Eventually all our modern cities will become ruins, just ask the ancient Romans. Some places are getting a head start though.
Here are 22 of the creepiest ghost towns and abandoned cities from around the world. Enjoy! And make sure to check out the sources at the bottom for even more.
1. Centralia, Pennsylvania.
Centralia, Pennsylvania. Also known as the city thats always on fire. What started as an intentional landfill burning in 1962, the fire spread out of control when it connected to the maze of abandoned coal mining shafts underneath the town. They were able to put out the fire above ground, but the inferno underneath rages to this day. The entire town had to be relocated for over $42 million dollars, and experts have estimated that there is so much coal underground the fire could potentially burn for another 250 years.
2. Isla de las Muecas, Mexico.
As the legend goes, there was once a hermit named Julian Santana Barrera who lived along on the isolated Xochimilco canal. He found a girl drowned in the canal one day and hung dolls all around the island in order to give her spirit rest. The island has since become a popular tourist destination, with many people bringing dolls of their own to add to the island. Strangely, in 2001 Barrera was found drowned. Supposedly in the same spot as the girl who had died.
3. San Zhi, Taiwan.
San Zhis odd looking buildings are the only indication of its once promising future. Originally conceived as a futuristic pod retreat for the rich and powerful, a series of fatal accidents involving builders halted production. A lack of money and willingness to complete the project led to its abandonment, and now there are rumours that the ghosts of the dead workers haunt the strange alien structures. The Taiwanese government was so eager to cover up the legend of the city that they left no named architects and the city still stands as remembrance of a future that will never be.
4. Pripyat, Ukraine.
Before the Chernobyl disaster of 1986, Pripyat was a thriving in Ukraine with over 50,000 residents. The nuclear disaster at the nearby power plant was one of the worst in history, and forced the residents to escape the ensuing radiation. (Story continues...)
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The city has become literally frozen in time, with the nuclear power causing the citys clock to stop ticking. Now its a time capsule of the Soviet era, with a towering theme park at the centre of the city and the iconic Ferris wheel looming over the skyline.
5. Oradour-sur-Glane, France.
In 1944, Nazi soldiers massacred the town of Oradour-sur-Glane. 642 people, mostly women and children, were murdered in the horrific attack. General Charles de Gaulle ordered the city to become a memorial to the cruelty of the Nazi occupation and the town has remained uninhabited since then. Today, its become a well known tourist attraction. However, despite being busy in the day, locals refuse to go near the town at night. Apparently there have been sightings of figures roaming the empty streets. Spooky.
6. Kolmanskop, Namibia.
German miners founded Kolmanskop, Namibia seeking wealth and prosperity in the nearby diamond deposits. However, after the First World War the price of diamonds dropped dramatically and the once thriving German town in the middle of the African desert became abandoned. The sand has gradually reclaimed the space, filling former homes with dunes and giving the place a surreal, otherworldly feel.
7. Port Arthur, Tasmania.
Supposedly one of the most haunted places in Australia, Port Arthur was formerly the sight of a convict settlement and penal colony. In 1996 it was the site of the deadliest mass shooting in Australian history, the Port Arthur Massacre. There are claims of ghostly figures walking the streets at night, as well as odd noises and the ringing of a church bell that hasnt been operational for years.
8. Gryviken, South Georgia.
The cold makes everything more quiet, and theres nowhere more chilling than Grytviken, South Georgia. Originally a whaling station, it was abandoned in 1966 after the whale population became so decimated that it wasnt worth inhabiting anymore. (Story continues...)
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All thats left of the settlement is the graveyards of the workers, as well as the rusty tombstones of decommissioned ships surrounded by the snowy mountains.
9. Terlingua, Texas.
Theres lots of dead towns that populate the arid deserts of North America, but some of them manage to reinvent themselves for the better. Such was the case for Terlingua, Texas, which was all but abandoned by the 1940s. However, by 1970s the tiny population managed to find something else to be famous for, cooking chili. Now its the sight of a famous chili cook off with the tagline; Come sit on the porch of the Terlingua Trading Company, have a cold refreshment, visit with people, and watch the sunset.
10. Agdam, Azerbaijan.
Once a thriving city of over 150,000 people, Agdam, Azerbaijan was lost in 1993 following the Nagorno Karabakh war. Although never a theatre of combat, the city fell into vandalism and disrepair while it was occupied. Now, most of the buildings are gutted and graffitied, with only the mosque remaining intact.
11. Santa Claus, Arizona.
Santa apparently got tired of the cold, as this town was launched in the 1930s to draw in tourists with a Christmas theme. Christmas town must not have been such a great idea out in the middle of the desert however, and the entire site has been for sale since 1983.
12. Craco, Italy.
Located in the instep of Italys boot, Craco traces its history all the way back to the year 1060. The town was originally under the ownership of the church, and prospered through the medieval ages thanks to this powerful relationship. By 1891 the town was inhabited by over 2000 people, but poor farming conditions as well as earthquakes, landslides and war gradually led to residents immigrating to North America instead. (Story continues...)
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By 1963 the landslides became so bad that the town had to be evacuated, and now the remains of the ancient buildings crumble into the Italian foothills.
13. Thurmond, West Virginia.
A coal town dating back to the late 1800s, Thurmond West Virginia is now home to only seven people. In 2005, six of those seven residents reportedly ran for public office of the town. Thats some serious hometown love.
14. Flagstaff, Maine.
Back when Benedict Arnolds troops planted their flag in the town and gave it its name, Flagstaff was still above water. In 1950, a nearby hydroelectric dam caused the entire town to become submerged underwater, and not only the occasional tops of chimneys can be seen above the surface.
15. Humberstone, Chile.
In the dry and barren Chilean desert, the city of Humberstone was an oasis built to serve the largest deposit of saltpetre in the world. After it was abandoned it took on a much more sinister role as the sight of a concentration camp during the Pinochet regime. Some 250 residents are estimated to live there still, but most of the buildings have been left to rot and the streets remain empty.
16. Kadykchan, Russia.
When the Soviet Union collapsed, it left in its wake many major cities including the tin mining town of Kadykchan. Residents were forced to move in order to gain access to basic services like running water, school and medical care, and the state moved out the entire population of 12,000 in just two weeks. (Story continues...)
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Now desolate, the belongings of former residents were abandoned in there hurry. You can find aging toys, books, clothing and many other oddities throughout the empty husk of the city.
17. Famagusta, Cyprus.
At one point, Famagusta was the number one tourist destination in all of Cyprus. High rises and hotels were built to handle the traffic, buildings that are now completely abandoned. After the Turkish army gained control over the area during the war in Cyprus, it was closed to everyone except Turkish military personnel and UN officials. The Annan Plan meant the city was eventually going to be returned to Greek Cypriot control, but this never happened after the plan was rejected by voters.
Nature is starting to reclaim the city, but in 2010 Turkish Cypriot administration planned to reopen the region as a tourist destination once again.
18. Rhyolite, Nevada.
Many thought Rhyolite was going to be a boom town thanks to the promise of gold in the region. Charles M. Schwab sank money into the town on that promise, founding a symphony, school, hospital and stock exchange just two years after the town sprung up in 1905. All that glitters is not gold however, and the promise quickly dried up. However, the picturesque town managed to get a happy ending after all and has since become a popular place for Hollywood to film Westerns.
19. Hashima Island, Japan.
At one point, Hashima island was one of the most densely populated places on earth. With over 5000 workers crammed onto the tiny island to work at the now abandoned coal mining facility. Known also as Battleship Island, it was had been unoccupied since 1974 after inhospitable conditions made it impossible for the workers to live there.
Now, the island is mostly a dense jungle surrounded by raging seas.
20. Kowloon Walled City, China.
Forgotten, but not abandoned, Kowloon Walled City has undergone many different periods of history over the years. Originally built as a watch post against pirates, it was located just outside of Hong Kong during British rule of the city. It was occupied by Japan during the Second World War and became filled with squatters after the Japanese surrender. Neither Britain or China wanted anything to do with the city, and so it became its own lawless city-state. (Story continues...)
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Kowloon flourished as a hotbed of vice and villainy, with the buildings growing so tall that sunlight couldnt reach the bottom of the trash covered streets. The whole city was lit with fluorescent lights, and played host to many brothels, drug dens, secret factories and casinos completely untouched by authorities. Finally in 1993, it was torn down in a mutual decision by the British and Chinese governments after they became tired of the anarchic city and its out of control population.
21. North Brother Island, New York.
This place might be unique in that it was pretty much always intended to be a ghost town. Developed precisely because of its isolation, North Brother Island was a quarantine facility of patients with smallpox, typhoid and other infectious diseases.
Residents included the famous Typhoid Mary (a woman who spread typhoid fever without having any actual symptoms), and eventually became a rehab centre and housing project for veterans. By 1960 it deteriorated into nothing more than abandoned buildings tangled in the trees, and the Department of Parks and Recreation has kept the area locked up for safety and environmental reasons.
22. Bodie, California.
Tucked away in the Sierra Nevada mountains, Bodie California is one of the most famous ghost towns in North America. Very few of the original buildings are still standing, but those that remain are filled with the relics and treasures of its former residents.
Dont think about taking anything though, because the town is apparently cursed by its former residents. Protecting the town they used to live in, and inflicting suffering on anyone foolish enough to steal from them.