It’s often a little confronting to see a deserted structure. From the run-down exterior to the broken down walls and dilapidated interiors, there's just something unnatural about the whole ordeal. Walking through a home or building or hospital that has been left by its occupants can be intimidating, because on the surface, what you are seeing is simply a foreign concept. Seeing a desolate place that has been deserted often means remarkably startling images of what once were popular places, now reduced to ruins and decay.
What makes these places even more unsettling is their history. It’s not enough that just seeing them and walking through them is a chore in keeping your heart still, but to know that these places tell a story of what was once a thriving location for people makes it even more astounding. Some deserted places met their end through seemingly normal ways without much to tell. But then there are the ones that were deserted for all the wrong reasons with eyebrow-raising stories in their past.
Here are twenty five photos of once popular places that are now deserted.
25 Kolmanskop, Namibia
The country of Namibia is located in the southern portion of Africa and within its borders lies a ghost town named Kolmanskop. The small town was once a thriving community which saw a boom in population after the discovery of diamonds. The influx of those looking to get rich turned Kolmanskop into a wealthy mining village.
After WWII ended by the 1950’s, the supply of diamonds became scarce, causing a major bust in the town’s economy, ultimately leading to its eventual abandonment. Today, all that exists in the desert town are deserted structures holding remnants of a rich history.
24 Land of Oz Theme Park, North Carolina
Once a huge draw in the 1970’s during the height of the craze over the hit film Wizard of Oz, this theme park shut its doors to the public after many successful years of operation.
After it closed down, the park took on a cult following as the Oz characters that were left behind in the park made the area a unique one to visit. Because of its major following after being deserted, owners of the land have capitalized by offering special tours on select days of the year.
23 City Hall Subway, New York City, USA
Considered the first station in all of New York City’s comprehensive and incredibly busy subway system, this forgotten stop still exists today in the dark confines of the underground. Although the station is off limits to the public, brave souls sneak their way into the dark tunnels to pay it a visit as it has gained an urban legend like status since its closure.
The station sits under the streets of downtown Lower Manhattan and can be accessed by the Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall stop on the 6 line which also takes riders all the way up to the Bronx in the opposite direction. Those looking to explore should beware, as sneaking around in the pitch black NYC subway tunnels isn’t for the faint of heart.
22 Cooling Tower, Belgium
No longer in use today, this enormous tower in the middle of the countryside in Belgium once served as an incredibly efficient cooling power plant. At its height, through the use of complex heating methods, the tower could cool nearly half a million gallons of water per minute. No longer operating today, the giant structure sits forgotten and is certainly a marvel to wonder at now, as its size is still as impressive as ever.
21 Train Station, Sukhumi , Georgia
Located in the country of Georgia in a remote town called Sukhumi, bordering near Russia, is another relic of the past. Lying in ruins and collecting decay, stands an old train station which has been decommissioned since the early 1990’s for nearly three decades now.
The station was shut down after the region faced conflict. Today, all that remains is a stark reminder of a beautiful past in the form of aesthetically amazing detailed woodwork and mahogany.
20 Craco, Italy
Today, the town of Craco is no longer home to any residents since its abandonment in the early 1960’s when it suffered through massive landslides which left the town in ruins. Residents of Craco had to be evacuated and needed to find homes in neighboring villages.
Since then, the only people who catch a glimpse of the ghost town are tourists looking to walk amongst the ruins and anyone who has seen major blockbusters over the last two decades, as it has stood in as a medieval town in films like Passion of the Christ.
19 Pripyat, Ukraine
Famous throughout the world and now serving as a stark warning and unfortunate reminder of how dangerous our nuclear technology truly can be. In 1986, during a safety test in which the safety systems at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant were turned off, tragedy in its worst form struck. The failed safety test along with other major design flaws resulted in a catastrophic nuclear explosion which essentially wiped out the surrounding areas and led to significant loss of life.
Residents were forced to evacuate to neighboring towns, never to return because of the dangerous radioactive levels. To this day, the town lays in waste, deserted over three decades later. A walk through Pripyat is definitely reminiscent of a forgotten town found in any horror movie.
18 Hashima Island, Japan
Known to many as Ghost Island, Hashima Island in Japan joins our ranks as another listed ghost town. Deserted in the early 1900’s, Hashima remains isolated and in ruins nearly a century later. Once a booming town located on an island off the coast of mainland Japan because of its access to coal mining under the ocean beds, it met its eventual demise because of the country’s decision to switch to cheaper, more renewable sources of energy.
The island is famous in Japan for its spooky appearance which still features several skyscrapers, left in a state of decay.
17 Bobsled Track, Bosnia
The country of Bosnia was the host of the Winter Olympics in 1984 and did a fantastic job on the winter events, especially with their newly constructed bobsled track which attracted tens of thousands of spectators to the events. Less than a decade after the Olympics ended, the track was used as an artillery barracks during a conflict in the region in the early 1990’s. Shortly after, the bobsled track was forgotten entirely with locals using it as a graffiti favorite.
16 Shicheng, China
Known to many as the Chinese version of the Lost City of Atlantis, the city of Shicheng became submerged under the waters of Lake Qiandao in 1959 after the city decided to make way for a hydroelectric power station. The city was flooded, but inadvertently became a major tourist destination as visitors have become fascinated with the still very much intact city which sits over a hundred feet below the surface of the water.
The city of Shicheng was built 1,300 years ago, so diving under the lake to admire it is essentially looking into ancient history standing still in time under water.
15 Nara Dreamland, Japan
Once one of the premier theme parks in all of Japan, Nara Dreamland was considered the most famous and widely attended in the country. It was modeled after Disneyland when it opened to the public in the early 1960’s, but suffered when Disney actually opened a park in Japan, leading to Nara’s attendance struggles. Shortly after in 2006, the park closed its doors for good and found arguably just as much fame and notoriety after its closure.
Nowadays, Nara Dreamland is still very much in the public conscious as an infamous destination for thrill seekers looking to roam the deserted park which is considered one of the more confronting destinations in Japan.
14 San Zhi, Taiwan
These structures make our list for their outright eerie and unsettling presence. Located in the small city of San Zhi in Taiwan, these pod like homes resembled something out of a sci-fi alien movie. When they were in use by tourists as vacation homes, they were seen as trendy and different in a cool way.
After they were decommissioned and no longer in use, their presence shifted toward a more ominous look. For those who weren’t aware of their use in the 1970’s, anyone passing by would think they were walking into a town run over by something out of this world.
13 Michigan Central Station, Detroit, USA
Built at the turn of the 20th century in 1913, the Michigan Central Station was once an important landmark in Detroit, serving as a major hub for public travel. With the decline of the city and surrounding areas, as well as a decline in use of the station along with mass public transit led to its closure in 1988 after more than 75 years in use.
The building’s large façade definitely instills some creepiness and has stood in some famous films like Eminem’s 8 Mile.
12 Western Village, Japan
Japan’s nod to America’s wild wild west of the 1800’s makes our list in the form of a deserted theme park as one of the scariest deserted places in the world. This theme park was modeled after an old western town from the US in the days of cowboys, complete with a saloon, post office and city hall.
What makes this place so intimidating is the fact that when anyone comes across it, it actually resembles a real deserted US Western town in Japan, making it feel very out of place. To add to the fear factor, the hundreds of animatronic dolls that are still standing are truly a sight to behold in all the wrong ways.
11 New Bedford Orpheum, Massachusetts, USA
Located in Massachusetts, this old dilapidated building once known as the New Bedford Orpheum was a theatre and entertainment center that spectators would go to for all the performance acts in town. Open for half a century from 1912 to 1959, the theatre eventually closed its doors and has been shut down ever since.
The outside of the theater looks perfectly normal, but for those who venture inside, they’re sure to immediately see why local residents claim it’s spooked.
10 Jet Star Rollercoaster, New Jersey, USA
Although this landmark is technically no longer a forgotten place, it was definitely one of the more prominent ones in the world when it was deserted. At one point the Jet Star Rollercoaster was a huge attraction off a pier in New Jersey right off the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. In 2013 when Hurricane Sandy ravaged the eastern coast of the United States, cities like NYC and Jersey City fell victim to the storm, feeling the effects for months after.
The Jet Star coaster was left submerged in the ocean for half a year, forgotten, giving off an often eerie image from the pier. It was finally moved out of the ocean for discarding.
9 forgotten Church, Canada
Although very little is known about this church, the picture tells a thousand words with its image of the decrepit structure standing on its last legs in the cold Canadian winter snow.
Without much backstory, one can only imagine that this church was once a place of worship where townspeople gathered weekly. It now only holds memories of joyful Sundays, replaced with solitude and isolation in the cold wooded areas of our neighbors in the north.
8 Salto Hotel, Colombia
The Salto Hotel sat deserted for several decades before finally being put back into use in 2012 as a museum. Before that the hotel was an often used place for lodging by visiting guests to the nearby Tequendama Falls which awed tourists with its massive height and beautiful waters. After interest in the waterfall dipped, so did the occupancy of the hotel resulting in its closure in the early 1990’s.
The hotel grew a big following by the residents as an assumed haunted attraction with all its history and its uniquely spooky façade.
7 Six Flags, New Orleans, USA
Ravaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 which also decimated the entire city of New Orleans, this wildly successful Six Flags theme park was left in ruins much like several other famous attraction and landmarks in the city. When the storm hit, the theme park was left submerged underwater for weeks until the waters subsided, ultimately leaving much of the giant structures in a state of disrepair because of corrosion to the steel foundations.
It was ultimately decided it was best to move on from the park which still sits idly on the side of the freeway as passing cars can still gaze at the forgotten fan favorite.
6 A Battle Hospital, Beelitz, Germany
Used most during the height of WWII, this hospital was forgotten after nearly a century of use in 1995. Since its closure, it has become a favorite by the locals and tourists alike because of its storied history in the war as well as its haunting relics left behind, many of which paint a picture of a tumultuous past.
This is a site that plenty try to traverse, but end up having second thoughts about immediately upon seeing the structure’s façade.
5 Chateau Miranda, Belgium
Castles by nature are already a spooky place because of their giant size both inside and out. Their cold exterior and stone walls make for a dark visit. Make the castle an old deserted one and the sense of uneasiness is immediately intensified.
That’s pretty much Chateau Miranda in Belgium, a castle that was used most during WWII by soldiers looking to hide. Soon after, it served as an orphanage before shutting its doors in 1980, immediately becoming a favorite among locals as a source of urban legends and late night trespass visits.
4 Royal Palace, Poland
A second castle makes our list joining Belgium’s Chateau Miranda. This Palace was built in 1910 and at one point housed actual famous names and leaders. After changes in ruling power within the country’s governing bodies, the palace was no longer needed for its original purpose and was later used as a school.
Some time after, it simply was deserted, left to decay in ruins.
3 Eastern State Penitentiary, Pennsylvania, USA
There are few places more confronting in the world than a prison. Walking through an empty one might be just as worrying as the stories of what went on behind the concrete walls and steel bars.
Eastern State Penitentiary in Pennsylvania, right outside of Philadelphia, was forgotten in 1971 and was left in solitude for decades before finally becoming a national landmark.
2 Santa Claus, Arizona
Technically considered a legitimate ghost town by definition, Santa Claus is a town in the state of Arizona. As its name implies, the town was centered on the Christmas holiday with Santa Claus being the main attraction. Mainly serving as a tourist destination with the holiday theme tied to it, interest waned and eventually caused the town to run financially dry with its economy going bust.
The town was forgotten, leaving behind the treasures of Christmas. Usually, this would be cause for joyous celebration, but in this case, it’s just outright wrong.
1 Subway System, Cincinnati, USA
The Cincinnati Subway is considered the largest deserted subway tunnel system in the United States at over two miles long. What was once a major dream for the city in the early 1900’s became a headache as construction was forced to stop because of a failing economy in the late 1920’s.
After work was halted, plans to continue simply never materialized, leaving the subway system only partially complete with tunnels, tracks and platforms underground.