45 Abandoned Places Around the World That Are Eerily Beautiful

"Слабые люди всю жизнь стараются быть не хуже других. Сильным во что бы то ни стало нужно стать лучше всех." Борис Акунин ZMEY
Время на прочтение: 19 минут(ы)

There is something both eerie and striking about abandoned places. Whether it’s a train cemetery in Bolivia, an Art Deco subway station underneath New York City, or a village covered in sand dunes on the coast of Namibia, each location is a snapshot of history frozen in time. Take a tour of these mesmerising sites around the world – stark reminders of what used to be, with beauty seeping through the broken glass and dust. This gallery was originally published in 2015. It has been updated with new information.

  • 45 Abandoned Places Around the World That Are Eerily Beautiful

    Gereja Ayam (‘Chicken Church’), Magelang, Indonesia

    If you ever find yourself in the jungles of central Java, you might stumble upon a dilapidated church that’s equal parts awesome and confusing: Gereja Ayam, also known as the ‘Chicken Church’. The church (which the architect intended to be in the shape of a dove) opened its doors in the 1990s, serving as both a rehab and worship centre for all religions; unfortunately, construction costs soon became too high and the project – and building – were abandoned in 2000. The foul fowl has become something of a tourist destination these days, with murals adorning the interior, incredible views of the surrounding forests through the beak, and even a small café selling treats near the tail feathers.

  • 45 Abandoned Places Around the World That Are Eerily Beautiful

    Tianducheng, Hangzhou, China

    No, this isn’t a picture of post-apocalyptic Paris. It’s China’s Tianducheng district, a miniature replica of France’s capital, located about 40 minutes from Hangzhou. The ambitious housing development was built in 2007, complete with its own Champs-Elysées and 300-foot Eiffel Tower. Unfortunately, China’s attempt to recreate the City of Light ended up being more creepy than romantic, as if the real Paris suddenly entered the Upside Down. The city was built to house 10,000, but far fewer people moved in and the streets have typically been empty save for the occasional bridal party posing for faux-Parisian wedding photos. There have been reports, though, that its popularity is growing and residents are setting up home – so one day you could perhaps find yourself staying there…

  • 45 Abandoned Places Around the World That Are Eerily Beautiful

    Rummu Prison, Estonia

    Of all the underwater sites around the world, Estonia’s semi-submerged Rummu Prison might just be the creepiest. The prison was built by the Soviet Union and filled with inmates in the 1940s, when the prisoners were forced to work in the nearby limestone quarry. The jail was abandoned when Estonia gained its independence in 1991, and the lack of supervision caused the quarry to quickly fill up with water. Rummu Prison is now a popular beach, especially among scuba divers who want to explore the submerged buildings and mining equipment below the surface.

  • 45 Abandoned Places Around the World That Are Eerily Beautiful

    Pripyat, Ukraine

    Pripyat was the city most affected by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986. The incident released massive amounts of radiation, forcing the residents to flee. The spot is now one of the most well-known abandoned places in the world, thanks in large part to the ghostly reminders of what used to be: toys in a schoolhouse, clocks all frozen at the exact same time, and the famous decaying amusement park. The park has become so famous, in fact, that Ukraine is making it an official tourist attraction.

  • 45 Abandoned Places Around the World That Are Eerily Beautiful

    Houtouwan, Shengshan Island, China

    Houtouwan – a former fishing village located about 87 miles southeast of Shanghai – has been uninhabited for several decades, but this is not your average ghost town. Instead of being covered in dust and rubble, these buildings are almost entirely overgrown with creeping ivy and lush vegetation, creating a green landscape that is more spectacular than devastating. While most of the village’s original residents moved inland in the early 1990s, a few people do still live on the island, selling water to curious tourists and photographers.

  • 45 Abandoned Places Around the World That Are Eerily Beautiful

    Dome Homes, Marco Island, Florida, USA

    If Luke Skywalker lived in Florida, you could probably find him meditating in one of the Dome Homes off the tip of Marco Island. The alien-looking houses were actually the brainchild of a retired oil tycoon, who built the structures in 1981 to be an eco-friendly holiday home for his family. But Florida will be Florida, and harsh weather and eroding shorelines surrounded the Dome Homes with water and rendered them unlivable. There’s no plan to try to reoccupy the futuristic buildings, but it’s fun to make up legends about where they came from and what purpose they serve – the Stonehenge of Southern Florida, if you will.

  • 45 Abandoned Places Around the World That Are Eerily Beautiful

    The Maunsell Sea Forts, Thames Estuary

    Although they look like props from an HG Wells film adaptation, these giant metal towers in the Thames estuary were actually constructed to protect England from German air raids during WWII. The forts were decommissioned in the 1950s, and the abandoned towers were used by pirate radio operators in the following decades. Today, one nearby fort is managed by micronation Principality of Sealand; the rest can be seen safely from a boat or, on a clear day, the shores of Shoebury East Beach.

  • 45 Abandoned Places Around the World That Are Eerily Beautiful

    City Methodist Church, Gary, Indiana, USA

    Famous for being the birthplace of Michael Jackson, Gary, Indiana is also the site of one of the prettiest, eeriest abandoned churches in the US. Originally built in 1926 with money donated by US Steel, the City Methodist Church is a nine-storey marvel complete with Gothic architecture, stone pillars and stained-glass windows. Over the next several decades, the steel industry faltered, Gary’s population dwindled, and the church was completely shut down in 1975. The structure is crumbling but still beautiful today, and is a popular spot for film directors – you might recognise it from movies such as A Nightmare on Elm Street, or, less likely, Transformers: Dark of the Moon (that’s the third one).

  • 45 Abandoned Places Around the World That Are Eerily Beautiful

    Great Train Graveyard, Uyuni, Bolivia

    Uyuni is known mostly for its salt flats and red lakes, but the Bolivian region has another unusual tourist attraction – a ‘cemetery’ of abandoned, antique trains. In the 19th century, plans were made to extend Uyuni’s transportation network and build more train tracks through the city, but the project was abandoned due to technical difficulties and tensions with local indigenous people. The trains were still used to transport minerals to port cities on the Pacific, but the minerals ran out in the 1940s, the miners left town, and the equipment was left sitting out in the desert. Time and salty winds have since corroded the trains, resulting in the Great Train Graveyard you see today.

  • 45 Abandoned Places Around the World That Are Eerily Beautiful

    Ponyhenge, Lincoln, Massachusetts, USA

    Anything that ends with ‘henge’ tends to be shrouded in weirdness and mystery, but Massachusetts’ ‘Ponyhenge’ might just be our new favourite. As its name suggests, Ponyhenge is a collection of plastic ponies and rocking horses sitting pretty (and nightmarishly) in a field about 14 miles west of Boston. The first ponies started appearing sometime around 2010; over the years, the collection has grown exponentially and will frequently rearrange into circles and rows. How did the first pony appear? Who adds to and organises the collection? Do the ponies come alive when we’re asleep? No one knows. It’s Ponyhenge.

  • 45 Abandoned Places Around the World That Are Eerily Beautiful

    Kolmanskop, Namibia

    You wouldn’t guess by looking at it now, but the town of Kolmanskop was, back in the early 20th century, a place built on diamond mining and drenched in extravagance. But in the late 1920s its fair-weather inhabitants discovered richer diamond mining to the south, and the site almost instantly became a ghost town. It’s now famous for its eerie, sand-filled houses, which have appeared on screen several times, notably in Dust Devil (1992) and The King Is Alive (2000).

  • 45 Abandoned Places Around the World That Are Eerily Beautiful

    Lapalice Castle, Poland

    Imposing and ornate, Lapalice Castle resembles many of Eastern Europe’s legendary spooky castles. Only Lapalice was built in 1979 – and it’s not even technically a castle. The grand building was originally built as a studio for artist Piotr Kazimierczak, which for some reason needed a swimming pool, ballroom, ramparts and a dozen towers. Unfortunately, Kazimierczak had to abandon his project before it was ever completed, due to the double threat of not having either enough money or the necessary permits for the land. Now, the ‘castle’ is merely a shell of what could have been, with graffiti adorning its crumbling walls.

  • 45 Abandoned Places Around the World That Are Eerily Beautiful

    Beelitz-Heilstätten Hospital, Germany

    If this old German hospital looks disturbing, well, it is. Just check out its chilling history Between 1898 and 1930, the Beelitz-Heilstätten complex served as a tuberculosis sanatorium. It housed mustard-gas and machine-gun victims during WW I, including a young soldier named Adolf Hitler. The hospital later went on to be a major treatment centre for Nazi soldiers during WW II, and it was employed as a Soviet military hospital from 1945 until 1995 – after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Today, a few wards are used as a neurological rehabilitation centre, although the majority of the complex is abandoned. The surgery and psychiatric wards have both been left to decay and give way to nature (and vandals), and the result looks like something straight out of American Horror Story: Asylum.

  • 45 Abandoned Places Around the World That Are Eerily Beautiful

    Canfranc International Railway Station, Spain

    The glamorous Canfranc Station in the Spanish Pyrenees has had quite a dramatic life. When it opened in 1928, it was the largest rail station in Europe. But in the following two decades, the spot was affected by boththe Spanish Civil War and a Nazi takeover during WW II. The station has been the target of several restoration efforts over the years, but it has not been able to recapture its former glory.

  • 45 Abandoned Places Around the World That Are Eerily Beautiful

    Haludovo Palace Hotel, Krk, Croatia

    Haludovo Palace Hotel is clearly not of our time, but at first sight it’s hard to tell exactly when it is from. The design and modular shapes feel futuristic, but the state of decay places it firmly in the past. The hotel complex was in fact built on the island of Krk in 1971, in a style typical of Communist-era architecture (the asymmetrical concrete, the brutally modern façades) and spent a few golden decades hosting actors and world leaders visiting the former Yugoslavia. When war hit in the 1990s, tourism dwindled, and the hotel hosted its last guests in 2001 before closing its doors for good. The casinos, saunas and tennis courts have fallen into disrepair, but visitors can still appreciate the hotel’s skeletal buildings – and let’s face it, any day spent on a Croatian island is a good one.

  • 45 Abandoned Places Around the World That Are Eerily Beautiful

    Kennecott, Alaska

    From 1911 to 1938 nearly £155,000,000 worth of copper was processed in Kennecott (located in Wrangell-St Elias National Park), a self-contained mining town with its own hospital, skating rink, tennis court and dairy. But most of the buildings have now been abandoned for around 60 years, and some have deteriorated past the point of salvation – but are still quite lovely. The US National Park Service acquired many of Kennecott’s buildings and lands in 1998; the visitor centre is open from late May until early September, and the recreation hall is available to rent for events.

  • 45 Abandoned Places Around the World That Are Eerily Beautiful

    El Hotel del Salto, Colombia

    During the Roaring Twenties, this structure was built as an architect’s mansion – one that would make Gatsby gawk. Since then, the cliffside structure has had a few major makeovers. It became the 18-storey Hotel del Salto in the 1950s, but was abandoned shortly afterwards and left to collect moss and tales of ghosts and hauntings. It’s currently being converted into the Tequendama Falls Museum.

  • 45 Abandoned Places Around the World That Are Eerily Beautiful

    Kangbashi, Ordos, China

    Welcome to the most modern (sort of) ghost town you’ll ever see. Located in the city of Ordos (a subdivision of Inner Mongolia), Kangbashi New Area was intended to be a 130-square-mile residential area built to accommodate a million people. Construction of the futuristic city-within-a-city began in 2004, but city officials had trouble filling the super-expensive apartment buildings – and the remote desert location certainly didn’t help matters. It was almost as if Kangbashi were built for a Ridley Scott movie, and then completely abandoned once shooting ended. Kangbashi is beginning to fill up, but the vastness of its public spaces and the fact that it’s still only partly occupied means it’s still rare to see a person among the towering buildings and grand art installations.

  • 45 Abandoned Places Around the World That Are Eerily Beautiful

    Power Plant IM, Charleroi, Belgium

    Originally built in 1921, Power Plant IM used to be one of the largest coal-burning power plants in Belgium – its massive cooling tower (pictured) was able to cool down 480,000 gallons of water per minute in its heyday. But it also contributed to pollution – this particular plant was responsible for 10 per cent of the total carbon dioxide emissions in the entire country. Greenpeace protested, and the site was shut down in 2007. And while it may no longer generate any electricity, the abandoned building still provides eerily beautiful vistas.

  • 45 Abandoned Places Around the World That Are Eerily Beautiful

    Hashima Island, Nagasaki, Japan

    Hashima Island was once the most densely populated island in the world; now it’s completely empty. People became interested in the speck of land after finding an underwater coal deposit directly beneath it. As time went on, tightly packed apartment complexes were constructed for the miners and laborers, providing its density record. But folks left as quickly as they came when the coal ran out. It’s now a rock and concrete ghost town in the middle of the ocean.

  • 45 Abandoned Places Around the World That Are Eerily Beautiful

    Michigan Central Station, Detroit, USA

    What was once a bustling business hub is now a ghostly reminder of Detroit’s economic status (although the city is once again on the up-and-up, and Ford has bought the station with plans to develop it). Michigan Central Station welcomed hundreds of trains every day after officially opening in 1914. Rail traffic began to dwindle, however, and the station struggled for several decades before closing in 1988.

  • 45 Abandoned Places Around the World That Are Eerily Beautiful

    SS Ayrfield Shipwreck, Sydney, Australia

    The area of Homebush Bay was once an industrial crossroads of Sydney, filled with ships transporting coal and oil during the early 20th century. Unfortunately, the waters soon became contaminated and toxic (probably because of all that coal and oil), a problem that was only solved after the commercial boom following the 2000 Olympics. The area is now a fully-functional residential suburb, but you can still catch a few glimpses of Homebush Bay’s industrial past – and they’re much prettier than you might think. Most notable is the SS Ayrfield, a rusted abandoned freighter that has become overgrown with mangrove trees. Can anyone else imagine this as a pop-up tiki bar in Brooklyn?

  • 45 Abandoned Places Around the World That Are Eerily Beautiful

    Michigan Theatre, Detroit, USA

    Built in 1926 on the spot of Henry Ford’s first workshop, Michigan Theatre was once an opulent downtown Detroit institution with seven stories, 4,000 seats and a construction price tag of $5 million at the time. The theatre closed its doors in 1967, following the boom of suburban cinemas and living-room televisions. Since then, the space has served several purposes until it was finally reopened as a car park in the late 1970s. The cathedral ceilings and frescoed walls of the once-majestic playhouse have certainly seen better days, but it certainly beats your average concrete parking structure.

  • 45 Abandoned Places Around the World That Are Eerily Beautiful

    Lake Reschen Bell Tower, South Tyrol, Italy

    Beginning in 1940, Italian electric company Montecatini built a dam to unify two lakes in South Tyrol – Reschensee and Mittersee. The area was once home to several villages, but the towns were flooded (intentionally) during the dam-building process. The only visible reminder of the drowned cities is a 14th-century bell tower – sort of like Rapunzel meets the Quarter Quell. The surrounding mountains are popular with hikers, and you can even walk right up to the tower when the lake freezes over in the winter.

  • 45 Abandoned Places Around the World That Are Eerily Beautiful

    Nicosia International Airport, Cyprus

    Nicosia International Airport was a busy, successful airport from the time it opened in the 1930s until it was abandoned in 1974, due to – you guessed it – the Turkish invasion of Cyprus. In the past 40-plus years, planes have turned to rust outside, while the airport’s check-in counters and boarding areas have accumulated thick layers of dust and bird droppings.

  • 45 Abandoned Places Around the World That Are Eerily Beautiful

    Anping Tree House, Tainan City, Taiwan

    Originally a British-owned merchant warehouse, this crumbling complex in Taiwan has been overtaken by nature – much to our visual delight. After the building was vacated in the mid-20th century, a nearby banyan tree forced its way through its brick walls and concrete floors, creating a ‘treehouse’ that looks like one of Angkor Wat’s baby cousins. Today, visitors can explore the whimsical site for a few dollars – there’s even an elevated walkway to help you navigate.

  • 45 Abandoned Places Around the World That Are Eerily Beautiful

    Teufelsberg, Berlin, Germany

    Adjacent to bustling Berlin lies Teufelsberg, a now-abandoned Cold War listening station. The station sits on top of a 262-foot artificial hill called Devil’s Mountain – basically a pile of WW II rubble covering up a Nazi military college. The US National Security Agency built the station so they could eavesdrop on East Berlin; it was abandoned after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Today it is a graffiti-covered ruin overlooking the city. Historical tours are offered almost every day, providing visitors views of both the radar domes and the city below.

  • 45 Abandoned Places Around the World That Are Eerily Beautiful

    The Island of the Dolls, Xochimilco, Mexico

    Despite its status as a World Heritage site (along with the centre of Mexico City, it’s a well-preserved example of Aztec life), Xochimilco has reached a certain amount of internet fame for something else – the Isla de las Muñecas, or Island of the Dolls. Hidden among the area’s many canals, the site is famous for the hundreds of dolls – and doll parts – hanging from trees and scattered among the grass. Although it looks more like a horror movie set than anything else, the chinampa (akin to an artificial island) used to be the actual residence of a now-deceased man named Julian Santana Barrera. After finding a dead girl’s body in a nearby canal, Barrera collected and displayed the toys in the hopes of warding off evil spirits. Daring souls can hire their own boat, try to convince the driver to pay the island a visit, and view it – along with decaying house and dangling dolls – safely from the water.

  • 45 Abandoned Places Around the World That Are Eerily Beautiful

    Varosha Beach Resort, Famagusta, Cyprus

    Once a popular beach destination for stars including Brigitte Bardot, the town of Varosha was abandoned during the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974. Its Inhabitants never returned to the beach-side resort, which stands just two miles away from the United Nations Buffer Zone separating Greece and Turkey’s administrative areas. The city of Famagusta is currently experiencing a meteoric rise in tourism, but Varosha has remained abandoned since it was hastily evacuated back in the Seventies, with cars still sitting in garages and clothing still hanging in shops. The only visitors today are members of the Turkish military, journalists, scientists and the occasional UN official.

  • 45 Abandoned Places Around the World That Are Eerily Beautiful

    Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia, USA

    The castle-like Eastern State Penitentiary was built in 1829 and immediately took solitary confinement to new levels. Prisoners lived alone, exercised alone and ate alone; when an inmate left his cell, a guard would cover his head with a hood so he couldn’t see or be seen. The prison had to abandon its solitary system, due to overcrowding, from 1913 and it closed in 1971. The site remained empty until it opened its doors to curious visitors in 1994, and now welcomes thousands of visitors every year, both for its museum and ghost tours.

  • 45 Abandoned Places Around the World That Are Eerily Beautiful

    Deception Island, Antarctica

    Deception Island is a tourist destination in Antarctica’s freezing South Shetland Islands, famous for its deserted whaling and research station. The station was abandoned many times between 1931 and 1969 due to volcanic eruptions, leaving behind the beached boats and rusting boilers you see today. Book a cruise with Lindblad Expeditions to explore the deserted site for yourself – if you’re lucky, you might even spot some chinstrap penguins and get to soak in a natural hot tub.

  • 45 Abandoned Places Around the World That Are Eerily Beautiful

    New York State Pavilion, Queens, New York USA

    Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens has hosted two World’s Fairs: one in 1939 and one in 1964. After the second fair closed, many of the buildings and pavilions were knocked down. A few still remain, however, which you might have unknowingly seen from your plane window if you’ve ever landed at LaGuardia. Aside from the 12-storey Unisphere, the most famous standing landmark is the New York State Pavilion, a UFO-shaped structure with an accompanying trio of observation towers. Proudly serving as a reminder of the futuristic themes of the bygone World’s Fairs, the pavilion is now undergoing restoration, with £18,500,000 in funding.

  • 45 Abandoned Places Around the World That Are Eerily Beautiful

    Crystal Palace Subway, Dulwich, London, UK

    Hidden under a four-lane road in south London, this railway station was originally built to connect the Crystal Palace High Level Station with the famous Crystal Palace, which was built for the Great Exhibition in 1851. The Palace was sadly destroyed by a fire in 1936, rendering the subway station completely useless – —but not destroyed. The station’s gorgeous red-and-cream tiled roof and octagonal pillars have remained standing, resembling architecture you might find in a Byzantine church. The Friends of Crystal Palace Subway organisation arranges tours of the station just a few times a year – other than that, this remains one of London’s most beautiful hidden gems.

  • 45 Abandoned Places Around the World That Are Eerily Beautiful

    Al Madam, United Arab Emirates

    Closely resembling Namibia’s Kolmanskop, Al Madam is yet another sand-buried village, this one located in a desert about 40 miles south-east of Dubai. The village – built in the 1970s and abandoned shortly after – is made up of two rows of houses and a mosque, all at least partially covered by the encroaching dunes. As with all ghost towns, Al Madam has a sort of haunted quality to it, made even spookier by the surrounding, seemingly endless sea of ochre sand.

  • 45 Abandoned Places Around the World That Are Eerily Beautiful

    Craco, Italy

    Founded in the 8th Century, the hilltop town of Craco had a rough go of things for several centuries, falling victim to landslides, wars and the Black Plague. The final straw was a 1980 earthquake, which forced all remaining residents to evacuate the city. It now sits in a state of slow decay, although it’s still a popular site for visitors. There are even a few annual religious festivals held in Craco from May to October, while off-season tourists can enjoy the city ruins and cliffside views.

  • 45 Abandoned Places Around the World That Are Eerily Beautiful

    Six Flags (formerly Jazzland), New Orleans, USA

    The Six Flags in New Orleans was one of the architectural casualties of Hurricane Katrina. The park was flooded and the water remained stagnant there for several weeks. It’s currently a pastel wasteland, full of skeletal rollercoasters, upside-down concession stands and terrifying decapitated clowns.

  • 45 Abandoned Places Around the World That Are Eerily Beautiful

    Bannerman Castle, New York, USA

    Scottish immigrant Francis Bannerman achieved his American Dream and made a mint collecting and selling army surplus goods (cannons, Civil War uniforms, etc). After a major purchase following the Spanish-American War, Bannerman had to find a larger space to set up shop. Luckily, he stumbled upon Pollepel Island on the Hudson River, a perfect place to erect a Scottish-style castle (as one does). Throughout the 20th century, the structure went through hell: a gunpowder explosion, a ferryboat crash, and a three-day fire. Conservation efforts have been protecting the castle since the 1990s.

  • 45 Abandoned Places Around the World That Are Eerily Beautiful

    City Hall Subway, New York City, USA

    It might seem impossible to find vaulted ceilings and chandeliers in a NYC subway stop. But that wasn’t the case in 1904, when this Rafael Guastavino-designed station opened directly below City Hall. Unfortunately, commuters chose speed over style, so the stop closed in 1940, as the Brooklyn Bridge station grew. Today, New York Transit Museum members can tour the station, and some passengers might get a lucky viewing: take the downtown 6 at Brooklyn Bridge and try to catch a glimpse as the train moves past the underground gem before switching to uptown.

  • 45 Abandoned Places Around the World That Are Eerily Beautiful

    Ryugyong Hotel, Pyongyang, North Korea

    You can thank the spirit of competition for this towering presence on Pyongyang’s skyline. In 1986, the Westin Stamford Hotel opened in Singapore and became the tallest hotel in the world. The Communist leadership of North Korea wanted to prove that their engineers could build something even grander, so construction on the Ryugyong Hotel began in 1987. More than 30 years – and roughly $750 million – later, this pyramidal building still sits unfinished (although people claimed to see LED panels light up on the hotel back in April 2018). Like most of the country to anyone outside it, the interior of the 105-storey hotel remains a mystery.

  • 45 Abandoned Places Around the World That Are Eerily Beautiful

    St George’s Church, Luková, Czech Republic

    Originally built in 1352, St George’s Church (Kostel Svatého Jiří) has had quite the history. The church was nearly destroyed by fires many times over the centuries, and its roof partially collapsed during a funeral service in 1968. After that event, the congregation became convinced the church was haunted and refused to enter; as a result, the building was stripped by robbers and fell prey to vandalism. That all changed in 2012, when an art student at the University of West Bohemia had an idea to draw visitors back to the church: a collection of 30 ghost sculptures sitting in the pews with their heads bowed. Today, tourists visit the ‘Ghost Church’ to snap photos and even sit among the unmoving spectres while praying (as of now, there are no signs of the installation being removed).

  • 45 Abandoned Places Around the World That Are Eerily Beautiful

    Buzludzha Monument, Kazanlak, Bulgaria

    The Buzludzha Monument was built towards the end of the Cold War by the Bulgarian Communist regime, who hoped it would serve as a prominent and official headquarters for the Bulgarian Communist Party. The UFO-esque building was the site of many state functions, with Lenin and Marx posters and a red-star ceiling setting the ambiance. The monument was abandoned and closed to the public in 1989, preventing sneaky explorers from venturing in to gaze at the otherworldly dome, but there are plans afoot for a preservation project.

  • 45 Abandoned Places Around the World That Are Eerily Beautiful

    Bodie, California, USA

    Once home to 10,000 people, Bodie boomed in the 1870s and 1880s, when gold was found in the hills surrounding Mono Lake. It’s now a State Historic Park, with some parts of the town preserved in a state of ‘arrested decay’ – think tables with place settings, and shops stocked with supplies.

  • 45 Abandoned Places Around the World That Are Eerily Beautiful

    Sarajevo Olympic Village, Bosnia and Herzegovina

    When Sarajevo hosted the Olympic Winter Games in 1984, the site was highly regarded for its natural beauty and skiing facilities. Then the Balkan War hit the city, and the Olympic Village became a graveyard of creaky chair lifts, weedy trails and hotel ruins. Although much of the athletic facilities still sit abandoned (such as the graffiti-covered bobsled track), there are signs, too, of regrowth and regained lustre. New hotels continue to pop up, and in 2010 a $12.7 million ski lift opened at one of the primary Olympic venues. If you’re willing to step around some rough edges, today you can find an Alps-worthy ski experience at a much lower price.

  • 45 Abandoned Places Around the World That Are Eerily Beautiful

    Aniva Lighthouse, Russia

    Aniva Island and its stately lighthouse were involved in a custody battle between Japan and Russia for around a century. The island flip-flopped many times between Russian ownership, Japanese ownership, and even a shared ownership. The Soviets finally took full control after WW II and added power to the lighthouse. It’s said that nuclear generators and mercury lubricants helped the structure operate partially by itself, but it faded due to abandonment after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

  • 45 Abandoned Places Around the World That Are Eerily Beautiful

    Balaklava Submarine Base, Crimea

    Nothing to see here folks, just an abandoned Soviet submarine base built during the Cold War. Hidden under the Crimean city of Balaklava (made famous by Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s narrative poem, Charge of the Light Brigade), the structure is covered by 56 metres of concrete and filled with now-empty tunnels that once housed some of the USSR’s most destructive weapons. Ever since the base was completely abandoned around 1993, visitors have been able to take tours of the derelict and mysterious site.

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