12 Haunting Urban Ghosts of a Bygone Age

urban-ghosts-10 (All images by Odin’s Raven, reproduced with permission)

The world abounds with remarkable urban ghosts from the recent and distant past, haunting relics of long forgotten epochs hidden behind – and sometimes beneath – more modern layers of the urban landscape. Documented by urban explorers like Odin’s Raven, such places are fascinating yet cautionary, reminders that in time’s relentless march, even the greatest of man’s creations are one day destined for disuse and decay. This article showcases 12 modern ruins abandoned to the world of urban exploration, reflecting a variety of structures brought about by the progress and prosperity of the 19th and early 20th centuries.

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In cities across the world, abandoned mansions and other great buildings lie empty for myriad reasons. Perhaps the prosperous families that occupied them fell on hard times, or the structures themselves became inappropriate for their current use. The abandoned building above may have been a hospital which fell into disuse with the demand for more modern facilities.

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Over the decades, many churches have fallen victim to the changing nature of the times. From small chapels to parish churches and even vast cathedrals, dwindling congregations reflect shifting demographics and an increasingly secular society. Melancholy they may be, but abandoned churches like the one seen above in Pennsylvania make for compelling photographic subjects.

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As the machine age spurred on by the Industrial Revolution gave way to the information age and new technologies, many factories and heavy plants have ceased to operate, leaving behind some awesome machinery like that shown above.

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Whatever the original purpose of this abandoned building, its striking glass roof and wrought iron supports is similar in design to traditional Victorian swimming baths.

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Has this room been ransacked, or was its former owner just messy? Sure, the floor is strewn with books, but many more remain on shelves behind glass doors that appear not to have been smashed by vandals.

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This beautiful ceiling is supported by classical columns, beyond which a grand staircase leads up to an elegant gallery. But the peeling paint and plaster together with the collapsing ground floor ceiling reflect the utter decay within which the structure stands.

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Featured previously on Urban Ghosts, the magnificent Antwerp Stock Exchange building is well known to urban explorers and needs little introduction. Happily, this is one abandoned building poised for a new lease of life as a 5-star hotel.

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Victorian prisons are creepy places at the best of times, let alone after they’ve been abandoned and emptied of guards and convicts alike.

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Branded a “cathedral of swimming” when they opened in 1907, Moseley Road Baths in Birmingham is one of Britain’s most impressive surviving Edwardian swimming pools.

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It’s been many years since players stood on the stage of this abandoned theatre and gazed out onto a receptive audience in the stalls and circle balconies. Once full of life and laughter, an atmosphere of intensive gloom surrounds this elegant auditorium.

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Finally, sitting silently in a vaulted garage covered in decades of dust and dirt, this collection of classic cars appears to be frozen in time. Only time will tell whether they’ll once again take to the road – unlike the occupants of this vehicle cemetery in Switzerland.

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