or take their daily train rides there, and when you try to imagine these people and their lives, each picture gets a special aura of nostalgia. It’s as if the people in these places just picked up and left.
On the other hand, it’s also fascinating to see how some things that once belonged to people are slowly reclaimed by nature. You might also remember Finnish photographer Kai Fagerström and his pictures of how wild animals were taking over abandoned houses in the woods of Finland. That’s just the natural circle of life and existence – and it makes for some fantastic shots!
Don’t these haunting pictures of abandoned places give you goosebumps?
01. I.M. Cooling Tower, Belgium
Image credits: Pippa Killi Nova
These are parts of a cooling tower in an old power station in Monceau, Belgium. The trumpet-like structure in the middle introduced hot water to the structure, where it then cooled while dripping down hundreds of small concrete troughs and slats.
02. Kolmanskop, Namibia
Image credits: Chris Gray
Kolmanskop was a small settlement in Namibia that saw a boom in the early 1900s when German settlers realized the area was rich in diamonds. However, the wealth surge gave out after WWI when the diamond field began to deplete. By the 1950s, the town was completely deserted and is now visited by photographers and tourists.
03. 102-Year-Old Floating Forest in Sydney, Australia
Image credits: Bruce Hood
This is the hull of the SS Ayrfield, a large steamship condemned to dismantling in Homebush Bay, Australia, after WWII. However, when the dismantling yard closed down, it and several other ships remained where they were. Now, it is a beautiful and haunting floating forest that exemplifies nature’s capacity for survival.
04. The Maunsell Sea Forts, England
Image credits: jelltecks
The Maunsell Sea Forts were erected near the Thames and Mersey rivers in Britain to help defend against potential German air or naval raids during WWII. After being decommissioned in 1950, they have been inhabited by various new tenants, including pirate radio operators, and by the Principality of Sealand, which claims to be an independent sovereign state.
05. Last House On Holland Island, U.S.A
Image credits: baldeaglebluff
This house was part of what was once a moderately successful small island colony in Chesapeake Bay in the U.S. Rapid erosion of the island’s mud and silt coast, however, meant that there was less and less room to live on the island. This house was the last one left on Holland Island before it collapsed in 2010.
06. Pripyat, Ukraine
Image credits: castlemaineindependent.org
Pripyat was established on Feb. 4th, 1970, in Ukraine near the border of Belarus as a Soviet nuclear city. It was home to many workers working in the nearby Chornobyl nuclear power plant, which melted down disastrously in the 1986 Chornobyl Disaster. After being evacuated, Pripyat remains a radioactive ghost town that can only be visited through guided tours.
07. House Of The Bulgarian Communist Party, Bulgaria
Image credits: Dimitar Kilkoff
The former headquarters of Bulgaria’s Communist Party are just as eerie on the outside as on the inside. The flying-saucer-like building, while probably a wonder while in use from 1981 until 1991, went into disrepair soon after the fall of the Soviet Union. It is now a ghost of its former self, although plans are being made to restore it.
08. Nara Dreamland, Japan
Image credits: suspiciousminds
The Nara Dreamland Park, inspired by Disneyland, was opened in 1961. By 2006, however, it closed down. It is a popular destination for urban explorers, although security guards occasionally patrol the grounds and impose fines.
09. Uninhabited Island In Southwest Florida, U.S.A.
Image credits: imgur.com
These small domed structures were built in 1981 on Cape Romano off the coast of Florida in the U.S. They were the summer home of oil producer Bob Lee before falling into disrepair. What their fate will be today is still uncertain.
10. Abandoned Mill, Italy
Image credits: Dale Tennyson
This mill in the Valley of the Mills in Sorrento, Italy, was abandoned in 1866: this mill ground wheat and a sawmill operated nearby. The mill was isolated from the sea by the construction of Tasso Square, which raised the humidity in the area and caused it to be abandoned.
11. Michigan Central Station In Detroit, U.S.A.
Image credits: The New No. 2
Michigan Central Station was built in 1913 in Detroit to create a new public transportation hub. However, several planning oversights and mistakes led to its gradual decline and closing in 1988. The building’s fate is still being decided, but in the meantime, the station has appeared in several films and videos, including Eminem’s “8 Mile” film and “Beautiful” music video.
12. Sunken Yacht, Antarctica
Image credits: ruschili.35photo.ru
This eerie ghost ship is the Mar Sem Fim, a Brazilian yacht shipwrecked near Ardley Cove in Antarctica. A Brazilian crew had taken it to film a documentary, but strong winds and stormy seas forced the crew to abandon the ship. The water that washed over the ship froze, cracked its hull, and sunk the yacht, but it has since been salvaged.
13. The Haunting New Bedford Orphuem, U.S.A.
Image credits: Frank Grace
The New Bedford Orpheum is an old theater and entertainment building located in Massachusetts in the U.S. It was opened in 1912 and closed in 1959 – since then, it has stored tobacco and served as a supermarket. The Orph Inc. nonprofit is now trying to raise money to revitalize the building.
14. Abandoned Train Station, Abkhazia, Georgia
Image credits: Ilya Varlamov
This train station in Sukhumi, Abkhazia, was abandoned during the War in Abkhazia in 1992 and 1993. The dispute between Georgia and Russia over the region has isolated region. Still, the decaying station retains some of its former glory through intricate plasterwork and mahogany furniture.
15. Abandoned Wooden Houses, Russia
Image credits: Andrew Qzmn
These beautiful, intricately decorated buildings are deep in Russian forests, where their isolation has helped them remain relatively intact.
16. Underwater City In Shicheng, China
Image credits: china.org.cn
This incredible underwater city, trapped in time, is 1341 years old. Shicheng, or Lion City, is in the Zhejiang province in eastern China. It was submerged in 1959 during the construction of the Xin’an River Hydropower Station. The water protects the city from wind and rain erosion, so it has remained sealed underwater in relatively good condition.
17. The Abandoned City Hall Subway Stop in New York, U.S.A.
This beautifully-designed metro station sits underneath City Hall in New York City. Because of its location, much attention was given to its design. Still, nearby stations ensured that this one never received significant traffic, and its curved layout made it unsafe for use with newer, longer trains. The station was closed in 1945, and because of security concerns, it generally remains closed except for occasional exclusive tours.
18. Salto Hotel, Colombia
Image credits: astrophysicistkev
The Hotel De Salto opened in 1928 near Tequendema Falls in Colombia to serve tourists who came to marvel at the 157-meter-tall waterfall. It closed down in the early 90s after interest in the waterfall declined. In 2012, however, the site was turned into a museum.
19. Abandoned Subway Tunnel In Kyiv, Ukraine
Image credits: general-kosmosa.livejournal.com
This image of an abandoned subway tunnel was captured in the metro system underneath Kyiv, Ukraine. Many tunnels are partially flooded, and stalactites hang from the ceilings.
20. Abandoned Submarine Base In Balaklava, Ukraine
Image credits: Thomas Alboth
While this old submarine dock in Ukraine isn’t abandoned, the decommissioned formerly top-secret site near Balaklava is still impressive. Until its decommissioning in 1993, the site was one of the Soviet Union’s most top-secret sites and was said to be able to weather a direct nuclear strike due to its underground construction. Today, it is a national naval museum.
21. Abandoned Military Hospital In Beelitz, Germany
Image credits: d.r.i.p.
These eerie pictures are part of the Beelitz-Heilstätten hospital complex in Beelitz, Germany. The large complex was built at the end of the 1800s and helped Adolf Hitler recuperate from a leg wound incurred at the Battle of Somme in 1916. Parts of the complex remain in operation, but most were abandoned after the Soviets withdrew from the hospital in 1995.
22. Hashima Island, Japan
Image credits: Kashima-island.com
Hashima Island in Japan has many nicknames, including Battleship Island (for its shape) and Ghost Island. From the late 1800s to the late 1900s, the island was populated because of the access it granted to undersea coal mines. However, as Japan gradually switched from coal to petroleum, the mines (and the buildings that sprung around them to support their workers) closed down, leaving an isolated ghost town that reminds some of a ghostly concrete battleship.
23. San Zhi, Taiwan
Image credits: picc.it
These alien-looking houses in Sanzhi were initially intended to serve as a vacation destination, especially for U.S. military officers returning from their positions in Asia. However, lost investments and unfortunate car accidents forced the site to close in 1980, not long after it had been built. Unfortunately, the buildings were torn down in 2010.
24. Abandoned Church In The Snow, Canada
Image credits: Kevin McElheran
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