Churches have some of the most amazing designs of any structures in the world. Think of Westminster Abbey, St. Peter's Basilica and the many cathedrals in the world, some are designed by world famous designers, or how famous painters painting beautiful murals in them. But when it comes to churches, there is a light side and a dark side, and the dark side in this case is the churches that are left behind and deserted with no one left to look over them, so they don’t continue to become ruins. Some churches have been taken over by the elements, while others were messed up because of man-made reasons, leaving them without a congregation filling them up on Sundays.
In this list, here are 25 churches that have definitely seen better days and have been neglected in their repair and maintenance over the years. Some still have their original design, while others, no one could tell they are even churches by today’s standards. Check out this list, but don’t think about heading to churches and stepping foot inside. Some are dangerous places to go, while others are haunted, or come with risk going to them. They have been deserted for a reason and they should probably remain that way.
25 City Methodist Church, Gary, Indiana
City Methodist Church was one of the largest Methodist churches in the Midwest United States and was a place of worship until 1975. After that, it was disused and continues to stand today, having been passed along to many different owners, including the University of Indiana.
Today it still stands, but many say it is beyond realistic repair, though preserveindiana.com has put it on the list of Most Endangered Places in Indiana.
It still is accessible by permit and if you want to have a Gothic style wedding, you can gain access according to the City Methodist Church website.
24 The Campanile, Lake Resia, Italy
In Lake Reisa there is a steeple that comes out of the water that belonged to the Romanesque church of Curon. In the summer of 1950, the land was flooded, and everything was consumed by water, even the church below.
But the steeple remained, standing tall above the water.
In the winter it’s possible to walk across the frozen water right up to the steeple, but during the summer, the water around it is home to water sports and other activities, as life has gone on with an eerie reminder.
23 St. Dunstan-in-the-East
Depending on the photo you see, the St. Dunstan-in-the-East church may still look as active as it was the day it was built. It is situated between the Tower of London and the London Bridge, but according to MSN, the church has had its share of issues, first being involved in the London Fire in 1666, and then after being rebuilt, it was broken again during WW2 and the German ‘Blitz’.
It’s a public garden today, but you are tempting fate with that much sadness in one church.
22 Trinity Church, Gurevo-Voskresenskaya, Russia
It’s probably not the safest church to visit in Russia, especially with nature growing over it. Trinity Church, which was built 1827, has definitely seen better days as the face of the church begins to give in to mother nature and the inside starts to crumble.
And the church is out in the middle of nowhere with nothing else around it, so perhaps maybe you shouldn’t go church discovering in the middle of Russia, as this rapidly decaying church still has some charm, but is best left alone.
21 Goritsky Russia Stone Church
There is something about an abandoned church sitting out in the middle of the water that doesn’t seem to be inviting.
This church, located in Gortisky, Russia, is another example of a church being left behind when modernization in Russia happened and the area was flooded by a reservoir.
It’s amazing that despite the water rushing in, the church still stands today, and if you have a boat or are willing to wait until winter, you can take a peek inside.
20 Kazan Theotokos Church
Russia seems to appear plenty on this list, as they have many churches abandoned throughout the country. The Kazan Theotokos Church is another example of one that was left to decay.
The church was built in 1780, which was built in front of the estate of Count Chernyshev.
We wouldn’t suggest stepping foot inside, despite some of the architecture being still very beautiful, because by all accounts, the church is ready to collapse on itself, with the roof already giving way.
19 Chicken Church
This building is actually a prayer hut and yes, it looks like a chicken. It actually was supposed to be a dove, but it definitely didn’t turn out that way and looks more like a hen than anything.
It was built in the 1990s but construction never finished, and according to the Daily Mail, it has been used to rehabilitate handicapped children and several other charities.
So, it looks like a scary chicken and possibly housed many people at any given time. Do we really need to explain why you shouldn’t go inside?
18 Church of the Nativity
Another church in Russia makes it on the list and this one, the Church of the Nativity, definitely has seen a lot of wear and tear from the elements, as it looks like it is rusting, or the red brick is very much exposed.
In the tower, shrubs are growing, which is impressive seeing how high it is, and the dome also has trees growing out of it as well, showing how long this church has been left unattended.
Who knows if the inside can hold people, so probably best to avoid this pilgrimage to this church.
17 St. Agnes Church and School
St. Agnes Church and School was once an amazing Gothic church in the Detroit community, but after very hard times fell upon the city, who had to file for financial loss, St. Agnes was left without much care and scavengers took advantage of the deserted church and took anything they could find.
The roof is falling in and trees are starting to grow inside.
Not to mention around the area has seen plenty of crime, so it’s a lot of risk to venture inside for a look at this Gothic church that has been closed since 1967, according to atlasobscura.com.
16 St. Peter and Paul Church
St. Peter and Paul Church in Pittsburgh looks more like a construction site than a church today, but after some renovation attempts, it has been left behind and boarded up.
It still looks amazing for a Gothic church, and there has definitely been looting as nearly everything has been taken.
If you do want to go inside, it will take a lot of effort to get beyond the boards, and they are there for a reason to keep people away, so it’s probably best to not go inside.
15 St-Etienne-le-Vieux Church
The St-Etienne-le-Vieux Church is a partly ruined Roman Catholic Church in Caen, France, and was classified a historic monument in 1903. Unfortunately, for the church, WW2 happened, and according to Ouest France, the church was hit by a shell that was aimed at German tanks parked in the area.
The nave was taken down, and the church has remained in disrepair for ages, making it inaccessible to the public, so we don’t suggest taking a trip to France to take a look.
14 Lincluden Collegiate Church – Dumfries, Scotland
The Lincluden Collegiate Church dates back to 1160 but according to MSN, it has been abandoned since the 1700s, which is why today it looks like an outline of a church with the doorway and some of the walls and window areas visible in the brick.
It was used as a quarry in the late 1800s before it was passed along to the government, which currently has the Historic Environment of Scotland looking after the church. We can’t step foot in this church, mostly because there isn’t much church left to begin with.
13 Oradour Church, Oradour-sur-Glane, France
The Oradour Church in France has a gloomy history, especially during World War 2, and not a place people want to remember or step foot into.
Germany caused some issues to the people in the small village in this church, eventually setting it on fire.
A similar scene in the movie The Patriot was filmed and depicted what happened, as Time Magazine said the movie producers based the fictional outcome on the events that happened at the Oradour Church. Over 600 people would lose their lives in the tragedy.
12 Chernobyl Church
It should come as no surprise that any church in the Chernobyl area is not something you want to step foot in, as the area is still very much radioactive from the nuclear meltdown that happened there back in 1986.
What makes it weird is that it’s pretty much a time capsule of the date the meltdown happened, as people had to get away quickly, leaving everything behind, which sits in the exact place today as it did back in 1986.
11 San Martín de Tours Church
During the civil war in Spain in 1937, the town on Zaragoza was destroyed and rather than rebuild it, they left it to become a ghost town, complete with the San Martin de Tours Church.
A new town was built nearby, but the former one was left as a reminder of the devastation of the events that transpired there.
That includes a hole in the church’s tower that has a massive hole put into it by an artillery shell. There are many marks of the time and it serves as a symbol that is a little too scary to walk into.
10 St. Mary The Virgin, Clophill, England
This church will test your faith and superstitions, as most churches face the east, as that is believed to be where heaven is.
But the St. Mary The Virgin Church in Clophill, England has a major flaw in that it was built the wrong way.
The church faces the west, and according to atlasobscura.com, another unique feature is that all the tombstones are up against the wall of the graveyard. It’s not considered haunted so be careful if visiting and realize you could be facing the wrong way.
9 St. Nicholas Cathedral
If you want to find St. Nicholas Cathedral, you’ll need a scuba suit to do so, as according to MSN, the church was flooded in Russia back in 1939 when Russia decided to modernize and decided to construct a dam, which flooded the area, putting homes under water, as well as the St. Nicholas Cathedral.
Today, all that remains visible is the Kalyazin Bell Tower, which according to atlasobscura.com, still brings tourists to take a look inside, despite nothing being inside because it was cleared out. It’s now home to a radio telescope, so modernization won out.
8 Geamăna Romanian Church
If you abandon a village, you abandon the church with it and that is exactly what happened in Geamăna, Romania. According to zmescience.com, in 1978, the regime at the time forced residents out of the village to make way for a toxic waste site for the nearby mining pit.
One of the only structures to survive was the church, that rises out of the red, unclean water.
There are a few water locked churches to visit on this list, but we wouldn’t suggest stepping foot in this one at all.
7 Cathedral of Ani
The Cathedral of Ani is the largest standing building in Ani, which is located in Turkey. It was completed back in the 11th century. According to MSN, the church fell into disuse after an earthquake back in 1319 hit the city, forcing the people there to flee.
The Cathedral still stands today, so it survived the hardest Mother Nature could throw at it, and it was deemed a World Heritage Site in 2016.
We wouldn’t step in, however, until restorations are complete, as a church sitting for more than 700 years could come down at any moment.
6 St. Raymond Church
On the famous Route 66 in the Mojave Desert lies this deserted church, known as St. Raymond Church.
According to MSN, it was built in 1951, but didn’t have a long history as financial problems caused the church to close down in 1970 and the property was returned to the original owner.
There isn’t much history behind this church, but if you’re driving down Route 66 in California, it might be a little too scary to stop and take a peek at the abandoned church on the side of the road.