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20 Photos Showing The Hidden Beauty In Otherwise Run-Down, Crumbling Cities

Going back through both the memories and reasons as to why these cities feature on this list isn't going to be a fun process, and we apologise in advance for that. This is going to be one of those rare articles where it's difficult to 'find the sunshine', so to speak. But despite that, we're still going to try our best to uncover the positives to go alongside the negatives - which, in many ways, is the overriding purpose of this article.

There's nothing that can ever stop you from travelling around the world and living out your dreams of visiting certain places, and we can respect that. However, there are certainly always a few obstacles in the way before you get to that point, which is why we're here to tell you to stop, take a minute, and think about where you're going to end up.

The reason we say that is because there are two ways of looking at this list: either you think we're covering up the negatives, or we're focusing too much on them. Whatever the case may be, it doesn't matter what we think, because we can't control and dictate how you feel about these twenty destinations.

All we can do is open your eyes up to the facts and you can make your own judgement from there. Simple, really, isn't it? There's going to be some controversy here one way or another and we can appreciate that, but the world is what you make of it, and we'd love nothing more than to see these 20 locations rise from the proverbial ashes.

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20 Baltimore, United States

Via: Travel + Leisure

It's hardly a secret that Baltimore, Maryland has fallen on some hard times lately, and in fact, the city itself seems to be more than willing to open up about it. That can be viewed as both helpful and distracting in equal measure, but putting that aside, we'd like you to focus on this rather delightful image above.

From the boats to the sunshine to the 'hopefully' soon to be blossoming skyline, there's a lot going on here that we can admire and appreciate. Sure, there's a long way to go before Baltimore is considered to be a great US city once again, but they're on the right track.

19 Kiev, Ukraine

Via: The Culture Map

The issues that Ukraine have faced both politically and from a war standpoint in the last five to ten years have been well documented, and it's led to a succession of tourists deciding that it isn't somewhere they want to visit or travel to anymore.

We can understand that and many others will appreciate the reasoning, but that doesn't make their buildings any less beautiful. We could sit and stare at them for hours as they rest on the lakeside, and we can only hope that the city is able to restore its reputation as we look ahead to the future.

18 Harare, Zimbabwe

Via: Audley Travel

The living conditions in Zimbabwe as a whole haven't been fantastic for a long time, and that specifically applies to Harare. It's considered to be one of the worst cities to actually live in by many who have either visited or lived there themselves, and it doesn't seem like that'll change anytime soon.

Still, it can be difficult to see the forest through the trees, and as a result, many people don't actually recognise how lucky they are in terms of some of the sights and sounds as you can see above. Obviously, they aren't so lucky in other departments, but for the purposes of this article, it's worth having a look.

17 Dhaka, Bangladesh

Via: SD Asia

Without trying to sound all too stereotypical, one of the main associations people make in regards to Bangladesh is the quality of their national cricket team. Beyond that, though, their major cities are in a pretty bad way, and the infrastructure seems to be getting worse and worse with each passing day.

The potential is there as seen by this shot of the skyline, but in this instance, it feels like things are going to get worse before they get better. Honestly, it really does baffle us to see such a lack of support from the rest of the world with nations like this, especially given how much emphasis we're supposed to be putting on helping out countries in trouble.

16 Caracas, Venezuela

Via: erasmusu.com

Venezuela is, naturally, a gorgeous country that would be really fun to travel around. Alas, that isn't the only factor that needs to be taken into consideration, and it's worth noting that many cities - including Caracas - are still struggling with poor resources and increased levels of crime.

Like we said, though, it really is tremendous from an aesthetic perspective, but we all know that we can't gloss over these problems forever. It feels like countries, and more specifically cities, like this, are stuck in the 80s and 90s, and that just can't happen anymore. Something really does need to be done.

15 Karachi, Pakistan

Via: scroll.in

Something that's arguably even worse than some of the issues we've listed for previous entries can be the 'smell' of a city. Not only does it make for a fairly unpleasant experience when you're trying to go exploring, but it also signifies that it really isn't a healthy or hygienic place to be staying for longer than a few hours.

As you can see the beach side is quite nice and allows you to escape your troubles, but when you're living in a place like Karachi, it feels like your troubles may well be following you around for one reason and one reason only.

14 Guatemala City, Guatemala

Via: Rough Guides

Guatemala has a great flag and the weather is nice throughout most of the year, but that doesn't paint over all of the cracks - not by a long shot. From the crime to the poverty to the distinct overpopulation in places like Guatemala City, it feels like there's a lot of work to be done here.

As the neighbouring nation of Mexico, there are certainly positives that come out of that kind of relationship, but you have to question how far it'll take them. Central America is a largely forgotten area, and we really hope that starts to change - and quick.

13 Ferguson, United States

Via: Pinterest

Ferguson, Missouri is well known for the riots that took place in the wake of an incident involving the police, and the whole situation is still considered to be a sore subject for many to this day - so we won't go into it.

The issues associated with the city, though, go back way beyond that, as Ferguson has always been a pretty rough place to live. Still, one of the most beautiful things about it is the 'togetherness' that you feel when you even speak to a few members of the community. They live and breathe Ferguson, and that's a great thing to witness in the modern age.

12 Lagos, Nigeria

Via: Africa.com

If you've been contacted by a Nigerian prince or two over your emails, then chances are that the spam originated in Lagos. The city has some deep-lying issues and a lot of residents feel as if they're on the verge of collapse, but that's another story for another time.

As one of the more 'high end' cities across Africa, it seems as if there's a lot more that can and should be done with Lagos, in order to try and turn into an 'African powerhouse', so to speak. The spirit of the people is great, but now is the time to inject that spirit and energy into Lagos itself.

11 Cape Town, South Africa

Via: CNN.com

The label 'run-down' may not seem that necessary in regards to the whole of Cape Town, but certain areas really do need to be 'spruced up', and other areas are littered with crime and police issues that are almost unheard of anywhere else on the planet.

It's no secret that these problems have been around for decades now, and just talking about it will frustrate us to no end. So then, here's a great shot of Table Mountain alongside a few other great spots in the city, to show the prettier side of life in Cape Town, South Africa.

10 Athens, Greece

Via: The Telegraph

The ruins over in Athens are considered to be 'great' by many people, so obviously that's not the 'run down' part we're talking about here. The city, and the country of Greece has been in complete disarray for years now and if anything, things are likely set to get worse.

Still, there's simply no ignoring some of the magnificent sights that you can see simply by strolling around for five to ten minutes, while you really take in what it all 'means' to be there. The foundation of this Earth originated with the Greeks in many ways, and we should be thankful for that.

9 Damascus, Syria

Via: Thousand Wonders

Upon taking a glance at this structure, as meaningless as it might seem to some, it's hard not to feel a little bit eerie. Nothing that we can say now or at any point in the future will make a difference to the horrific situation over in Syria that seems like it's never going to stop.

But in times of darkness just try and remember what Damascus once was, as opposed to what it has become. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn't matter one way or the other, but we can only hope that there's some kind of resolution to put a stop to this nightmare.

8 Kingston, Jamaica

Via: Golden Shore Hotel

From the illegal substance problems to the crime, it's no wonder that fewer and fewer tourists are heading over to Kingston - and Jamaica as a whole - these days. These problems didn't exactly spring from nowhere, either, as they've always been looming, but it feels like a lot of people were just hoping they'd quietly go away over time.

But that's not how life works.

The above image is an indication of the positives Kingston possesses and what the city can achieve in the future, but they're a long way off from becoming a tourism powerhouse, and the locals are right to feel frustrated.

7 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Via: bellevuehotelandspa.com

There are plenty of steps that have been taken and will continue to be taken in order to make this Ethiopian city a place that the nation can be proud of. It doesn't happen overnight, but the important thing is that the effort is there - and that can often go a long way.

The outer regions alone are so stunning that it warrants these kinds of attempts, even though it'll continue to be an uphill battle. The city is still struggling and there's no way around that, but Ethiopians around the country are doing all they can to prevent that.

6 Sofia, Bulgaria

Via: Osservatorio Balcani

There are certain parts of Sofia, Bulgaria that really are gorgeous and deserve to be highlighted. The above is a great example of that from the colour coordination around the statue to the buildings in the background.

But, for some reason, it still feels like they're subconsciously shooting themselves in the foot on a week by week basis. We continue to hear reports of poor conditions in and around the city, as well as many problems with crime. Yes, it happens everywhere, but if the Bulgarians want to build up a solid reputation for themselves, it's going to take time.

5 Baghdad, Iraq

Via: Imgur

Welcome to a city that a lot of people in the media, and in life, call the most unlivable city in the world. From the issues with radical groups to the years of war and poverty, Baghdad will continue to carry around this 'rep' it has like a bad smell.

Still, there are those who have lived there throughout their entire lives and still don't want to move, if only to see whether or not the city can come out of the other side in a more positive light. There's no guarantee that'll happen, but we can always hope - if not for our sake, then for theirs.

4 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Via: Azamara Club Cruises

It almost feels as if the more you zoom out on a picture of Rio de Janeiro, the more breathtaking it gets. That doesn't say much for the inner regions and the favelas, which are two big issues to this day, but you can't look at imagery like that and think anything other than 'wow' - can you?

The Brazilian seaside city is coming off the back of hosting both the Summer Olympics and the FIFA World Cup in the last five years, and yet, it still feels like there's been no real long-lasting 'positive' impact from that. We could just be being incredibly naive or arrogant, but that's the vibe we get.

3 Antananarivo, Madagascar

Via: Madagascar

While we wouldn't suggest that you try and say this city's name ten times in a row after a glass or two of shandy, we would suggest that you don't judge this book by its cover. Antananarivo seems to be intent on becoming a city of luxury, but in the process, it seems to have become quite unliveable.

Of course, many of us don't really associate a trip to Madagascar with visiting major cities, but that isn't the point of the matter here. The point is that mimicking the Hollywood sign is nice and all, but gimmicks and quirkiness are only going to take you so far.

2 Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Via: The NWC

Less than a decade ago, the country of Haiti was rocked by a devastating earthquake that was said to have cost more than 100,000 people their lives. Port-au-Prince was particularly affected, and even now, there's still a long way to go before normality resumes, and we aren't even sure that normality is the best thing for them.

But above all of the hate and the anger comes something a lot better: this image. This feeling of togetherness is felt throughout the majority of their locals, as they attempt to engineer their way through a period of time that continues to challenge them on a day to day basis.

1 Douala, Cameroon

Via: Sihpromatum

Cameroon is a country that has a lot of character and not a lot of people recognise that, and in turn, they don't recognise what Douala has to offer either. There's no denying that the conditions over there are fairly poor and that won't change anytime soon, but we want you to take a look at this structure for just a moment.

As odd as it may seem, this piece of artwork has become a symbol of everything that is great about this city. The creativity that it took to build such a thing is what we love so much about it, and it's why we want to see Douala rise up and become something more, and something better.

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