(Image: Ken Thomas, public domain)
When Hurricane Wilma swept across the Gulf of Mexico in 2005, the storm decimated the Mexican resort of El Cozumeleno. Later that year, battered abandoned buildings continued to litter the beach amid heavy reconstruction. El Cozumeleno is now back in business – a lucky survivor among myriad abandoned resorts across the world, that fell into dereliction at different times for different reasons. Lets take a look at some of the most impressive, mysterious and downright unlucky forgotten holiday destinations below.
Prora Nazi Resort, Germany
Prora is a tough-looking complex of eight identical structures, built as a Nazi beach resort between 1936 and 1939. It was never used for that purpose. Abandoned due to World War Two, Prora later housed refugees from Hamburg and female auxilary Luftwaffe personnel. The Soviet Army took control of the area in 1945, and the complex fell into abandonment after the break-up of the German Democratic Republic in 1990. Prora has since become a tourist attraction, and is considered a striking example of Third Reich architecture.
The stunning natural arch Puente del Inca (the “Inca’s Bridge”), spanning the Vacas River in Argentina’s Mendoza Province, is famous for its petrified surface and large stalactites, so much so that Charles Darwin paid it a visit in March 1835. Once home to a large thermal resort and spa, tourists arrived via the Transandine Railway. The train station (above) is now a museum, but the spa was abandoned long ago.
Varosha, Famagusta, Cyprus
Once a lively tourist haven in the city of Famagusta, Varosha has remained abandoned and strictly off-limits to urban explorers since the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus. It’s a far cry from the days when the elegant hotels and restaurants along JFK Boulevard and Leonidas hosted the likes Dame Elizabeth Taylor, with the abandoned buildings of Varosha now crumbling in ways that remind of The World Without Us.
Abandoned Resort on Bunaken Island, Indonesia
The tiny Bunaken Island – part of the Bunaken National Marine Park – located at the northern tip of Sulawesi, Indonesia, is known for its significant biodiversity and attracts scuba divers from all over the world. It seems strange, therefore, to find this resort abandoned despite a captive market. While the reasons for its abandonment are unclear, it could be down to a lack of tourist trade due to the economic downturn.
Sanzhi Pod City (“UFO Houses”), Taiwan
(Image: hey-gem, reproduced with permission)
Construction began on the retro-futuristic Sanzhi Pod City in Taiwan in 1978, but was abandoned in 1980 due to lack of investment and construction-related deaths. Also known as the “UFO Houses” on account of their saucer-like shape, or even the Ruins of the Future, Sanzhi aimed to attract U.S. military personnel serving in East Asia. While it never hosted a single tourist, the abandoned resort nevertheless found itself on the urban exploration map as thousands flocked to photograph the mysterious modern ruins – now destroyed.
This abandoned resort at Koshkol, on the shores of Lake Issyk Kul in Kyrgyzstan, looks more like an exhibition of foreboding Soviet architecture than a pleasant seaside getaway, which probably explains its near-desertion today. The beach umbrellas and lifeguard tower look time-warped alongside the crumbling concrete hotels and other abandoned buildings. Some of the structures even look as though they were never used.