Kolmanskop. Picture: Sjorford, Flickr Source: Supplied
AN ANCIENT village. A “haunted” hotel. A once-bustling island.
Have you ever wondered why some places were left behind, to fall into ruins while others prospered?
Here are 10 abandoned places and the real reason they came to be deserted, with inspiration from a list compiled by MentalFloss.com.
1. Kolmanskop, Namibia
If you want to visit this abandoned mining town in the Namib desert, you’ll need to stop in nearby Luderitz for a permit – a holdover from the days when Kolmanskop was a free-for-all for diamond hunters. The town was at its heyday in the 1920s but abandoned in 1956 when richer diamond deposits were found in other locations. It has since been partly restored.
Kolmanskop. picture: Calliopenjen1, Flickr Source: Supplied
Picture: Flickr user Coda
2. Michigan Central Station, Detroit
Detroit was a bustling area in the early 1900s, full of factory jobs, and known for its impressive interior design. However, the railroad industry fell into decline as highways were built and intercity airline traffic became subsidised. Train lines began abandoning the station and on 1988, the final train, no. 353, left. Since then it’s fallen into ruins.
Michigan Central Station, Detroit. Picture: Jeremy Blakeslee, Wikicommons Source: Supplied
3. Abandoned military hospital in Beelitz, Germany
This military hospital was built in 1898 to house tuberculosis patients, and Adolf Hitler recovered there after being injured in the 1916 Battle of the Somme. It was a busy hospital in the 1920s but after WWII the soviets took control of Beelitz-Heilstätten and used it to treat Soviet soldiers stationed in the area. Once they withdrew in 1994 it was left empty.
Beelitz. picture: Miss — yasmin, Flickr Source: Supplied
4. Salto Hotel, Colombia
Perched next to a huge waterfall near Bogota, the Hotel del Salto opened in 1928 and was quite popular. But it soon became contaminated and tourism numbers dwindled. It closed in the 1990s. Some believe it’s haunted, as there were a high number of suicides near the waterfall. It’s now a museum.
The Salto Hotel Source: Supplied
Located off the coast of Nagasaki in Japan is an eerie island that has long been abandoned.
With its warship-like appearance, it’s little wonder why Hashima Island is commonly known as Gunkanjima (or ‘Battleship Island’). It’s other nickname? Ghost Island.
For nearly a century (from 1887 to 1974), the island was a bustling coal mining facility that housed thousands of workers. Mitsubishi bought it in 1890 and built Japan’s first large concrete building, at nine stories high.
With a population of 5259 people in 1959, the 6.3ha island was the most densely populated place per square metre in the world. But when the busy mine closed, Hashima Island fell into ruins.
Hashima. Picture: Kntrty, Flickr Source: Supplied
6. Fatehpur Sikri, India
Built by Emperor Akbar to be the most beautiful city in the world, it was widely thought this goal was achieved – until people realised the city lacked access to water. It was abandoned as the capital of the Mughal Empire after just 10 years and is today a perfectly preserved 16th-century town.
Fatehpur Sikri, India. Picture: Flickr user Sikri Goove2007 Source: Supplied
7. San-Zhi, Taiwan
The Taiwanese Government subsidised the building of futuristic pods for use as summer villas for the wealthy in 1978, but the investment capital for the project disappeared before it was completed. The company building the pods went bankrupt. Many believe the land was cursed.
San-Zhi, Taiwan Source: Supplied
8. Deception Island, Antarctica
A regular stop on Antarctic sailings, Deception Island was a popular place for scientific outposts until several volcanic eruptions destroyed the bases in the 1960s. Today you can see their remains, plus swim in hot springs.
Deception Island. picture: Liam Quinn, Flickr Source: Supplied
9. Craco, Basilicata, Italy
Greeks settled the town of Craco in 540AD, with a prison, university and plazas. But plagues, poor agricultural conditions and earthquakes took their toll. It was rendered uninhabitable between 1959 and 1972 due to destructive landslides. It remains empty to this day, but has played the backdrop for films such as The Passion of the Christ.
Craco, Basilicata. Picture: Andrea. Tomassi, Flickr Source: Supplied
10. Shicheng, China underwater city
Shicheng – or “Lion City” – was submerged under Qiandao Lake in China in 1959 amid the construction of the Xin’an River Hydropower Station. The entire city is underwater. It’s approximately 1400 years old and is a time capsule of ancient China.
Shicheng. picture: Nihaopaul, Wikicommons Source: Supplied