World’s Top 10 Most Famous Abandoned Cities to Visit

World’s Top 10 Most Famous Abandoned Cities to Visit

Our planet has more than 7 billion people living in it. And some places are so densely crowded it is even hard to walk 1 to 2 meters without bumping into someone. Yes Tokyo, I am talking to you. So you may be at first surprised to hear that there some towns on the planet Earth that are wholly abandoned. Left to their ruins.

Chinese territory holds the account for the larger amount of abandoned cities in the world. At the moment, the famous ‘Fake Paris’ in China went viral in 2016. Although it is not exactly a ‘ghost town’ in the traditional definition, but another consequence of poorly designed urbanism choices.

Natural disasters and manmade catastrophes are indeed the basic two reasons that make towns to be suddenly abandoned. Here we bring a list of 10 famous abandoned cities around the world.

Wittenoom, Australia – Abandoned Land for No One

World’s Top 10 Most Famous Abandoned Cities to Visit


Wittenoom, from the Pilbara region in Western Australia, was a vibrant mining town in the 1960s mainly dedicated to extract blue asbestos. Being the activity responsible for the main city people’s income. Back in the day, little did we know that asbestos were very toxic for human health, causative of various fatal diseases. The mortality rate started to sharply increase, and soon the residents left their homes and neighborhoods.

Kolmanskop, Namibia – a City of Abandoned Mansions

World’s Top 10 Most Famous Abandoned Cities to Visit
© Videoblocks

At the beginning of the century, this abandoned city in Africa, was everything but rotten. Kolmanskop quickly became a main site for diamond rushing, after wanderers began finding valuable minerals in the soil, and people began coming from all over Africa. The city’s population triplicated rapidly. Hospitals, schools, and large residential complex were built. But diamond reserves exhausted fast, and people, having lost their jobs, had to leave the luxurious city. Sandstorms and water scarcity have only accelerated the process, and now the once thriving Kolmanskop of expensive properties stands a ghost town in the middle of the sandy desert of Namibia.

Hashima Island, Japan – the Abandoned Industry

World’s Top 10 Most Famous Abandoned Cities to Visit
© habitissimo

A small island in Japan that was settled at the very beginning of the nineteenth century, so people could mine coal in the bowels of the island. Over time, this region of Japan became one of the most densely populated places on earth. But coal gradually lost its leading position in the energy market. And the systemic crisis of the early ‘70s was the reason that by 1974, residents had completely left Hashima. Now it is a popular tourist site, and it is one of the largest abandoned cities on the planet.

Famagusta, Cyprus – Beach, Paradise, & War

World’s Top 10 Most Famous Abandoned Cities to Visit
© Youtube

One of the most common facts about ghost towns is that they’re always a consequence of government’s ill decisions and inhumane political strategies. Looking at recent photos of this ghost city in the island of Cyprus, it’s hard to imagine that once it was a prosperous and promising resort with developed infrastructure, all-year full of holidaymakers.

After the Turkish army invaded Cyprus in 1974, this paradise resort on the Mediterranean coast got empty and left in ruins. People, fleeing from war, left the city. Now the skeleton of houses, mansions and expensive properties and hotels rising above the coast are holed, their windows broken, and the town itself is surrounded by barbed wire.

Pripyat, Ukraine – The Ghost of Soviet Union’s Fall

World’s Top 10 Most Famous Abandoned Cities to Visit
© Thequint

Life in the city of Pripyat stopped on April 26, 1986, at the very moment when a thoughtless experiment with nuclear energy led to a catastrophe. That night, the 4th energy block of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant exploded, infecting vast areas of Europe with radiation, and killing 29 people. This accident made the whole town widely marketed by the Soviet Union regime as ideal communist city, inhabitable. Leaving a lot of malls, factories, and other commercial investments behind. Some may even say to spot strange creatures wandering around the place.

San-zhi, Taiwan

World’s Top 10 Most Famous Abandoned Cities to Visit
© Daily Mail

The fair aftermath of ill-conceived economic policies is San-Zhi. The town near the coastline, was once a promising development project for elite classes. Construction began at the very beginning of the ‘80s and, in a few years, the city was ready to receive its first citizens. But nobody wanted to buy properties in the luxurious town, and the futuristic houses once made for millionaires, remained empty until today.

A good example of similar facts involved in town ghosting when you compare it to what’s happening with the Chinese city of Tianducheng – a.k.a. ‘Fake Paris’.

Centralia, USA – Real-Life Nuke Town

World’s Top 10 Most Famous Abandoned Cities to Visit
© Huffpost

Another case for mining industries. Residents of a small mining town with the unusual name of Centralia. This American town grew rapidly; and over time evolved into a large developed city center, whose majority of inhabitants worked in the coal mining industry. But in 1990, a coal mine fire that is still burning beneath the borough, made the town inhabitable. Right now, it may be one of the towns we are not allowed to go by the government – so we don’t suffocate ourselves to death, needless to say – but maybe in a few years we could instead be mining diamonds.

Villa Epecuen, Argentina – The Latin American Dream

World’s Top 10 Most Famous Abandoned Cities to Visit
© Independent

This thriving and cozy resort town in Argentina was the victim of a natural disaster. Villa Epecuen stood on the beautiful shores of a crystal lake and it was a very popular holiday destination. But around 33 years ago, a downpour of rain flooded the town leaving it to ruins.

Neftegorsk, Russia

World’s Top 10 Most Famous Abandoned Cities to Visit
© Ruzov

Neftegorsk was founded in 1962; and thanks to the oil industry rising, it grew very quickly. People here lived in comfortable apartments; with high salaries that attracted people to migrate from different parts of the Soviet Union to the city. But all this prosperity ended in May 1995, when a strong earthquake destroyed the city. All from residential buildings to government buildings were destroyed, burying more than 2,000 people under the rubble.

Oradour-sur-Glane, France –Nazism’s bloodiest victim

World’s Top 10 Most Famous Abandoned Cities to Visit
© tangonotturno

Our journey through the abandoned cities of the world ends in the west of France in the town of Oradour-sur-Glane. A city that became a symbolic reminder of the terrible crimes of the Nazis committed during war years.

A regiment of the Nazi army entered the city on June 10, 1944, and then proceed to kill all the inhabitants of the town, they were all shot, and their houses were destroyed. After the end of the war, the French government decided not to rebuild the city, but to turn it into a museum in memory of the victims of the bloodiest war in history.


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