Maybe you, like me, are fascinated by the entropy of humanity’s impact on the earth: trees growing up through pavement, deserted mineshafts reclaimed by nesting birds, and ghost towns in the middle of the desert. Something about the sheer perseverence of nature is gorgeous to me.

As you can see from these pictures of abandoned places, I’m not the only one who thinks so. These photos are proof that a place doesn’t have to be full of bustling people to be the most stunning thing you’ve ever seen.


Pripyat, Ukraine

The Ukrainian town of Pripyat is approximately 100km from Kiev and right next to the nuclear plant of Chernobyl. In 1986, the reactor blew and forced the evacuation of the entire town of more than 28,000 people. While nothing is allowed to be taken in or out of Pripyat for fear of contamination, photographers still make their way in.


Tunnel of Love, Ukraine

This three-kilometer stretch of private railway hosts a train that brings wood to a nearby fibreboard factory three times a day. The rest of the time, the lush tunnel is full of people out for a stroll. Supposedly, couples who visit the tunnel are granted a wish as long as their love is true.


Seattle Underground, Seattle, USA

When 31 blocks of the city were destroyed in the Great Seattle Fire of 1889, the city was rebuilt one to two stories higher than the original street grade, leaving a subterranean warren of ruined shops, streets, and pathways.


The Penn Hills Resort, Poconos, USA

This hotel was a popular honeymoon and romantic vacation destination in the 1960s, with its 100 rooms and 500 acres of beautiful Pennsylvanian countryside. In 2009, the owner died at age 102 and the resort closed 2 months later, owing over $1 million in back taxes. It remains unsold and abandoned.


Phone booth graveyard, New York, USA

It's not just places that get abandoned. With the advent of cell phones, New York City ripped out hundreds of phone booths and stored them in an eerie graveyard under some elevated railroad tracks. With no plans to destroy them, presumably the piles of booths will remain where they are until stripped for metal parts.


Olympic Village, Berlin, Germany

The 1936 Summer Olympics, commonly called the "Nazi Olympics," were filmed by Hitler's favorite documentarian, Leni Riefenstahl, to make her controversial film Olympia. After World War II, the village was occupied by the Soviet Army, who used it as a torture base. It has been abandoned since the fall of communism in Germany.


Nara Dreamland, Japan

Inspired by Disneyland, Nara Dreamland opened in 1955 with an almost sarcastically Americana theme that had fountains with statues of Abraham Lincoln and Napoleon. Always underattended, the park closed its doors in 2006 and remains abandoned and untouched to this day.


Maunsell Forts, Thames Estuary, England

These small fortified forts were erected in estuaries of the Thames to protect England against attack from Nazi Germany. After they were decommissioned, several were destroyed by ships running into them, and some were used as pirate radio stations in the 1960s. Paddy Roy Bates claimed Roughs Tower in 1964 and developed the Principality of Sealand, but the other towers remain unoccupied.


Villa di Vecchi, Lake Como, Italy

This fantastically luxurious dream mansion was quickly tainted with misfortune when the count who commissioned it killed himself before its completion, after discovering that his wife had been murdered and mutilated and his daughter was missing. The mansion has been abandoned since the 1940s.


La Crypte des Fleurs (pseudonym), Brussels, Belgium

This crypt is made up of three connecting tunnels buried beneath a small chapel in a cemetery in Belgium. The dates of death range from 1885-1978, and the tombs have been apparently untouched for decades.


Power Plant IM, Belgium

This plant in Charleroi, Belgium is said to have begun around the 1930s and was coal-operated. It ceased production in 2006 and is currently set for demolition and overrun with metal thieves.


Berkyn Manor, England

John Milton once lived in this decayed manor, which locals say may be haunted. It has fallen completely into disrepair since its desertion in 1987, and interior stairs, floors, and parts of the roof have collapsed. Trespassers are likely to be arrested if caught.


Buzludzha Monument, Bulgaria

This bizarre flying saucer-shaped monument was built in 1981 to commemmorate secret socialist meetings that were the forerunner to the Bulgarian Communist Party. It is no longer maintained by the government and has been abandoned since 1989.


Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia, USA

Called "the world's first penitentiary," this prison was designed to force criminals closer to God through torture, months in solitary confinement, and enclosure in bitterly cold cellblocks. It closed in 1971 but has been open for tours since 1994. The grounds of the prison contain over 30 different tunnels dug by inmates trying to escape.


Croix Rouge Subway Station, Paris, France

Service to this station stopped in 1939 as preparations for World War II got underway, and never restarted. Passengers can still glimpse the station as they pass through on metro line 10.


Kalavantin Durg, India

According to legend, this fort was built around the time of Buddha for a queen named Kalavantin, but nobody really knows for sure. The steps leading up to the fort (which sits at 2000ft elevation) were cut into the rock of the hill. You can see Mumbai from the fort itself.


Muromtzevo Mansion, Muromtzevo, Russia

This elaborate 80-room mansion took 5 years to build, completed in 1889. After the Russian Revolution, its owner donated it to the state to avoid it being looted. It eventually became the Forest College, then was completely abandoned in 1977.


Berliner Bunkerwelten, Berlin, Germany

During the Second World War, the ground under the city of Berlin became rife with more than 1,000 secret bunkers and tunnels. Connected to the surface only with small ventilation shafts, the bunkers eventually fell into disrepair and filled in...there are now only 100 or so, all privately owned.


Noisy Castle, Belgium

Also known as the Miranda Castle, this summer residence for a wealthy Belgian family was seized by Nazis and later converted into a home for children. Left empty since 1991, the castle is full of beautiful architectural details and old furniture.


Moynaq, Uzbekistan

Moynaq used to be a port town, until Soviet irrigation projects drained the Aral Sea's tributaries and left it 150km from the nearest water. The seabed was further polluted with runoff from the cotton industry, which killed many residents. The town is now inhabited only by a few Karakalpak people, who have populated the region for a thousand years.


Cleopatra's Palace, Alexandria, Egypt

A team of marine archaeologists discovered what they believe to be the ruins of the palace of Egypt's most famous queen in 1996. The royal palace was said to have been submerged by a series of cataclysmic earthquakes and tsunamis more than 1600 years ago.


Strip Club, Okayama Mountains, Japan

This abandoned Japanese strip club was euphemistically labelled a "sightseeing theatre." Strip clubs, onsen, and brothels in Japan are often either not open to foreigners or not easy to find unless you speak and read Japanese.


Skellig Michael, Ireland

A Unesco World Heritage Site, the remote island monastery has been abandoned since the 12th century, when the monks relocated to the mainland. The island was inhabited for 600 years, and is home to a number of beehive huts, two oratories, a church, stone terraces, and meters of stone steps.


Abandoned apartment, Paris, France

Madame de Florian fled Paris in World War II, but left her apartment completely intact, and continued paying the rent on it for 70 years. After her death, an auctioneer entered the space and found an eerie collection of hairbrushes, gilt furniture, taxidermy, and a painting that eventually sold for 2.1 million euros.


Chaiten, Chile

In 2008, the Chaiten Volcano in Northern Patagonia erupted after being dormant for 9,000 years. A volcanic lahar caused a nearby river to divert its course, and the town at the volcano's base was destroyed. In 2011, the president of Chile announced plans to rebuild on the original location.


San Zhi, Taiwan

This futuristic pod village was supposed to be a resort for the rich, but construction was halted before completion after numerous fatal accidents led to reports the site was haunted. There are no named architects to the project and the government of Taiwan, who originally commissioned the project, have disavowed all knowledge of it.


MS World Discoverer, Roderick Bay, Nggela Islands

This cruise ship was built in 1974 specifically for polar voyages, and had a double-hulled construction to protect it against collisions with ice. In 2000, however, the ship hit an uncharted rock in the Solomon Islands and all passengers had to be evacuated. The captain then steered it into Roderick Bay, where it has remained grounded ever since.


Buffalo Central Terminal, Buffalo, NY, USA

This 17-story art deco building was Buffalo's main railway terminal for 50 years, finally closing in 1979. After it closed, it was extensively looted and vandalized, and some said the only thing blocking it from demolition was the cost. In 1997, the Central Terminal Restoration Corporation purchased the derelict building for $1 and is currently restoring it.


Nicholson, Ontario, Canada

300km north of Sault Ste Marie, this tiny Ontario town is only accessible by boat or on foot over the railroad tracks, a 2.5-hour walk. A deserted lumber town, it displays old logging equipment, and many well-preserved abandoned buildings, including a church and a school.


Spinalonga Island, Greece

From 1903 to 1957, Spinalonga was used as a leper colony, and was one of the last leper colonies in Europe. The last inhabitant of the island was a priest determined to uphold a tradition of the Greek Orthodox Church where buried people must be commemorated at 5-year intervals; he finally left in 1962.


Oradour-sur-Glane, France

During World War II, German soldiers mistakenly invaded this small French town, intending to target nearby Oradour-sur-Vayres. 642 of the village's residents were massacred in punishment for the French Resistance, and the village was razed by the Germans. It has stood empty since then, and acts as a memorial to the dead.


Salton Sea Beach, California, USA

Salton Sea Beach was flooded in 1973 by highly saline water from the nearby Salton Sea, an accidental inland ocean created when the Colorado River poured through salt flats in 1905. Residents left most of their belongings and moved elsewhere; you can still find alarm clocks, dolls, and LPs embedded in the inches-thick crust of salt that covers every surface.


Talisay Mansion, Talisay City, Philippines

This enormous mansion in Talisay City, Philippines was built by a sugar baron in honor of his 11th wife. In World War II, Filipino guerillas employed by the US Armed Forces set the building on fire. It burned for several days and sat empty for a long time, until it was remade into a restaurant.


Pyramid of Tirana, Tirana, Albania

This bizarre pyramid was built as a monument to an Albanian leader who kept Stalin's dreams alive long after the Russian dictator died. As national attitudes shifted, the space converted to a convention centre in 1991, then to a military staging centre, then a television station. It has since been looted for building materials and covered in graffiti, and the government is campaigning for its demolition.


Onverwacht, Suriname

This abandoned station was built to transport gold miners into and out of the interior of Suriname. The line went out of use in the 1980s and the train cars were left to decay.


South Fremantle Power Station, Fremantle, Australia

The South Fremantle Power Station opened in 1951 and employed 250 people at its peak. After technological advances made it uneconomical, it closed in 1985 and has since become a museum of constantly changing graffiti, broken glass, and old spray paint cans.


Whittingham Asylum, Lancashire, England

Whittingham Asylum was once the largest mental institution in Britain; founded in 1869, it had its own farms, telephone exchange, post office, orchestra, and even a brewery. After being taken over by the military during World War II, the asylum slowly declined and finally closed in 1995 after allegations of abuse against patients.


Kolmanskop, Namibia

In 1908, the port of Lueditz was inundated with people rushing into the Namib Desert to make a fortune on diamonds. The town of Kolmanskop enjoyed a boom until the drop in diamond sales after World War I, and the town was deserted in the be reclaimed by the desert.


Slab City, CA

Only a short drive from Salton Sea Beach, Slab City sits outside Niland in a remote area of the California desert. Once a World War II Marine barracks, the camp was abandoned, then razed, leaving only concrete slabs. Currently it is used by snowbirds, drifters, and off-the-grid enthusiasts as a temporary city and gathering place.


Michigan Central Station, Detroit, USA

Detroit is notorious for being half-abandoned, half-revitalised. While some sections of the city are deserted, full of condemned buildings and collapsing schoolhouses, other parts are slowly revitalising as current residents repair their homes and new residents are offered free houses.


Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, Oregon Coast, USA

This lighthouse was officially lit in 1881 and quickly nicknamed Terrible Tilly due to the hazardous commute lighthouse keepers faced from the mainland. It was damaged extensively by storms and eventually decommissioned in the 1950s. It is now privately owned and accessible only by helicopter.


Stella Artois Brewery, Leuven, Belgium

This particular brewery was replaced by a newer and more efficient facility nearby. Looters stripped much of the copper and metal fixtures, which led to all entrances being sealed. Stella Artois remains a popular pilsner.


Moonhole, Bequia, Grenadines

Bequia is full of stone holiday homes that can be rented, but the Moonhole, so called because the setting moon shines through the rock formation archway, is not up for grabs. The danger of falling rocks from above has made it uninhabitable, and it is currently closed to entry.


Harperbury Hospital, Hertfordshire, England



Craco, Italy

The summit where Comune di Craco sits may have been inhabited as early as the 8th century. By the mid-1950s, seismic activity put the town in danger, and a series of landslides forced the entire population to relocate in 1963. It has since been