There's something hauntingly beautiful about abandoned places. They're areas that were once teeming with life, but have now been forgotten. They stand empty as the modern world passes them by, waiting for somebody to come and discover them again. Walking through them is like seeing a window into the past. We've put a collection of them together for you right here in this list. Strap yourself in for a journey through these forgotten relics.
If you've ever felt the urge to go and take a look around a location that's quiet and derelict, you're not alone. A quick visit to YouTube will reveal that there are hundreds of channels run by people who do exactly that - they call themselves 'urban explorers,' - they explore history!
You don't need to grab a torch, crawl through a fence, or get dirty and dusty to check some great abandoned locations out for yourself, though.
Planes are incredibly expensive to build, and even more expensive to buy. You'd have thought that once one's been completed, someone will care for it for the rest of its useful life. You'd be wrong.
We don't know how this old TU-144 supersonic passenger jet came to be abandoned on the outskirts of Kazan City, but we do know it's been there for a long time. According to the people who've been for a closer look, the engine is still in place, and the moving parts still work. Could it fly again?
The Devil's Bridge
It's almost criminal that something so beautiful could fall into disuse, but it has. The person you see in the picture is breaking the law; nobody has been allowed to cross the Devil's Bridge in Rakotzbrucke, Germany, for years.
The law has been put there to protect this strangely beautiful feature. The bridge is delicate, and crumbling away. One day it will fall into the water below it, thus ending the optical illusion of a perfect circle that it creates.
An Antarctic Shipwreck
The human race has long had a fascination with shipwrecks, hence the public's fascination with the Titanic. This is not the Titanic - it's the 80-foot-long Mar Sem Fin, a Brazilian shipwreck that seems to glow eerily beneath the icy water.
Mar Sem Fin was on a scientific research mission when it became trapped in ice during a heavy windstorm in April 2012, and had to be abandoned. Fortunately, the crew escaped. The ship has been alone ever since.
The Lost Store of Fukushima
When a nuclear disaster happens, you have to run away from it as quickly as possible. You can't wait around to pick up your valuables, and you may not be able to return for your possessions for years. That leads to scenes like this.
This is a shop in Fukushima, Japan, which was left in haste when the power station there melted down in 2011. Thousands of dollars' worth of goods are scattered across the floor, and the cash register is full. It's just one example from a whole ghost town.
It looks like a picture postcard, but this is a real abandoned location! It's McDermott's Castle in Ireland, hidden away on Lough Key. There's been a castle at the site since the 12th century, although it's been empty for centuries.
The McDermott family lived at the castle until they lost their claim to the island in 1586. Nobody came in to replace them, and nature set about the task of reclaiming the land. Trees and plants now grow through the cracked and broken stonework.
Christ of the Abyss
Who builds a statue where nobody can see it? This is the work of Italian sculptor Guido Galletti, and represents Jesus Christ looking up to the heavens from beneath the waves. Very few people ever come to visit him.
'Christ of the Abyss' was first installed in 1954 as a tribute to Italian scuba diver Dario Gonzatti. It had to be pulled out of the water in 2003 for an intensive cleaning and restoration operation, but was then returned to its lonely watch.
Overgrown by trees in a dream-like location, this cottage in Stradbally, Ireland, looks like it's been drawn from the pages of a book of fairytales. It hasn't, though - it's very much real, and it's very much forgotten.
The cottage is a curious construction- it's only one room deep, and the roof looks almost blue when the sun shines on it. It's thought a hermit lived here many years ago, but it's been empty since the 1800s. As it's miles from civilization, we're not surprised.
The Ferris Wheel That Never Turns
Of all the things that become abandoned, fairgrounds might be the saddest. They were once full of families laughing together, but they become hulking, rusting piles of junk once the gates are closed.
This Ferris Wheel might be the saddest example of all. It's the only thing left from Kenjonuma Leisure Land in Japan, which shut down in 2000 after thirty years in business. All the other rides were sold for the scrap, but the big wheel still stands alone.
Holland Island's Last Outpost
Building houses right on the edge of the water generally isn't wise. Coastal erosion is not your friend, and it will wear down any substance over time. 360 people once called Holland Island home, and back in the early 20th century it was a rapidly growing community.
Unfortunately, the effects of erosion were becoming an issue in the Chesapeake Bay as early as 1914. No amount of masonry and sea defense building did anything to fix the problem, and Holland Island had to be abandoned. By 1922 it was completely empty.
The Car Graveyard
We spend so much time in our cars that they almost become a second home, so it's sad when they get left behind, with no distance left to run. Here's a whole collection of them rusting in the open air in Chatillon, Belgium.
The cars were all owned by American soldiers during the Second World War. When the war ended, the soldiers were unable to take their vehicles home with them, and so they were driven to the top of a hill and then abandoned.
The Shadow of the Volcano
The immediate surroundings of an active volcano probably aren't the greatest place to build your home. That didn't stop the locals of Karo, Indonesia building around Mount Sinaburg, although they quickly learned the error of their ways.
When the volcano erupted in 2010, the residents fled in terror. Some of them came back afterward, but a second eruption in 2015 proved to be the final straw. All these homes (and the ornate church) are now empty, and ever shall be.
The Selma Plantation
This mini-mansion in Virginia, USA, is known as the Selma Plantation. It's had a whole host of rich owners down the years, but lost some of its luster after a serious fire several decades ago. The family living there at the time didn't have insurance, so they simply walked away.
Since 2016 it's been owned by someone who plans to refurbish it, but the work hasn't started yet. In the meantime, there are plenty of dusty relics of the past still waiting inside, including a whole grand piano.
The Old Fishing Hut
This ramshackle wooden hut on the edge of Obersee Lake in Germany is something of a mystery. It's in a remote location, and nobody knows who built it. The local authorities say that nobody ever asked for permission to put it there, and they have no record of its construction.
Our best guess is that it once provided shelter for some fishermen (or perhaps even one fisherman) who liked the seclusion and privacy of the lake - but it looks like it's been years since their last visit.
The Yellow House
This beautiful family home in Nova Scotia is so pretty that it's hard to believe that nobody cares for it - but they don't. The walls were presumably painted in that vivid shade of yellow to match the dandelions which grow all around it.
Unfortunately, Nova Scotia has endured something of an exodus in recent years because of a lack of job opportunities for the young in the area. That means nobody comes to live in the homes of the older generation after they pass away, and they become forgotten.
The Water Beetle
What are we looking at here? A case of very bad parking? Actually, no. This classic Volkswagen Beetle was sunk to the bottom of the sea bed on purpose. It's part of a unique underwater museum that can be found in Cancun, Mexico.
To tell you the truth, it isn't even a real car at all. It's a convincing replica, which has been rendered from 8 tons of concrete. There are more than 500 sculptures down there, which are intended to help repair a coral reef system damaged by overfishing.
Russia's Lost Spaceship
At the height of the space race, the Soviet Union built an alternative to the American space shuttle. It was called Buran, it cost millions of dollars, and it only went up into orbit once. The whole space program it was part of was called off in 1991 when the USSR collapsed.
Since then, the Buran has been hiding inside the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. It's a priceless piece of history, but it's been forgotten even by its own country.
Farmhouse of Horror
This may look like a chilling scene from a horror movie, but there's nothing especially sinister about it. It's just a derelict farmhouse in Ontario, Canada. As towns creep up on lands that were once fields, farms become financially unviable, and then get left behind.
What doesn't make sense about this picture is the grass. How is it that the house has been left to rot, but someone's still coming back to tend to the lawn? Maybe there is something sinister about it after all!
A Red Sea Shipwreck
There are many shipwrecks to be found at the bottom of the Red Sea - it's a particularly unforgiving stretch of water. This one is more picturesque than most, though. Experts think it might be an old Russian fishing trawler by the name of 'Khanka.'
While we're calling it a fishing trawler, the dive team who located it in 1988 noted that it had a lot of surveillance equipment on board. That lends credence to the theory that not all of the Russian fishing boats of years past were used exclusively for fishing.
The Lost Swinger's Palace
The Playboy Mansion has often been used as a byword for luxury over the years. We imagine that most people don't have an image like this in mind when they think about what it must look like.
In fairness to Hugh Hefner's former home, this isn't the original Playboy mansion. It's the abandoned Tiki Palace of Billy Hull, who owned a strip club in Tennessee back in the 1970s. It's definitely seen better days since he was forced to relinquish it. It could use some refurbishment.
The Billionaire's Retreat
Once upon a time in Bulgaria, there was a man named Pancho Semov - a billionaire so rich that he was known in the local press as 'The Rockefeller of Bulgaria.' He had this mansion built to his own design, and when he died, he kindly left it to the local community in his will. He wanted it to become a school, or a retirement home.
It was ultimately used for a noble purpose, but not as Semov envisioned. His mansion became an isolation ward for people suffering from tuberculosis. After that, it was left to fall apart.
A Great British Relic
This proud old British warship might not be looking its best right now, but we should cut it some slack. It's been at the bottom of the water in the Great Lakes since it sank during a storm in 1780. Nobody saw it again until divers finally located it in 2008.
The ship is the HMS Ontario, and is considered a sea grave on account of the fact that none of the crew survived the sinking. That means it will never be raised from where it is, and will remain abandoned for all eternity.
No Trains Today
Train tracks and train stations only stay in use for as long as it makes commercial sense for trains to run on them. The moment that's no longer the case, the route is closed down, and the tracks end up looking like this.
This is just one of several rotting, forgotten stretches of track in Pennsylvania, USA. It was once a busy railroad bridge, but it was rendered obsolete by the popularity of the automobile. Now it's nature's climbing frame.
There isn't always lightning crackling through the sky above this abandoned property in Nebraska, USA, but it makes for a fantastic picture if you can catch it at the right time! It would take a brave photographer to head out onto the hills under such an evil sky.
Nothing is known about the shack of a house itself. It looks to have been left alone for decades. Whoever lived there had an incredible view of the countryside once, and must have enjoyed the solitude.
The Harley Junkyard
Harley Davidson motorcycles are supposed to be the ultimate in two-wheeled luxury, so it hurts our hearts to see so many of them left in such a state. We'd call the police to report it - but it turns out it's the police's fault they're here!
All of the bikes once belonged to the police of Lima, Peru, who used them as standard issue service bikes. Unsurprisingly, the maintenance of the bikes was prohibitively expensive, and so they scrapped them all instead of paying the bills.
The Haunted Hotel
We don't have any evidence to prove that this abandoned hotel in Colombia is really haunted, but it certainly looks like it should be. On top of that, it has a sad history. Because it's on the edge of a cliff, it became a suicide hotspot while it was open.
It wasn't those sad events that led to its closure, though. Pollution in the nearby Bogota River made the whole area stink, and so the guests simply stopped coming, and the hotel business failed.
The Waterfall Tunnel
This is probably the most beautiful railway tunnel in the world, and it's in Australia. It's also disused, which is a crying shame. The Helensburgh Tunnel opened in 1880, but quickly became the victim of advances in technology.
When the steam locomotive became popular, two lines were required instead of just one. The tunnel only had room for one line, and so it was cut from the route. Until recently, tourists were allowed to come and walk through it, but vandalism put paid to that practice.
The Grand Old Station
This imposing building in Michigan was supposed to be the central rail station, but it was repurposed before it was even completed. Building work started in 1913, and World War One broke out the following year. The military requisitioned the station, and used it for troop deployment.
When World War Two followed 25 years later, the station was once again put to work for the military, but there was no longer a purpose for it after the war ended. It's stood empty for decades, but may soon become a car factory.
The World's Loneliest Car
There's something almost romantic about this picture, as if this old Volkswagen Beetle has driven itself down to the beach to think about its place in the universe as the sun goes down. Sadly, it's just another case of abandonment.
Lagoon Beach in Milnerton, South Africa, is notorious for its boggy sands. Drive too far across it, and your wheels will get stuck. That's probably what happened here - although we have no idea why the owners never came back for it.
The Hobbit House
Someone must have wanted to live in on this street in San Francisco really badly. When they found that no homes were for sale, they simply built their own tiny little wooden residence in between two of the larger buildings.
Having put in so much effort to create this house in the first place, we don't know why anyone would abandon it. Perhaps the neighbors complained, or the local government pointed out that you can't just stick a house wherever you want one.
The Stranded SS America
They say the fate of a ship is determined by its name, so we wonder what fate had against the SS America? It had been through several name changes since it was built in 1940, but only ran into trouble when it was named in honor of its home country.
In the Second World War, the ship was used by the US Navy, and survived the conflict. It didn't survive a storm in 1994 which threw it aground and split it in two off the coast of the Canary Islands, though.
The Dixon Cove Wreck
Ships are homes for hundreds of people when they're afloat, and then callously forgotten about when they sink. The Dixon Cove Wreck is yet another example, although mystery surrounds the circumstances behind its sinking in Roatan, Honduras.
Some say that it was overloaded with marble, and simply sank. Others swear that it was attacked and set on fire. The more plausible explanation is that it was used during the Nicaraguan Revolution, and is a victim of that conflict. It certainly looks battered.
The Forgotten Mine
Back in the 19th century, if something valuable was found in the ground, and whole towns would build up around it. If you struck oil, people would flock to live in the area and try to find their fortune. The same was true of gold and silver, which is how this mining town was founded.
As you can tell from the images, this hastily-assembled mining town in Ontario, Canada, didn't really work out. There simply wasn't as much silver to be mined there as people originally hoped there might be.
The Sad Elephant
We imagine that Lucy the Elephant was a pretty revolutionary business idea for her era. Originally called 'Elephant Bazaar,' she opened up as a hotel in 1881, providing a quirky and unusual place for guests to stay in New Jersey.
Her wooden construction left her prone to fires, and she's endured several. By 1960, after a fire in the hotel bar, the building could take no more and was condemned. A local community group has been fighting against having it torn down for years.
The Powerless Station
A power station is only useful so long as it has fuel to burn, and people to supply with power. This vast station in Belgium, which opened in 1921, was once one of the biggest coal-burning centers in the entire country. All of Charleroi depended upon it for their energy supply.
As we now know, coal is neither efficient nor environmentally friendly. Research would later show that it caused 10% of all the carbon dioxide emissions in the whole of Belgium, and so it was shut down in 2007.
The Castle Of Failure
We don't usually believe in curses, but we might make an exception for Neuruppin Mansion, which is in Germany. Just building it bankrupted its first owner. Ludwig von Diebitsch went badly over budget on his mansion project, and was penniless by the time work was completed in 1877. He never lived a single day inside it.
The next owners tried to fund the upkeep of the mansion by growing sugar beet on the grounds, but the low-quality soil couldn't support the crops, and so they lost their money too. It was abandoned after World War Two.
Not-So Halcyon Days
If you're going to build a luxury hotel, conduct market research to ensure there's a demand for it first. That's what the original owners of Halcyon Hall failed to do in 1890, and that's why they had to let go of it ten years after it was built.
The next owners opened a school inside the building. That worked for a while, but they added too many extra buildings too quickly, and ran into insurmountable debt. The Bennett College went bankrupt in 1977, and nobody's been inside since.
Swallow's Nest Castle
Swallow's Nest Castle looks like something from a Disney movie. In fact, since Disney are so big on live-action remakes of classic films at the moment, we wouldn't be surprised if they came and shot something here. That way, this gorgeous building wouldn't be so lonely.
The location is the issue here. Swallow's Nest was built by a wealthy oil merchant in 1911, who hadn't given due consideration to how close to the cliff edge his development was. It's structurally unsound, and will one day fall into the sea.
The area around Moreton Island in Queensland, Australia, is outstandingly picturesque. It would be even more stunning if there weren't shipwrecks dotted all around it, so what are they doing there? The waters aren't particularly dangerous.
Ingeniously, these old wrecks have been put where they are on purpose. They're somewhere between an artificial harbor and a dam, creating just enough of a change in the ebb and flow of the water to make it safe for other ships to approach the island. They're the reason why the waters are so calm!
The Collapsing Castle
Castle building was once almost a national pastime in Italy. There are hundreds of them all over the country, and many of them are gradually falling into disrepair. Not all of them are as spectacularly ripped open as this one, though.
You can see from what's left of the ceiling here that this was once a palatial building, covered in fine art and frescoes. There simply aren't enough rich people in the country to take over the running of buildings like this when the original owners die, and so they become abandoned relics.
Not all houses are square or rectangular. Some people have, in the past, tried to push house-building into the future by constructing homes like this. They almost always fail, but we salute their ambition!
These particular domes, which are in Florida, USA, were solar-powered and environmentally friendly. For the 1980s, they were years ahead of their time. The one thing they weren't was hurricane-proof. Hurricane Wilma dealt them a fatal blow in 2005, and cut them off from the land at the same time by ripping up the coastline.
We could have chosen any image of Boyd in Oregon to show you, and they would all have carried an eerie sense of abandonment. The city has been a ghost town since 1955, when the Great Depression drove the price of wheat through the floor.
Wheat still grows all around this old house, but there's nobody there to reap it. Elsewhere in the time-capsule town is a grain elevator which is still functional, and stores with 1950s goods still on the shelves. Walking through it is like time travel.
The Gothic Church
Because this is a recent photo, you could be forgiven for thinking this gothic-looking church in Iceland is still open to worshippers. It isn't, but that hasn't stopped it becoming a popular photo-call spot for newlyweds who want some artistic pictures to celebrate their big day.
The wooden church is called Buoakirkja, and is in a prime piece of real estate on a beach. It's also been almost completely abandoned since 1703, although a restoration project in 1987 at least made it look respectable from the outside.
Six Flags, No Visitors
There might be no image more capable of conveying the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 than this. It's Six Flags theme park, which was once one of the most popular tourist attractions in New Orleans. Nobody's been on a ride here since the day the storm came.
Although New Orleans is recovering, Six Flags has been left empty. Nobody seems to be able to agree on whether to save it or to tear it down. We hope it's the former.
The Broken Asylum
Pavilionul de Bai in Romania's Valcea County looks like it was once a home fit for a prince or a king, but it never was. Instead, it was a mental health treatment facility, and it engaged in some pretty questionable practices. Electrotherapy and water torture were once practiced within its walls.
Not all of its history is horrible. After 1915, some pioneering work was done here on the treatment of lung diseases. Economic decline in the area during the Communist era saw funds dry up, and the building left to collapse in on itself.
Spiral To Nowhere
For those of you who love rollercoasters, this picture is bound to be annoying. It looks like it would be a fantastic one to ride, but nobody will ever be able to enjoy it again! This is the Screw Coaster, which was one of the main attractions at Nara Dreamland in Japan.
Nara Dreamland was supposed to be Japan's answer to Disneyland, but Disney ruined all of their fun when they opened a real Disneyland in Tokyo in the 1980s. After that, business dried up very quickly.
Rooms To Let
The most curious thing about the Atkins Hall Apartments in Ireland is that they're all unoccupied. Based on that, should they really be called apartments at all? Perhaps the storied past of the buildings put people off the idea of living there.
Back in the 1800s, the buildings formed one large mental health treatment facility, including a church and an infirmary. When the asylum closed, only half of it was converted into apartments. The other half has been left exactly as it was a century ago.
A Hole In The Earth
This looks like a Photoshop effect, or a still image from a disaster movie, but it's very real. It's the Mir diamond mine in Siberia, and it was scraped, dug, and exploited for half a century, providing millions of diamonds.
After starting work in 1957, the supply of diamonds dried up in 2001. Another ten years past before the operators finally gave up on it, and the gaping hole and the buildings around it have been abandoned for almost all of the past decade.
End of the Trail
Jiancing Historical Trail in Taiwan has had two leases of life during its long existence, but both of them have now come to an end. At first, it was a railway built for a logging company. When the logging topped, it became a popular hiking trail for locals and tourists alike.
That would probably still be happening now, but much of the trail was washed away by a typhoon in 2013. Only 900 meters of track survived the natural disaster, and even that isn't safe to walk on.
Switzerland has moved on from farming a lot faster than the rest of the world has. It only accounts for 4% of the country's industry - they just prefer to buy their farm goods in from abroad. That means farmhouses like this one have been left without a purpose, and therefore stand empty.
The ornate little house looks a little bit like a mushroom, and would make a beautiful home for somebody if it were given a little love and attention. Letting that roof collapse would be a travesty.
The Show's Over
Under normal circumstances, seeing a cute old theater like this one in a state of disrepair would be a cause for sadness. In this case, it isn't. It's a theater inside Norwich State Hospital in Connecticut - and it has a troubling history.
The rooms in the hospital were connected by underground tunnels, and complaints about what happened down in those tunnels are horrifying. We're talking beatings, torture, solitary imprisonment, and lots more. The 'hospital' was finally ordered to close in 1996.
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