The prose of civilization. The Most Impressive Abandoned Cities on the Planet
Abandoned settlements do not cease attracting fans of industrial tourism from around the world. They do not cease scaring ordinary people with their desert landscapes. Gloomy and lonely ghost towns there are in almost every country today. The reasons for their global depopulation are different. Quite often tragic circumstances make people leave their homes. And in certain deserted cities people never lived. Dilapidated buildings with broken windows, dusty shop windows, toys that are scattered through the rooms of empty houses and rusty cars in the streets – that’s exactly what deserted towns appear before the tourists. Each has its own amazing story. Many ghost towns are mysteriously haloed. There are lots of scary stories and unexplained mysteries around them. Despite the fact that they are often associated with a visit to a real danger, waste settlements are real tourist attractions nowadays.
The deserted town of Balestrino is one of the great mysteries of Italy. The exact date and purpose of foundation of the town is unknown, the first record of it dates back to the middle of the 19th century. In 1860 the settlement had a population of around 850 people mostly consisting of farmers and villagers engaged in the production of olive oil. Balestrino is located on the northwest coast of Italy. At the end of the 19th century earthquakes severely affected this region. Most of the buildings were destroyed. The natural element took human lives and those who survived were displaced from their homes.
Today the antique deserted town receives the most attention from explorers and curious tourists. Archaeologists who had explored the area found that the first large city in the area of Balestrino existed even in the 11th century. It is worth noting that the territory of the settlement is closed to public access because of the threat of falling of ancient buildings. But it does not bother curious tourists at all.
There exist a considerable amount of priceless historical attractions. Visitors can see the beautiful St. Andrew church that survived by some miracle after the devastating earthquakes. Beautiful St. George Cathedral which is remained untouched and which is decorated with priceless frescoes of the 15th century. New earthquakes pose a real threat to Balestrino. The risk is high and the unique historical objects may be ruined at any time. Next - Bodie
Bodie ghost town is a true historic landmark of the United States. It can be easily called one of the most spectacular and impressive abandoned towns in the world. A miniature town began in 1876 as a mining camp after the discovery of gold deposits. Within 4 years under the influence of the "Gold Rush" the population had grown to 10 000 people. The city was rapidly expanding and during its greatest period there were more than 60 bars, an excellent casino and even a charming Chinatown in its territory. Complete article
The Ukrainian city of Pripyat has always been associated with one of the most horrible disasters in the world over the past decade – an explosion at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. That was the construction of the plant that marked the beginning of a new settlement. Pripyat was officially proclaimed a city in 1979 and had grown to a population of more than 47 000 people by the time it was evacuated, seven years later. On April 28, 1986, the very next day after the explosion the "City of Atomic Scientists" was almost empty. Complete article
San Zhi, Taiwan
Sanzhi is one of the most amazing and unusual ghost towns in the world. It is not exactly an abandoned one in every sense. The thing is that people never lived there. There is one peculiarity about Sanzhi: its main buildings are unusual roundish futuristic houses with huge panoramic windows. Complete article
There are many abandoned cities in Japan. The most visited one is the town of Yashima. It has been built near the major religious site - the Shikoku monastery which attracts pilgrims from all over the world year after year. Local residents, inspired by a huge number of tourists visiting the region, decided to build here a luxury resort town. Several hotels were built in no time, gorgeous parks and an oceanarium were established. Complete article
Among the abandoned cities of the world there are many large resorts. Cypriot town of Varosha is among them. Just a few decades ago it was one of the most popular and prosperous resorts on the island. Everything changed in 1974 when the city turned to be occupied by the Turkish army. Local residents were forced from their homes and the resort was strictly forbidden to the visitors. Varosha has been standing empty since then and is being gradually destroyed. Complete article
Among the abandoned cities there are many former industrial centres which ended up unnecessary after the complete ore exhaustion. The city of Centralia was founded in 1866 in Pennsylvania near large coal deposits. Until 1962 it remained a developing and forward-looking city. But everything changed after one odd mistake. Garbage has been regularly burned in coal mines leading to a serious fire. Spontaneous combustion of immense proportions has been expanded for decades. Coal has been slowly burning right underground threatening the industrial development and the lives of inhabitants. Complete article
Ancient ghost towns are of particular interest to travellers. It is always interesting to explore the unique historical monuments. Lovers of historical sites should definitely visit the Italian town of Craco which was founded more than a thousand years ago. For centuries agriculture has been the main source of livelihood for the locals. But at the end of the 19th century their lands were so depleted that the agrarian crisis was just inevitable. Many of the local residents were forced to leave their homes in search of better living space. Complete article
Gunkanjima is a Japanese abandoned city-island with rich industrial past, known for its undersea coal mines. In 1890 substantial deposits of coal were discovered on the seabed near to the island. In the same year Mitsubishi company purchased the island and began the resource development. In 1916 the first house for the workers was built there. Later Gunkanjima housed thousands of workers in its heyday. Complete article
No less interesting is the history of the Russian Kadykchan city which was founded during the Second World War. Located deep in the Magadan region it has been built by Gulag prisoners. Kadykchan is considered dysfunctional for a long time. After a large deposit of coal was discovered there, the construction of the settlement began at the site of the discovery. Since the foundation of the city tragedies and accidents claiming the lives of people have been regular occurrence. Complete article
Located in Turkey Kayakoy ghost town is an invaluable architectural complex where each element is the unique embodiment of the Turkish history. Originally built a hundred years ago, the settlement was home to Greek residents and Christians. Kayakoy has grown to considerable proportions. There are more than 3500 ancient buildings across its territory, many of which are built of stones and are perfectly kept up to now. Complete article
Grand-Bassam, Côte d'Ivoire
Africa is also famous for its forsaken settlements and towns. If you are a walker through the unusual areas, don’t miss to visit the town of Grand-Bassam in Côte d'Ivoire. Hundreds of years ago a French colonial settlement located in this place. The city settled down in an impossibly beautiful area and was remarkable for its housing development. Initially it was a tourist centre with lots of guesthouses, and most beautiful parks and gardens. In 1896, the French Government decided to leave the city because of the regular outbreak of yellow fever. However, for a few more decades Grand-Bassam has remained the main tourist attraction and its infrastructure was being improved. Complete article
Australian Ravenswood has been founded close to the gold fields and emptied quite recently. Earlier in 2008 there was mining of gold and precious metals in this area. Today this abandoned town with its beautiful buildings is an important tourist attraction where curious visitors walk around every day. Ravenswood was established at the end of the 19th century, the township flourished and grew to nearly 5000 residents. Complete article