18 of the Most Stunning Abandoned Places on Earth

With an ever-growing population, it’s getting increasingly harder to find unoccupied places where the silence is deafening. Even for guides all over the world who thrive off social interactions, the occasional bout of solitude is necessary. And what better spots to find solace in than stunning places around the world that have been abandoned.

Perhaps it’s the quiet we’re drawn to, or maybe even the endearing loneliness, but buildings that have been abandoned, and now do little but collect moss, dust, rust and cracks, are always so serene. (Unless of course you’re in a haunted house, in which case the ghosts may not be so calming.) But architectural tour guides from Italy to India will show you breathtaking, age-old buildings that nature has started to envelop. And for those who like a thrill, adventure guides will take you to lonely cabins high in the mountains or sunken kingdoms where all you’ll hear is the sound of your own breathing.

For now, however, we’ll limit our explorations to the wonderful world of the internet. Here’s to the captivating passage of time and some of the most stunning abandoned places known to man.

The Maunsell Sea Forts, England

Built to help defend against potential German air or naval raids during WWII, the Maunsell Sea Forts near Britain’s Thames and Mersey rivers have also housed the likes of pirate radio operators and the Principality of Sealand, but they have now been unoccupied for almost seven decades.

Last House on Holland Island, U.S.A

In its day, Holland Island was a fairly successful small island colony in Chesapeake Bay, but rapid erosion of the island’s mud and silt coast wreaked havoc on nearby buildings. This charming house was the last one standing, and collapsed in 2010.

Pripyat, Ukraine

Pripyat is a radioactive ghost town, which explains why nobody lives there. The town used to be home to the workers of the nearby Chernobyl nuclear power plant, but they packed up and left after the plant melted down disastrously in the 1986 Chernobyl Disaster.

House of the Bulgarian Communist Party, Bulgaria

The former headquarters of Bulgaria’s Communist Party are two things: bizarre-looking and eerie.  The flying-saucer-like building was abandoned after the fall of the Soviet Union, but, believe it or not, plans are being made to restore it to its former “glory.”

Nara Dreamland, Japan

Modelled off of Disneyland, Nara Dreamland didn’t make it quite as well; it was only open from 1961-2006. Guards still patrol the amusement park, issuing fines to brave urban explorers.

Uninhabited Island in Southwest Florida, U.S.A.

These intriguing domed structures were built in 1981 to serve as the summer escape for Bob Lee, a moneyed oil producer. Who knows what their future will be, but one thing’s for certain: Bob Lee’s lost interest.

Michigan Central Station in Detroit, U.S.A.

This building’s decline, and eventual closure in 1988, has planning oversights and mistakes to blame. However, there is a silver lining: it has been used in several films and videos, including Eminem’s “8 Mile” film and “Beautiful” music video!

Sunken Yacht, Antarctica

This ghost ship (the Mar Sem Fim) was shipwrecked near Ardley Cove in Antarctica while a Brazilian crew were filming a documentary. Rest assured, however, the crew were unharmed.

The Haunting New Bedford Orphuem, U.S.A.

After closing its doors in 1959 (sadly, the theater and entertainment building located in Massachusetts was only open for 47 years), the New Bedord Orpheum has been used as a supermarket, as well as the storage of tobacco, and now the Orph Inc. nonprofit is trying to raise money to revitalize the building, turning it into something more related to it’s original intention.

Abandoned Wooden Houses, Russia

Regrettably, Russia has some stunning, intricately decorated wooden houses nestled deep in the country’s forests that are no longer inhabited. The good news, however, is that their isolation has kept them as intact as possible.

Underwater City in Shicheng, China

This movie-like underwater city is a staggering 1341 years old! Shicheng (“Lion City”) submerged in 1959 during the construction of the Xin’an River Hydropower Station. Because the water protects the city from erosion-inducing weather, Shicheng has remained in relatively good condition.

The Abandoned City Hall Subway Stop in New York, U.S.A.

Because this New York City metro stop is located under such an important building (City Hall), much effort was put into its design, but neighboring stations meant that this one never got the traffic it sought, so the station closed in 1945. Another factor that resulted in its closure was that newer, longer trains didn’t handle the curved structure safely.

Salto Hotel, Colombia

The Hotel De Salto opened in 1928 to serve tourists who came to marvel at the nearby 157 meter-tall waterfall, but when interest in the waterfall fell in the early 1990s, it closed down. The positive: the abandoned hotel was turned into a museum in 2012.

Abandoned Subway Tunnel in Kiev, Ukraine

Since being out of use, many of the Kiev metro system’s tunnels have been flooded. In fact, as you can see from the picture, stalactites are also hanging from the ceilings!

Abandoned Military Hospital in Beelitz, Germany

One interesting fact about the Beelitz-Heilstätten hospital complex is that it helped Adolf Hitler recuperate from a leg wound incurred at the Battle of Somme in 1916. The hospital was built in late the 1800s, but slowly went to rot after the Soviets withdrew from it in 1995.

Hashima Island, Japan

People lived on Hashima island, nicknamed Battleship Island (because of its shape) or Ghost Island, because it provided access to undersea coal mines. However, Japan switched from coal mining to mining petroleum, so the island’s inhabitants left.

San Zhi, Taiwan

These houses in Sanzhi were built for holidayers (predominantly U.S. military officers returning from their positions in Asia), but their lives were cut short after following a slew of lost investments and tragic car accidents. The houses were demolished in 2010.

Abandoned Submarine Base in Balaklava, Ukraine

This old submarine dock in Ukraine isn’t totally abandoned – today, it is a national naval museum – but it was decommissioned as one of the Soviet Union’s most top-secret sites in 1993. Impressively, due to its underground construction, the dock can weather a direct nuclear strike.

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