Through the course of Human history, civilizations have come and gone. Some have thrived to the present day and some have been wiped out completely through either human war machines or just plain natural causes. Creation and destruction are part of an endless cycle and is the defining aspect of everything that exists, whether living or not.
Nothing lasts forever and yet there are things, places and life that are lost and yet leave an indelible effect on the world’s landscape. Of particular interest to a globetrotter, or someone who just likes to explore, are cities and civilizations that once lived and thrived and are now reduced to mere emptiness with buildings and structures standing like stark reminders of life.
It’s a fascinating and harrowing experience at the same time if you crave for such adventures. But if you are, we have compiled for you a list of the biggest abandoned cities, or ghost towns in the world that you absolutely must visit.
- Kangbashi, Ordos, China (also known as Hia Bagx District or Hia’bagx District)
Although not completely deserted, the Kangbashi district in the Ordos area in inner Mongolia, China has never attained the civic status it was designed for. The well thought of architecture and intricate design would make you believe it has hundreds of thousands of residents, but in reality its just a few thousand people.
- Varosha, Cyprus
Once looked at as number-one tourist destination in Cyprus, between 1970 and 1974, it was one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, and was a favourite destination of celebrities such as Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Raquel Welch, and Brigitte Bardot. Varosha had to endure a Turkish invasion in 1974 where all inhabitants fled fearing a massacre. It now exists as a desolate town of decaying buildings serving as a reminder of the time that was.
- Craco, Italy
Well over a thousand years ago Craco was a busy city in Italy for all the wrong reasons. It was eventually evacuated of it’s 1800 odd residents in 1963 because of safety reasons and is now in ruins. It now serves its purpose in being a backdrop for movie scenes and tourism in Italy.
- Pripyat, Ukraine
Few people are alien to the Chernobyl disaster of 1986 that has rendered it surrounding areas inhabitable for a few hundred years at least, and Pripyat was one of them. There is a zone of alienation that is safe to visit and you can also find a guided tour that can take you around the mess. It is a definite glimpse to the worst nuclear disaster in history.
- Hashima Island, Japan
A classic example of Japan in its era of rapid economic growth after the grueling world war 2, Hashima Island’s sole purpose was to be a home for the undersea coal miners and it featured high rise buildings, public amusement and modern facilities, but was decommissioned in 1974 when the mines were themselves closed. It now is a popular tourist attraction and the architecture holds to this very day.
- Oradour-sur-Glane, France
Located in the German occupied France in the second World War, Oradour-sur-Glane has a shuddering history of death and massacre when Nazis killed close to 700 people in the village. It now is a preserved town that is flocked upon by people from all across the world who can read in its ruins the bloodshed that prevailed during that dark age.
- Kayaköy, Turkey
Another example of the aftermath of the Greco-Turkish war in the early part of the 20th century, Kayaköy used to be a bustling and peaceful town composed primarily of Greek residents. It is now run over with overgrowth and weather decay but the memories in the 350 odd homes still remain.
- Plymouth, Montserrat
One of the more modern examples of evacuation, Plymouth became a ghost town in 1995 when the Soufrière Hills volcano, which was an inactive volcano for a century, became active, and with it raised concerns for the town of Plymouth and its residents. It was evacuated in haste and soon enough, the volcanic lava and ash engulfed the entire city and it stands today as another town serving memories of the past.
- Kolmanskop, Namibia
This town came into existence in the first part of the 20th century because somebody had stumbled upon a diamond. It developed into a bustling town with all the amenities you’d come to expect from a ghost town, but as with all industrial towns, it declined the moment diamond production stopped, and today you need a permit to visit the emptiness, but its worth it.
- Agdam, Azerbaijan
The ruined city once had a population of almost 40,000 people – today it is an almost entirely uninhabited ghost town.
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