Travel has always been the central theme of Urban Ghosts, from historic/unique places across the world to seemingly innocuous neighbourhood structures such as abandoned pubs, cinemas and theatres. Many places featured on this site are ignored by traditional travel publications, but nonetheless appeal to an audience far beyond their immediate location.
Castaway Cay is a resort island in the Bahamas owned exclusively by the Walt Disney Company. But the island’s history – tainted by drugs and crime – wasn’t always full of magic and wonder.
The western United States is famous for abandoned mines and ghost towns, but this slice of Old West history is notable because it occupies land overlooking the classified Groom Lake test site in Nevada, known to the world as Area 51.
Urban Ghosts has featured a variety of vehicle graveyards, but Cemitério das Âncoras – the Anchor Graveyard – on Ilha de Tavira in the Algarve region of Portugal, must be one of the most unique and poignant memorials around.
Derived from a Latin term meaning “equal night”, equinoxes occur twice a year when the Sun crosses the plane of the Earth’s equator. Sacred to pre-Christians and Neopagans to this day, the vernal equinox is a magical time that symbolises rebirth and the coming of spring.
Even in our modern world, an ancient Celtic tradition that transcends paganism and Christianity persists in the British Isles. Characterised by strips of cloth or rags hanging from trees, clootie wells remain places of pilgrimage reputedly bestowed with magical healing properties.
Atlantis, described by Plato in 360BC, is arguably the world’s most famous lost city. Debate over its existence has raged for thousands of years, but in the most compelling exploration to date, a team of archeologists claim to have discovered what could have been the doomed civilisation.
After transporting my great grandfather from Liverpool to Ellis Island, New York, RMS Carmania went on to rescue the survivors of SS Volturno before sinking the Cap Trafalgar at the Battle of Trindade during World War One. Explore her colourful history here, from design to scrapping in 1932.
This selection of chilling tales, from the bizarre Highgate Vampire to the sinister Bloody Mary, are told and retold around campfires and at parties across the world, and have been deeply enshrined within contemporary urban legend.
Ships and boats are ancient inventions whose rise parallels the spirit of human adventure. But the decline of shipbuilding has left waterways littered with abandoned docks, boats and even huge ships, that may not look pretty but provide a fascinating retrospective subject for photographers and maritime enthusiasts.
This stunning capture of the underground galleries at Fort de Roppe near Belfort, France, has featured as one of Wikimedia Commons’ pictures of the day. The underground galleries were built during the First World War to connect the fort to the troop shelter.
Ghost towns appear for a variety of reasons, from war and conflict to crime and failing economies. North America delivers further fascinating abandoned places, from familiar former mining towns to a city consumed by a modern day volcano and a community usurped through localised environmental catastrophe.
The sun may have set on the British Empire, but if there’s one bastion of Britishness that has refused to collapse it’s that centuries-old institution known as the local pub. Refused to collapse, that is, until recently, when economic hardship combined with poor management have driven many beloved watering-holes out of business.
After an exciting year for Urban Ghosts, we’d like to take this opportunity to recap the last 12 months and give you an idea of where we’re heading in 2011 – with some great photos thrown in for good measure!
The notorious sea mist that forms along the Dingle coast often conceals Great Blasket Island, with its wistful ruins that were once home to several noted writers.
Ossuaries are both fascinating and macabre places, but provide an economical solution to the problem of overcrowded churchyards. By categorising and stacking bones, countless human skeletons could be interred in a single – sometimes eerily decorative – tomb.