All across the world, it’s easy to find bustling metropolises. Towns and cities overflowing with people going about their daily life, and it’s impossible to imagine those Abandoned Places without people.
But sometimes that’s what happens. Sometimes, an entire city is silenced in hours, not in minutes. Today, we’re counting down abandoned places in the world and their stories. Be warned, some of these entries are pretty shocking.
Top 10 Abandoned Places In The World And Their Stories
10. Centralia, USA
In 1980, Centralia, Pennsylvania was a small but bustling ex-mining town with over 1,000 residents. These amazing abandoned places in our lists.
But by 2013, only ten people remained. Why? Well, that would be because of the raging coal mine fire that’s been burning underneath the town since 1963.
Mining in Centralia ceased in the 1960s, leaving behind a huge labyrinth of mining tunnels that snake their way under the town.
It’s thought that fire consumed those tunnels during an operation in 1962 to clean up the town’s landfill.
Trash was set on fire, as was usual Centralia’s method of cleaning up, but this time it’s thought that the fire wasn’t properly extinguished and it made its way down into the tunnels.
It wasn’t until 1979 that locals became aware of the scale of the problem when a gas station owner found that the temperature in his underground gas tanks was 172 F or 77.8 C, which obviously could have been extremely dangerous. The fire still rages on to this day and the town’s property has been condemned and its ZIP code discontinued.
State officials decided to let seven people live out the rest of their lives there, at which point Centralia will become a real ghost town.
9. Oradour-sur-Glane, France
Before WWII erupted, the small French village of Oradour-Sur-Glane was a quiet, happy and peaceful place.
But all that changed in 1944 when the German Waffen SS arrived and massacred all but six of the village’s residents. 642 people lost their lives that day, including over 200 children.
In what became known as the Nazis’ worst atrocity in abandoned places in Western Europe, locals were gathered in the village square before the men were taken to six barns and the women and children to the church.
The men were machine-gunned down and then their bodies, some of which were still living, were set alight.
Only five men survived. The women and children in the church weren’t spared the Nazi brutality – grenades were thrown inside and only a single woman emerged with her life intact.
After the horror subsided it was decided that the village would neither be rebuilt nor demolished.
Instead, it was decided that Orandour-Sur-Glanewould remain exactly as it was on that unimaginable Saturday afternoon in 1944.
Visitors to the site of the village can learn more about the horrific attack at a beautiful memorial centre and can walk around the village which has been frozen in time.
8. Pripyat, Ukraine
Pripyat is perhaps the most famous ghost town in the world and the accident that caused it will go down in history as possibly the worst ever.
The Chernobyl disaster took place in April 1986, when a reactor at a nuclear power plant exploded, spewing plumes of lethal radiation into the air.
Despite the immediate threat to life, nearby Pripyat wasn’t immediately evacuated.
In fact, residents didn’t even know what had happened. This was partly due to the fact that Chernobyl was run by authorities in Moscow, and crazily enough, the government of Ukraine was kept in the dark after the incident.
It was a few hours later when several people suddenly fell ill with headaches, fits, and vomiting that officials finally decided to take action.
It took 36 hours for the official order to evacuate to come through. Originally, the evacuation was only planned for three days, but it soon became evident that residents would never be able to set foot inside the town again.
Around 116,000 people left their homes in the days that followed the nuclear disaster, and their worldly possessions remain there to this very day.
7. Plymouth, West Indies
The residents of Plymouth on the Caribbean island of Montserrat knew that they were in trouble in 1995 when the previously inactive Soufrière Hills volcano showed signs of an imminent eruption.
From July of that year, pyroclastic flows surged into town and ash fell from the skies. Residents were evacuated as a precaution but they were allowed back a few months later.
Then, in 1997 the volcano blew again, destroying 80% of the town and smothering the entire area in almost five feet or 1.5 meters of ash. 19 people were killed and the town’s 4,000 inhabitants were immediately displaced.
The entire southern half of Montserrat was declared an exclusion zone and this is still in force today because of continuing volcanic activity.
This was catastrophic for the entire island’s economy, and between 1995 and 2000, around two-thirds of its population fled to other countries.
Now, the island’s population is around 5,000, which is a drastic drop from 13,000 in 1994.
6. Kolmanskop, Namibia
Kolmanskop is a deserted town in southern Namibia. The settlement was always small but the area was extremely rich thanks to a single diamond that was accidentally found by a worker in 1908.
That lucky find gave away that the area was extremely abundant with diamonds, and German miners quickly moved in and created a settlement.
The settlement grew rapidly, and the buildings were created in the architectural style of a German town.
There was so much wealth in the area that Kolmanskop was the first place in the southern hemisphere to have an x-ray station and the first place in Africa to have a tram.
But, as the diamond resources were depleted, so did the town’s population.
The area’s demise was expedited by the discovery of the richest diamond-bearing deposits ever known, around 270 kilometres or 167 miles south of Kolmanskop.
Residents deserted the town to join the rush to the south, leaving most of their possessions behind.
The town was finally abandoned in 1957 and tourists can now walk through sand-filled houses which are still standing deserted today.
5. Bojayá, Colombia
Colombia has been plagued by decades of civil war and terrorism, and in 2002, the smalltown of Bojayá added its civilians to the list of almost a quarter of a million people that have died in the ongoing conflict.
On May 2nd, Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, stormed the town in an attempt to seize control of the Atrato River region.
Around 500 residents hid inside the church with the hopes of staying out of harm’s way, but it wasn’t to be.
A mortar bomb smashed through the church roof and killed 119 people, including 45 children.
Since that day, Bojayá has been a ghost town and although there are plans to rebuild it, the exact location of the massacre will be left alone as a reminder of that horrific day.
4. Hashima Island, Japan
Hashima Island is just 15 kilometres or 9 miles off the coast of Japan. It’s widely known as Gunkanjima or Battleship Island because of its uncanny resemblance to a warship from the sky.
The island came to life in the late 19th century when it was established as an undersea coal mining site.
Some of the world’s earliest high-rise residential buildings were erected in 1916 for the coal miners and their families to live in, and from that time the population grew and grew.
By 1959, Hashima had 5,259 people packed onto it, which made it one of the most densely populated places on Earth. Then in the 1960s, everything started to change.
Gas was becoming Japan’s primary fuel source and coal reserves were getting low, so the Mitsubishi-owned mines were finally closed down in 1974.
With no reason to stay, the coal miners and their families jumped ship, quickly turning the island into a ghost town.
It’s possible to visit the island today, but you’ll need permission from the council and a compelling reason to go – and wanting to get photos for Instagram probably isn’t a good enough reason.
3. Famagusta, Cyprus
Famagusta is a city in Cyprus and Varosha was once its most-happening quarter.
Prior to the mid-70s, it was a popular tourist area and its beaches were packed all year round.
But in 1974, that all changed when Turkey invaded and took control of the area.
Varosha’s residents fled and the area has remained under the occupation of Turkish armed forces ever since.
Entry to the area is totally forbidden and would-be trespassers would be risking their lives to sneak in. It’s possible to see the area from a safe viewpoint though.
Through binoculars, the empty, silent streets and deserted buildings are visible. And, without human intervention, nature is reclaiming the area.
Buildings are decaying and plants are working their roots into houses and pavements. Sea turtles have even been seen nesting on the abandoned beaches.
Who knows what will happen, but for now there seems to be no possibility of the area being repopulated.
2. Pyramiden, Norway
Very few things in life sound as creepy as Soviet ghost town, especially when you factor in its location in the Arctic Circle.
But if you head to Pyramiden, that’s exactly what you’re going to find. Located in Svalbard, an archipelago between Norway and the North Pole, Pyramiden has been deserted since 1998.
The Soviet Union-owned settlement was built for mining purposes and was once home to around 1,000 residents.
Pyramiden was almost entirely self-sufficient in its heyday and had plenty of modern amenities including a pub and a gym.
But those Soviet glory days weren’t to last– a downturn in Russia’s economy led to low salaries, poor living conditions, and unhappy workers.
The final nail in Pyramiden’s coffin, though, was a tragic plane crash that killed 141 Pyramiden workers and their families.
The settlement never recovered and was deserted by the 300 or so workers that were still thereby 1998.
Those families left everything behind, and visitors can still see mining supplies and equipment exactly as it was leftover two decades ago.
1. Time Beach, Missouri
The town of Times Beach, Missouri, was once home to 2,000 people. That is until it was discovered that the entire population had been accidentally poisoned for ten years.
It was 1972 when officials in Times Beach paid for waste oil to be sprayed on the town dirt roads.
This was a normal practice and 160,000 gallons of seemingly harmless oil was dumped all across the town’s tracks to reduce the amount of dust in the air.
But what officials didn’t realize is that the waste oil actually contained dioxin, a highly toxic chemical that is said to be 170,000 times as deadly as cyanide.
It took ten years for the contamination to be confirmed. Fortuitously, soil sampling was completed just one day before Times Beach suffered its worst flood in history.
The entire town was ordered to escape the rising river water, and while they were gone it was recommended by the Centers for disease control that the town not be re-inhabited due to concerns over the health effects of such extreme dioxin exposure.
The state and the federal government paid $36.7 million to 30 businesses and 800 residential property owners to leave.
And it cost a further $200 million to clean the area up. Today it’s home to Route 66 State Park, which is completely safe to visit.