50 Incredible Ghost Towns and Abandoned Cities of the World

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The world boasts numerous abandoned settlements that span modernity, from remote ghost towns to vast deserted cities.  Some, like Pripyat in Ukraine, have become notorious symbols of human-caused disaster, while others have fallen into decay due to economic decline, civil war, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.  Some abandoned towns and ghost cities are so isolated that they have become like time capsules, almost untouched since their last occupants departed generations ago.  Join us as we travel across the continents to explore 50 of the world’s most impressive deserted settlements.

Abandoned Towns and Cities of Europe

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The history of Europe’s abandoned towns and ghost cities is often bloody, with many beautiful old settlements turned to crumbling shells through war and conflict.  From the Spanish Civil War to World War Two, villages like Oradour-sur-Glane and Belchite are eerie remnants of lost grandeur that may ironically be better known in abandonment than the were before.  But it’s not all tragedy: Europe is also home to lost mining settlements and military training villages – read more.

Abandoned Towns and Cities of Eurasia

(Images: English Russia, Vikimach, cc-sa-3.0, Alsandro, public domain)

Covering almost 21 million square miles of the Earth’s surface, it’s no surprise that the “supercontinent” Eurasia is a repository of ghost cities, lost towns and remote settlements long since deserted.  From eerie abandoned holiday resorts such as Varosha in Famagusta, Cyprus, to mining settlements and the forgotten towns of Azerbaijan, Eurasia is home to some of the most impressive ghost towns on Earth – read more.

Abandoned Towns and Cities of Asia

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Click here to explore six of the most incredible abandoned cities of Asia, from the romantic and enigmatic ghost town at Kayakoy in Turkey to Hashima “Battleship” Island and the bizarre remains of the Sanzhi Pod City “UFO houses” in Taiwan.  Other cities like Beichuan in China were tragically brought to their knees by earthquakes, while Kowloon Walled City in Hong Kong was such an notorious shanty that it was demolished and replaced by a garden – read more.

Abandoned Towns and Cities of Africa

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Africa boasts a diverse collection of ghost towns ranging from small deserted settlements torn apart by civil war to beautiful colonial capitals such as Grand-Bassam in Côte d’Ivoire.  Explore a selection of them in this article, including the 13th century trading centre at Chinguetti in Mauritania (complete with former French Foreign Legion fort) and wealthy German mining town at Kolmanskop, Namibia – read more.

Abandoned Towns and Cities of Oceania

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Like other New World abandonments, the ghost towns of Oceania – focusing mainly on Australia and New Zealand in this article – often rose and fell with the tough mining industry that brought thousands of settlers to the region before natural resources were depleted and markets dried up.  Despite starting small, many, such as Cassilis, Ravenswood and Wittenoom, became booming industrial towns before finally falling into decline – read more.

Abandoned Towns and Cities of North America

(Images: Arne Listcc-sa-3.0R.P. Hoblitt, public domain; Proper Picturescc-3.0Jflo23cc-sa-3.0)

Abandoned towns and cities of North America might conjure images of Wild West ghost towns like Bodie and Rhyolite, but there’s far more to this continent in terms of lost cities than the lawless camps of the Old West.  This article explores a range of places, from the evacuated towns of Times Beach and Centralia to the incredible modern ruins of Plymouth, Montserrat, which was destroyed by a volcano in 1995.  We’ll also visit Canada and Saint-Pierre and Miquelon – read more.

Abandoned Towns and Cities of South America

(Images: rewbs.soal, cc-sa-3.0Hermann Luyken (left , right) cc-sa-3.0)

South America is home to some of the most impressive abandoned towns and ghost cities on Earth, from the architecturally striking and colourful (Humberstone and Sewell, Chile) to the tragic (Armero, Colombia) and the sinister (Jonestown, Guyana).  Join us on this tour of deserted South American settlements, which also explores Henry Ford’s failed rubber plant at Fordlândia, Brazil, and the Chilean town of Chaitén which became another volcanic victim in 2008 – read more.

Abandoned Settlements of Antarctica

(Images: o_thomasyNC-ND-2.0Amanda GrahamCC-NC-ND-2.0; WofratzHannes GrobeCC-SA-3.0)

Adventure, exploration and dogged determination are woven into the fabric of Antarctica – a distant continent that embodies Man’s efforts to conquer the South Pole.  Not merely the final resting place of Anglo-Irish explorer Ernest Shackleton, Antarctica is a repository of untouched history, with decaying factory ships beached at the abandoned whaling stations they once served, and deserted research stations that have remained frozen in time for decades.  From Deception Island to Grytviken, Antarctica’s abandonments are some of the most lonely in the world – read more.


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