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Though the “ghost town” is often associated with the American West, there are abandoned places all over the world.

SOME TOWNS GROW QUICKLY from the ground up, surging in population. People arrive to work in the mines or factories and build their lives on the frontier. Some towns last, but not these.

The photos below capture the way things look after people leave. Accompanying each image is a description of place — places that for all intents and purposes no longer exist.

Travelers Stoked on this Gallery

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About The Author

Josh Heller

Josh is a writer from Los Angeles. He has lived in Mexico City, New York, and Berlin with extensive jaunts to Latin America and Europe.

  • James Patteson

    Great list, ought to include Belchite, Spain as well. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belchite

  • Markus Hermannsdorfer

    Hi! I miss Varosha, Cyprus in this list.It was a popular beach-place in the 70ties and was abandoned after dividing the Island in a greek and a turkish part.

    • Robert Clark

      Varosha is a great example of a location trapped in time, but I wouldn’t classify it as a location which you could visit (as the title of this article offers). Varosha is off limits and access is tightly controlled by the Turkish military – lethal force is authorized. It is a risky endeavor to sneak in and photograph Varosha, but quite rewarding. I have a friend who has accomplished the feat.

      I would have liked to see Centralia, PA on this list. It would have fit in nicely.

  • Abbie Mood

    Should be 27 ghost towns – Bodie is on there twice ;).

  • Brian Cia

    The only thing scary about these photos is the egregious amount of HDR and over processing. A little bit of photoshop goes a long way.

    • Shawn Peterson

      Interestingly enough this photo wasn’t processed in PS, wasn’t HDR, and was merely several long exposures taken in succession to overcome digital noise and then combined into one image to obtain longer star trails…much like you would with a film shot. Foreground was lit as you see it with a flashlight and the moon. But I can see why skepticism is prevalent with so many heavily processed photographs these days. Blanket statements are never good ones to make….got a link to any of your work Brian?

      http://www.flickr.com/photos/7202742@N03/3988964101/

    • Brian Cia

      Shawn, sorry if I implied all the photos were over shopped, your photo certainly isn’t. I scrolled through the first several images and that was my impression. There are some good photos here, and yours is no exception, but some have a heavy hand on the saturation and post processing and they feel plastic and little CGI to me.

    • Dave Shaffer

      Doing a proper HDR image is one thing. Totally screwing up an otherwise useable image is inexcusable.

  • Stu Jenks

    Dear editors. Did you pay these photographers to use their images? Im guessing not. You should pay the photographers. Even a token payment is the right thing to do.

    • Hal Amen

      thanks for your concern, stu. owners of all copyrighted photos were contacted and agreed to share their work with us.

    • Stu Jenks

      But Hal Amen. You’re the managing editor. Do you work for free? Does someone above you ask you to share your time at work for no money? I

    • Stu Jenks

      I’m guessing not. I don’t blame you personally Hal. You are just part of the ongoing movement to kill pro photography without meaning to.

    • Dave Shaffer

      Pay for crappy “HDR” images? PT Barnum.

    • Shane Fromaggio

      The photos were all given attribution (and even hyperlinks to their sites). If the original photographers agreed to share the pictures (in the hopes that doing so would increase traffic to their own sites) what business is it of yours? None.

      To those complaining about the high saturation or the “crappy HRP” images…Jealous much? Photographer douche-baggery is at an all time high. Everyone thinks they are an expert. Pound sand.

      I enjoyed the photos. To hell with the haters.

  • Tristanography

    HDR Nightmare

    • Dave Shaffer

      Thanks for beating me to it. I wouldn’t have been so polite!

  • Mandy Tibbert

    Josh,

    Great article! It is so interesting to see some of these forgotten places. I notice a lot of picking at the photos, too bad people can get so busy putting down other artists and miss the overall beauty of the piece.

    Cheers

    • Melissa Andrea Jamieson

      Mexi’s should be in that list !!!!!the basement :s

  • Kurtis Beacroft

    Some good pix but some look almost like CGI.

  • My Turkish Joys

    I’d highly recommend adding Kayaköy, Turkey to this list. In 1923, the small city of Kayaköy was abandoned because of the population exchange between Greece and Turkey. Amazing to see esp. with the Aegean Sea in the background! http://myturkishjoys.blogspot.com/2011/10/exploring-kayakoy.html

    • Katie Belliel Onan

      The book ‘Birds Without Wings’ supposedly was inspired by Kayakoy.

  • Caroline Annie Mcilwraith

    Fantastic article. I would love to see some of the American towns.

  • Kathryn Pardo

    Shoshoni, WY isn’t a ghost town… it has a population of more than 600 (pretty on par for Wyoming), a mayor and city council, a Greyhound bus stop, a public library, new schools (and separate elementary, Jr. high and high schools), several gas stations and shops… and the buildings in the photo are run down but not abandoned: they contain a funky bar and a soda shop. Perhaps the author should have done a little more research. Other choices, should you want to have Wyoming on the list, would include Bosler, Jeffrey City or Miner’s Delight.

    • Chana Conley

      This is one of the things I wanted to point out. Wyoming is full of both ghosts towns, and ones with a population of one family. Highland, WY had a population of 2 when we drove through, and we lived at an abandoned power plant in Acme, WY and were pretty much the only residents.

  • Drew Gagne

    Very cool pictures. I once stayed at an abandoned silver mine in Honduras, in a place called Parque de los Leones (I think) on the outskirts of Tegucigalpa. It was eerie…I was the only person there. Wish I’d taken pictures!

  • Lindsay Anne Williams

    I think it’s funny that the majority of the list are from the States…Very cool post.

  • Roshan Raghunathan

    Eerie isn’t it how many of these phantom cities used to be mining towns?

  • Kathryn ‘Katie’ Killingsworth

    any one happen to know where the Alabama picture was taken? I would love to visit there!

  • Omni Nova

    Awesome.

  • Chana Conley

    it would of been nice if the author could have included more information on the towns, including how many buildings are still standing and a bit more of the history. Also, being named “…Ghost Towns You Can Visit” does that mean that all of these towns you can walk through, or are some private property and you would be trespassing? Many of the ones in the States are now national parks that you can visit for a fee, but what about the ones in other countries?

  • IndiaMarks

    They look so freaky. I can’t dare to visit these places alone.

  • Benjie D. Thomas

    The first photograph is NOT a photo of an Alabama Ghost town. That is a photograph of the movie set used as the town of Spectre for the movie Big Fish and later for a straight-to-video horror flick called Dead Birds. I was unfortunate enough to be an extra for the latter. It is located on an island near Millbrook, AL.

    Here is a link to a video of the set and island…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7z34Phqgkw.

  • Christopher M. Bland

    I live an hour and a half from pitcher, ok. What they don’t show is the truly amazing hing. When they mined they left literalmMOUNTAINS of chat ( rock like byproduct)

  • Alyssa Provost

    What about Centralia, PA?

  • Jason Wadsworth

    lol. I dunno about “shops” but there are just a few old abandoned houses in Silverville – the shop pictured is the only other thing that’s really abandoned. nothing to see here `cept what’s in the picture. I drive past this building every day that I go home from work.

  • Jason Wadsworth

    lol. I dunno about “shops” but there are just a few old abandoned houses in Silverville – the shop pictured is the only other thing that’s really abandoned. nothing to see here `cept what’s in the picture. I drive past this building every day that I go home from work.

  • Chris Zimbrick

    Who pays the taxes on these properties? Someone has to own them.

  • Bob Kinsler

    You missed one of the best ones, Centralia, Pennsylvania. It was abandoned when a vein of coal caught fire under the town many years ago and the fire is still burning underground.

  • Joanna Robinson

    Has anyone figured out where the Alabama photo is from?

  • Nicholas Warack

    Another good location to add would be the abandoned fishing/shipping village on Portsmouth Island along the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portsmouth_Island

  • JustChuckinIt

    Centralia, Pennsylvania should be on this list! Abandoned town with a mine fire that will burn for another 200+ yrs. great list!

    • Chris Archer

      But it is not fully abandoned , 2010 census shows 10 people living still in the last remaining 6 houses, and the church there still has sunday service.

      • jerseygirl1

        I’ve recently been to Centralia, there is no one there.

  • ya

    alabama photo is a scene from the movie ‘big fish’

  • http://milano.bbakeca.com/ BBakeca

    some of them are really scary!

  • John Freeland

    I’m pretty sure the Alabama one is just the abandoned set for the town Spectre in the movie Big Fish.

    • Tibs

      I thought so.

  • Irene

    There’s one place in the north of Italy, is called Consonno.
    An old small village which became then a kind of luna-park village, and then abandoned. You can guess how scary it can be.
    Did not find the bravery to go there yet.

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