The combination of excitement and danger in these photos arouses some contradictory feelings — you are afraid to look, yet you can’t take your eyes off them. The way nature can make humans seem like they’re nothing at all makes you think of your own insignificance in the face of time.
Sanzhi ghost town, Taiwan
This town was planned as a luxurious seashore resort for local wealthy men, but when the construction began, the oddities began, too. Dozens of workers died, having fallen from high above (even with safety ropes on) or crushed by broken cranes. The locals believed the town to be inhabited by evil spirits. There were terrifying stories of Japanese death camps that had been situated around there a long time ago. Naturally, by the end of 1980s, the construction halted. The apartments were left empty, but the local government is still preserving the town because the people believe that demolishing it will let the evil spirits loose.
Beelitz abandoned military hospital, Germany
The town that this hospital is situated in is 25 miles (40 km) away from Germany’s capital. In the times of WWI and WWII, the hospital was actively used by the military. In 1916, Adolf Hitler himself was admitted there. Citizens left the town in 1995, and it has been deteriorating ever since.
Floor #8 of the ’Dagdiesel’ plant, Makhachkala, Dagestan
This marine weaponry test facility was commissioned in 1939, is situated roughly 1.5 miles (2.7 km) from the coast, and has long been abandoned. Its construction was lengthy and difficult due to the building conditions. Unfortunately, the floor served for a very short time: in April of 1966, after the requirements for the work done there had changed, the grand building was decommissioned from the plant. Today, this hulk stands deserted in the Caspian Sea, looking like a great ancient beast from the shore.
Lier mental asylum, Norway
The Norwegian psychiatric hospital in a small town of Lier, located half an hour’s car ride from Oslo, has a dark history. Patients underwent experimental methods of treatment, and in 1985, four buildings were left in a hurry for no obvious reason. All the equipment, beds, and even the hospital logs and personal effects of the inmates stayed in the deserted facilities. It’s interesting, however, that the remaining eight buildings still operate as usual.
Gunkanjima Island, Japan
The real name of this island is Hashima, but it was nicknamed ’Gunkanjima,’ which means ’battleship island.’ It was first settled in 1810 when charcoal was found there. In the following fifty years, it became the most densely populated island in the world. 5300 people lived there but the radius of the island itself was only about a half a mile. In 1974, however, the charcoal and other fossil sources were depleted, and people gradually left Gunkanjima. Access to the island today is restricted, but the locals have quite a few stories to tell about this place.
Kowloon Walled City, Hong Kong, China
This city was located in Hong Kong, but the Chinese government had no real power there, as it was ruled by the mob. It eventually created its own government. Prostitution and drug trafficking prospered there. In addition, the city-within-the-city was not devoid of industry — it produced, on a semi-primitive level, noodles and other small items. The produce of such enterprises cost a ton of money, as there were no taxes and employment laws were blatantly defied. The district also had its own nursing home, kindergarten, and school district. The population density in the early ’90s was about 2 million people per square mile. It is then that the painstaking process of eviction began, and by 1995, the namesake park was opened in place of the city. Some of the historical artefacts were preserved, such as the Yamen building and the remains of the South Gate.
Abandoned Hotel del Salto, Colombia
In 1924, a luxurious hotel called Refugio El Salto was established in the town of San Antonio del Tequendama, but it was soon closed due to the much-too-frequent suicides of the guests. This place is shrouded in an aura of mystery and is rumored to be haunted.
San Juan Parangaricutiro church, Mexico
The church, located in a village with the same name, was buried in lava in 1944 along with the whole village when the Paricutin volcano erupted. However, the altar and the bell-tower stayed miraculously intact amidst the ruins of the church itself; the protruding cones of hardened lava look like they’re from another planet.
Shi Cheng underwater city, China
This incredible city is 1341 years old. Shi Cheng, or the Lion City, was flooded during the construction of a hydro power plant. The city got completely submerged and is now surrounded by one of the most picturesque man-made lakes of the 1078 islands.
Kolmanskop ghost town, Namibia
The ghost town of Kolmanskop was founded in a place where small diamonds were once found — they were brought there by an ocean wind. Large and beautiful houses, a school, a hospital, and a stadium were built there; the rural settlement soon transformed into an exemplary German town. Everyone had high hopes of prosperity and longevity, but alas, the ’diamond stock’ was soon depleted, and the inhabitants left the city, having trouble with water and sandstorms. Most of the houses that were built are buried in sand, which creates a dark atmosphere.
This is an abandoned city two miles away from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. After the catastrophe of 1986, the town became a part of the exclusion area and, consequently, an image of the frightful power of nuclear energy. Tours are organized there today, and stalkers roam the streets. The place still enchants many, and more and more urban legends are born there every year.
Nara Dreamland theme park, Japan
The park was established in 1961 but closed in the late ’90s because of underfunding. It had all the attributes of a typical amusement park: a roller coaster, carousel, castle, water slides, arcade machines, and much more. Now it’s clean and quiet, there is almost no graffiti, and all of the buildings still have their equipment and facilities.
Michigan Central Station, USA
The station was constructed in 1913, and for some time, it was a large railway park. But on January 5, 1988, the last train left its rails. The next day the station was closed, and the building has been slowly crumbling since.
Communist Party Headquarters, Bulgaria
The place where the Bulgarian Communist Party meetings were held looks eerie both on the inside and outside. This building, resembling a UFO, was abandoned after the fall of the communist regime. Today the site looks quite sinister.
Sunken yacht, Antarctic
This creepy ghost ship is actually a Brazilian yacht that was wrecked in the Ardley Cove. Brazilians tried to shoot a documentary about the ship, but strong winds and the stormy sea made them leave the site.
Sunken plane, Turkey
This plane was used as a transporter by a Turkish paratroop regiment in World War 2. It was deliberately sunk in the waters of Cas, Turkey, in July 2009 to create an underwater playground for freedivers. Now it’s the perfect place for shrimp, tropical fish, and fearless divers at the bottom of the Mediterranean.
After draining rivers in Paris and London, the following treasures were found:
- 20 safes full of money
- Guns and automatic rifles
- Wallets, jewelry, and cameras
- Several bikes and motorbikes
- Working 2nd World War hand grenades
It just so happens that, because of tourists, criminals, and adrenalin chasers, rivers in big cities are full of stuff — we’re practically walking over it!
Preview photo credit Paris Autrement