Ghost towns: the world's most spooky and fascinating abandoned places

By ghost town we mean abandoned and totally uninhabited cities. The causes that can lead to the total emptying of a city can be several: failure of the local economy, natural disasters, wars or famines.

Today, many of these cities have become tourist attractions because of their charm, being places where time seems to have stopped at the time they were abandoned.

Many times, an aura of mystery is added to the charm of these locations. Other times, however, because of their beauty and tranquility, these towns turn into movie sets: here are some of the most fascinating ghost towns in the world.

Freepik, Wikimedia
Some of the most spectacular ghost towns in the world
By ghost town we mean abandoned and uninhabited cities. The causes that can lead to the total emptying of a town can be varied: failure of the local economy, natural disasters, wars. Today many of these towns have become tourist attractions, being places where time seems to stand still. Many times, an aura of mystery is added to the charm of these locations. Other times, however, because of their beauty and tranquility, these towns turn into movie sets. Here are some of the most fascinating ghost towns in the world.
Kolmanskop, Namib desert, Namibia
This African town had sprung up to house miners following the discovery of a large amount of diamonds in the area. After World War I, as diamond mining declined, Kolmanskop was gradually abandoned, and today the sand dunes have encroached on homes, creating a unique sight.
Julienbzh35, Wikimedia Commons
Varosia, Famagusta, Cyprus
Rather than a real city, Varosia is a large abandoned neighborhood. The peculiarity is that this place in the 1970s and 1980s was the most desirable tourist resort in Cyprus, capable of attracting tourists from all over the world: therefore, many luxury hotels were built here, almost all of them by the sea. In August 1974 Cyprus was invaded by the Turkish army and the inhabitants of Varosia fled: the army closed the resort in a barbed fence to prohibit access, and to this day this neighborhood is abandoned.
Justin Stahlman, Wikimedia Commons
Pripyat, Vyšhorod, Ukraine
Perhaps this is the most famous ghost town in the world, abandoned after the 1986 nuclear disaster at the Černobyl' power plant, which is located two kilometers away from Pripyat. This town of 50,000 was obviously evacuated and can never be repopulated again because of the very high level of radiation in the area.
Bodie, California, United States
Bodie was born as a mining center after gold was discovered in this territory. The town was home to two banks, the railroad, miners' and workers' unions, a prison, and 65 saloon. When gold-related business started to decline in the early 20th century, the town gradually depopulated until the last mine closed in 1942. Today, Bodie is a ghost town in the Far West, visited by tourists who come here especially in the summer months.
Getty Images
Houtouwan, island of Shengshan, China
This former fishing village is located on the island of Shengshan, near Shanghai, and was inhabited until the early 1990s. The remote location of the island, however, caused it to be abandoned, and today the houses are entirely covered by the wilderness, which is slowly reclaiming this place.
Xb-70, Wikimedia Commons
Plymouth, island of Montserrat (Caribbean), United Kingdom
Plymouth is located on the island of Montserrat, an overseas territory of the United Kingdom in the Lesser Antilles. This town was evacuated and abandoned in 1997, when it was destroyed and covered with ash due to a series of devastating volcanic eruptions. The destruction of the city caused serious economic problems, as Plymouth was the largest urban center (about 4,000 inhabitants), as well as the site of the island's major economic activities. However, in 2013 work began on the construction of Little Bay, a new city that once completed will become the island's new capital.
TwoWings, Wikimedia Commons
Oradour-Sur-Glane, Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France
Oradour-Sur-Glane was a small village that was razed to the ground on June 10, 1944, by Nazi soldiers as a form of reprisal against local resistance to the Germans: in total there were 643 dead, while the village was set on fire. After the war, Charles de Gaulle decided that the village would never be rebuilt again and would remain intact as a memorial to French suffering under German occupation.
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Burj Al Babas, Mudurnu, Turkey
Located in the foothills of Mudurnu, this abandoned village is the result of a failed investment, one of the most sensational in the world. In fact, the plan was to build a town consisting only of castles (as many as 732, all identical) in a Disney style, but with the failure of the consortium of companies that had to handle the construction, the site was abandoned and the work was never completed.
Kayakoy, Mugla, Turkey
Until 1923, Kayakoy was populated by about 2000-3000 Greek-speaking Orthodox Christians. After the Greek-Turkish War (1919-1922), the town was abandoned by the population of Greek origin, who were forced to move to Greece. Today the area of Kayakoy is preserved as an open-air museum, where churches and hundreds of abandoned houses can be visited.
Bahnfrend, Wikimedia
Gwalia, Leonora, Australia
This place was populated because of its proximity to one of the richest gold mines in the world, the Sons of Gwalia mine. Gwalia is now an open-air museum and in fact it is possible to visit the various miners' houses, the mine operator's house and even a hotel.
Craco, Basilicata, Italy
The old town of Craco began to depopulate in 1963 due to a landslide: subsequently, the town was completely abandoned in the 1980s. Because of its beauty, the village has become a tourist destination and a film set: for example, some scenes of the Mel Gibson film "The Passion of the Christ" were filmed here.
Getty Images
Island of Hashima, Japan
This island was the base of one of Japan's most productive mining sites, but was abandoned in 1974 when the reserves ran out. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, today the island is accessible to visitors. In addition, Swedish filmmaker Thomas Nordanstad was allowed to film here-in the company of an old local resident-an unpublished documentary on the history of Hashima.
Getty Images
Belchite, Zaragoza, Spain
This town was almost totally destroyed in 1937 during the Spanish Civil War and today has been reshaped by natural agents. What remains of the village is a clear and dramatic testimony to the horrors of the war.
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