Sure, there’s something spooky about these beautiful abandoned places. But also something undeniably striking.
01. Craco, Italy
Despite being in existence since 540, much of this town’s population evacuated during the 20th century due to poor agriculture, a landslide in 1963, and a flood in 1972. Now it’s an ancient site so striking that it is even that it has served as the set for movies like “The Passion of the Christ.”
02. Saint Nicholas Church
This flooded church of Saint Nicholas sits in the Mavorvo Lake in Macedonia. The destruction was intentional; the lake was created to support a power plant, and the church and surrounding village were merely caught in the wake of progress. What’s left is the juxtaposition of the dilapidated building against the lovely landscape.
03. Gougi Island
This fishing village (photographed by Jane Qing) on China’s Yangtze River isn’t your typical forgotten town — its lush buildings covered in ivy and greenery are surprisingly tranquil and striking. The Chinese website where they first surfaced called the area the “Wizard of Oz’s dream.”
04. Miranda Castle
Built in 1866, this fairytale-like structure in Belgium was intended to be a summer home, but when the designer died before its completion in 1907. Afterward, it was taken over by Nazis during World War II, served as a summer camp for 20 years, and finally, in 1991, was abandoned because it was too costly to maintain.
05. Ross Island
Located in South Andaman, India, this island was once a British administrative center for the Indian Penal Settlement. However, after it was abandoned, it became overgrown with wild Ficus, and now it has a stunning Jungle Book vibe.
06. Six Flags In New Orleans
This theme park was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Murky water rose as high as six feet, and saltwater damaged 80 percent of the rides, leaving it too expensive to restore. What’s left behind is like a funhouse version of a theme park — and a strangely beautiful monument to the vibrant city once destroyed by tragedy.
07. Hirta, Scotland
While this was once a lush island occupied by many people, in the 1930s, it was evacuated because of the threat of starvation and harsh weather. Now, abandoned stone structures are dotted across the fields.
08. Dome Homes In Florida
Just off the coast of Marco Island in Cape Romano, Florida, is a structure that looks like an abandoned alien spacecraft, but in reality, it was once a vacation home that hurricanes have since destroyed. Now, the reclining coastline makes it unsalvageable.
09. Berlin, Nevada
The Berlin Historic District was founded in 1897 as part of the mining boom but never saw the success of other nearby towns and was largely abandoned by 1911. It’s now part of a Nevada State Park.
10. Kolmanskop, Namibia
This town was founded in the Namib desert in 1908 after a man found a diamond while working in the area, but it was abandoned in 1954 after resources were exhausted. The homes that were left are now filled high with sand.
11. Kilchurn, Castle
This Scottish castle was built in the mid-1400s and housed some of the most influential people in the country. However, it was abandoned in the 1700s and is now one of the most photographed castles because of its (obviously) striking location.
12. Kayakoy, Turkey
A town nestled amongst the Taurus Mountains was deserted in the 1920s because of a political population exchange with Greece. Today there are around 350 abandoned homes in the city. Nestled into the hillside and bathed in a sunset, they still look quaint.
13. The Floating Forest
This SS Ayrfield was built in 1911 and retired in 1972 in Homebush Bay, west of Sydney, and a ship graveyard. But it’s unique to the other abandoned vessels because it’s since sprouted majestic mangrove trees and greenery.
14. Villa In Lake Como
While the history of this decrepit mansion nestled in the mountains of Lake Como is not specific, locals believe it was built in the 1800s, and according to rumors, it was abandoned due to murder or suicide.
15. Allerheiligen Monastery
Located in the Black Forest in Germany, this church was first built in 1192 and has been struck by lightning and burnt up to three times since — which is why it was eventually left in its current form as ruins.
16. Ta Prohm Temple
This famous temple in Angkor Wat, Cambodia, was abandoned after the fall of the empire in the 17th century and became one with the jungle after hundreds of years of neglect. Today the ruins are looked after to stabilize and maintain the temple.
17. Maunsell Army Sea Forts
These forts were created to protect the Kent, England shores from a German attack during World War II. Afterward, they were decommissioned in 1950, briefly served as radio stations for pirates, and are now abandoned completely.
18. Dundas Castle
This Roscoe, New York castle was designed by architect Bradford L. Gilbert for his Scottish wife, Anna Dundas. However, Gilbert died, and Dundas was committed to a sanatorium before its completion, so they never got a chance to live in it — but some say Dundas’ ghost still roams the halls.
19. Bodiam Castle
This moated castle was built in the 14th century in East Sussex, England, by a knight looking to protect the area against the French in the Hundred Years’ War. But after surviving several wars, it was abandoned, and today is a tourist attraction open to the public.
20. Methodist Church
You might be surprised by the location of this gorgeous church: Gary, Indiana. It cost $1 million to build in 1926 and once had a congregation of over 3,000 thanks to the booming steel town, but as employment declined and crime rose, the church dwindled and was abandoned in 1980.
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