Thursday, July 10, 2014

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20 Abandonded cities around the world

The attraction that abandoned cities have on people is something that always fascinated me, also because these abandoned cities attract me, the mystery and magic that places that were home to many people and now are ghost cities with no people living in it and no sign of civilization in it.

They are really amazing places, some are impossible to visit, others have guided tours, perhaps it is impossible to visit all, but at least you can know a little bit more about them in this article.

There are abandoned cities all around the world, in all continents, every city has its own history, some were completely abandoned by nuclear disasters made by man, such as Pripyat, perhaps the most famous abandoned city in the world, others were abandoned or partially abandoned because of natural disasters, and others were abandoned by economic crisis or because it was not good to live in them, the reasons why cities are abandoned or partially abandoned are many, but it is fascinating seeing a city without people living in it, and all have one thing in common, all of the cities in this list were abandoned in the XX century.

To start the list I will not mention any particular order, just mention the city, its location, and part of its history, so enjoy this fascinating stories and pictures of 20 abandoned cities around the world.

Pripyat (Ukraine)

Pripyat was founded in 1970 for the workers of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in northern Ukraine. Nearby the Pripyat River.

In its best moments, the city had a population of almost 50,000 people living in it. It was totally abandoned on April 26, 1986, due to the Chernobyl disaster.

Grytviken (South Georgia)

"Grytviken hg" by Hannes Grobe 20:50, 12 November 2006 (UTC), Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven, Germany - Own work. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons.

Located in the South Georgia island in the South Atlantic, Grytviken was a whaling station, it was closed in 1966. The town remains, but most of its buildings are abandoned.

Kolmanskop (Namibia)

Located in the desert in southern Namibia, a few kilometers inland from the port town of Lüderitz. This town was named after a transport driver named Johnny Coleman who, during a sandstorm, abandoned his ox wagon on a small incline opposite the settlement.

Once a small but very rich mining village, it is now a popular tourist destination run by the joint firm Namibia-De Beers.

Humberstone (Chile)

"2005.11.14 38 Theater Humberstone Chile" by Hermann Luyken - Own work (Own picture). Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

This ghost town is located 48 km east of the city of Iquique in the Atacama Desert in the Region of Tarapacá in northern Chile.

It is a former saltpeter refinery located in northern Chile that was completely abandoned in 1961 due to that it was not profitable.

Wittenoom (Australia)

"Wittenoom WA - Old Convent 2" by User:Five Years.Original uploader was Five Years at en.wikipedia - Transferred from en.wikipedia; transferred to Commons by User:Mattinbgn using CommonsHelper.(Original text : User: Five Years). Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Located 1,106 kilometers north-north-east of Perth in the Hamersley Range in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

Wittenoom was the only supplier of blue asbestos in Australia during the 1950's and 1960's. The town was abandoned in 1966 due to health concerns from asbestos and because the company was not profitable.

Oradour-sur-Glane (France) 

Located in Haute-Vienne department in the Limousin, region in west-central France. Oradour-sur-Glane had a population of 642 inhabitants.

All of the people living in Oradur-sur-Glane were massacred by a German Waffen-SS company. A new village was built after the war on a nearby site but on the orders of the then French president, Charles de Gaulle; the original has been maintained as a permanent memorial and museum.

Agdam (Azerbaijan)

"Agdam-nagorno-karabakh-3" by Joaoleitao - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Located in the southwestern part of Azerbaijan and the capital of its Agdam Rayon. The city was captured by the forces of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic during its 1993 summer offensives.

As the town fell, its entire population were forced to abandon the city. Agdam is currently a ruinous, uninhabited ghost town. The town's large mosque survives intact but in a derelict condition.

Gary (USA)

This city was founded by the United States Steel Corporation in 1906, on the shore of Lake Michigan. Just to meet the region's needs for the flourishing steel industry.

The population of the city reached up to 200,000 inhabitants in its best moments. Although the city is not completely empty, unemployment, economic problems, and crime make Gary almost a ghost town with empty buildings.

Bodie State Historic Park (USA)

Bodie is a ghost town in the Bodie Hills east of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in Mono County, California, United States, about 121 km southeast of Lake Tahoe.

It is located 19 km east-southeast of Bridgeport, at an elevation of 2554 m.  The town started to be abandoned in 1942 and the last residents left in the 1960's.

Times Beach (United States)

Times Beach is a ghost town located 27 kilometers southwest of St.Louis, in St. Louis County, Missouri, United States.

The 2000 people that were living in the town were evacuated in 1983 due to a dioxin contamination. It was the largest civilian exposure to dioxin in the country's history.

Craco (Italy)

Craco is a ghost town in the Province of Matera, in the southern Italian region of Basilicata. It was abandoned in 1963 due to recurring landslides.

The town is nowadays a popular tourist attraction and a popular filming location. In 2010, it was included in the watch list of the World Monuments Fund.

Balestrino (Italy)

"Balestrino-ruderi chiesa Sant'Andrea2" by Davide Papalini - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Located 70 kilometers southwest of Genoa in the Province of Savona in the Italian region Liguria, the town Balestrino was abandoned in 1953 due to hydrogeological instability.

Mandu (India)

"Hindola Mahal 01" by Bernard Gagnon - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Mandu is located in the Malwa region of western Madhya Pradesh, India, at 35 km from the Dhar city. It is a ruined city that was the subdivision of the Tarangagadh or Taranga kingdom in the 11th century.

Kadykchan (Russia)

This town located in the Susumansky District of Magadan Oblast, Russia, was built by gulag prisoners during World War II for the purposes of coal extraction.

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, coal mining in the area became increasingly unprofitable and dangerous, the explosion at the mine in 1996 that killed six people, lead to a decision to close the mines and to move its population to other towns and cities in Russia. 

Hashima Island (Japan)

Hashima Island is one of the 505 uninhabited islands in Nagasaki Prefecture, about 15 kilometers from Nagasaki. The island was populated from 1887 to 1974 as a coal mining facility. In 1890 Mitsubishi bought the island to began a project of extracting coal from undersea mines.

The island was closed in 1974 and remained empty since then. 

Pyramiden (Norway)

Pyramiden was founded by Sweden in 1910 and then sold to the Soviet Union in 1927, it was a mining community, the town is located on the archipelago of Svalbard, Norway.

It was closed in 1998 and has since remained largely abandoned with most of its infrastructure and buildings still in place.

Sanzhi (Taiwan)

Also known as the Sanzhi pod houses or Sanzhi Pod City, are a set of abandoned pod-shaped buildings in Sanzhi District, New Taipei City, Taiwan.

Constructed in 1978, this place was intended as a vacation resort, but the project was abandoned in 1980.

Belchite (Spain)

"Belchite - Vista general01" by ecelan - Own work. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons

Located 40 kilometers southeast of Zaragoza, the area around Belchite is one of the aridest places of Aragon.

In 1937, the Battle of Belchite (Spanish Civil War) between loyalist Spanish Republican and rebel General Franco's forces took place, the city was abandoned and a new village was built near the ruins of the old town.

The old town remains abandoned and is now a memorial to the civil war.

Kayakoy (Turkey)

This village located in southwestern Turkey was populated by Anatolian Greek speaking Christians until 1923. It was abandoned after the Greco-Turkish war and nowadays is preserved as a museum village.

Klomino (Poland)

The village of Kłomino is located in northwestern Poland. Originally known as Westfalenhof, it was a large garrison and training ground of the German Wehrmacht.

After World War II, the village renamed Grodek, was a base of the Red Army and for many years it existed only on Russian military maps. Since 1993, when the Red Army withdrew its forces from Poland, it has lain empty.


  1. Brilliant post! I'd love to see Oradour-sur-Glane or the ones in Italy.

    1. Thanks Mandy, Oradour-sur-glane has a fascinating and terrorific history, it is great that the french government mantains this place as it was when people lived in it.


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