15 eerie abandoned cities around the world that are real-life ghost towns

There's something fascinating about a whole city with no residents

Bobbie Edsor
Business Insider
Thursday 14 September 2017 13:35 BST
Hashima Island
Hashima Island (Mark C O'Flaherty )

People often say a city is defined by its inhabitants, so happens when you take the people away?

Citybase Apartments has put together an infographic in conjunction with Digitaloft that explores 15 abandoned towns and cities around the world.

The infographic includes a short biography for each location, including the reason behind its barrenness.

Business Insider used the research to put together a list of 15 eerie abandoned cities around the world that are real-life ghost towns.

Including sites that have been evacuated, rendered useless, or were never inhabited in the first place, scroll down to discover some of the spookiest, most deserted places around the globe.

Varosha in Cyprus used to be a popular getaway for glamorous stars like Brigitte Bardot and Elizabeth Taylor in its 1960s heyday.

Time capsule: Fenced off and left to crumble since 1974, Varosha today is a far cry from when it hosted the likes of Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman (Reuters)

​A holiday resort hotel on the coast of Varosha, Cyprus, fallen into disrepair.Wikimedia Commons/Ballantyne108

But when Turkish forces invaded the town in 1974, Varosha's tourists and civilians were forced out.

The town remains a perfectly undisturbed 1970s time-capsule, and many residents assumed that they would be able to return home eventually. However, Varosha remains under the control of Turkish forces and entry to the town is forbidden.

The population of Döllersheim was likewise forced out due to war. Residents of the Austrian village evacuated and abandoned their homes under Hitler's orders in 1938.​

The dictator planned to replace Döllersheim with an armed forces training ground, despite the fact his father's family had a long-standing history living in the Austrian municipality — and his grandmother remains buried there.

The small village has been left vacant and crumbling ever since the war, made especially eerie by its ties to Hitler's shushed heritage.​

Kolmanskop in Namibia was a German mining settlement built in 1908 after a worker found diamonds in the sand.

​The settlement — which had a hospital, power station, ballroom, school, and casino — was later abandoned after the diamonds somewhat dried up, and the German miners moved on to their next location.

The abandoned town is now a popular destination for tourists and photographers, who come to see the remaining shells of structures filled with sand after desert storms pass through.

The commune-turned-ghost town of Craco in Southern Italy is a popular film set and was used for scenes in The Quantum of Solace and The Passion of the Christ.

(wmf.org (wmf.org)

However, this filming location's history isn't quite as glamorous. Craco — which sits just inside the heel of Italy's “boot” — was abandoned by residents after repeatedly being destroyed in natural disasters including landslides and floods.

Nowadays, this beautiful hill-top town in the region of Basilicata is kept vacant, only to appear occasionally on the silver screen.

The equally stunning village of Kayaköy in Turkey was once a thriving community of over 2,000 Greek residents.

However, the residents had to abandon their home in 1923, during the Greco-Turkish War.

The Greek residents were never allowed to return to the village due to the exchange of population that took place between the two countries. As a result, the village has now been slowly falling into disrepair for almost 100 years.

The British village of Copehill Down looks like many suburban estates across the country with its neat gardens and driveways.

But on close inspection, this eerily quiet residential area looks more like a bomb site than a suburb.

Copehill Down in Wiltshire is a Ministry of Defence training facility specially constructed to resemble a Bavarian village — and has never been populated.

Its level of detail, including curtains in the windows and flower beds in many of the gardens, give the impression of a real evacuated war zone.

Centralia in Pennsylvania, USA, was once a thriving mining town but now has a population of just 13.

A mineshaft caught fire underneath the town in the 1960s and has burned ever since. The town was evacuated, apart from just 13 individuals who refused to move and continue to live directly above the burning shafts.

Built to replicate the seventh most densely populated city in the world, Paris, Tianducheng in China is eerily empty in comparison.

The housing estate — which can accommodate over 10,000 people — features Parisian architecture, grand fountains, public parks, and even a replica Eiffel tower.

However, not many people jumped at the chance to live in “Little China” after it was completed. The current population of Tianducheng is estimated at around 2,000 people — many of which work at a nearby French-themed amusement park — leaving the grand boulevards and avenues eerily quiet.

Pripyat in Ukraine reached a population of 49,000 before it was swiftly evacuated on April 27 1986. The city was based in close proximity to Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant and many of the plant's workers lived in Pripyat.

Pripyat in Chernobyl, with an amusement park that never opened (Getty/iStock)

When a nuclear disaster descended on the Chernobyl plant in 1986, nearby Pripyat was the settlement hit hardest. All residents had to be swiftly evacuated over the space of one afternoon, leading to many residents leaving almost everything behind.

The city now lies abandoned and in ruins. However, thanks to decreased levels of lingering radiation, visitors can now take tours around Pripyat. They are witness to the eerie and morbid sights of a city abandoned mid-disaster, such as this room littered with emergency gas masks.

The Residencial Francisco Hernando Development in Seseña, Spain, is also full of hauntingly quiet tower blocks — but this development is still very much in operation.

The creator, Francisco Hernando, wanted to build the kind of affordable housing his family needed when he was a child. However, with its concentration on budget, the contractors forgot to include utilities like water and gas, making the flats unlivable.

Arguably the most sinister ghost-town on the list is the French village of Oradour-sur-Glane. Almost 700 inhabitants were massacred by a troop of the Nazi's SS organisation in 1944.

The vacated village now sits in crumbling decay in France's Haute-Vienne region.

After the war, the French president decreed that the village was to stay untouched as a war memorial. Resultantly, the morbid ghost-town remains hauntingly empty.

Tawergha, in Libya, was also deserted following a war. Although it was home to over 30,000 residents before the Libyan War, the city had largely emptied and was considered a ghost-town by the end of 2011.

By the end of the war in October 2011, the town was largely cleared of its population by NTC (National Transitional Committee) personnel.

Hashima Island in Japan now sits vacant and crumbling despite once being one of the most densely populated areas of the world.

(Mark C O'Flaherty ) (Mark C O'Flaherty)

The island, just off the coast from the city of Nagasaki, was known for its underwater coal mines and was home to over 5,000 miners and their families at its peak.

When the mine closed in 1974, the island-city was abandoned. Now, Hashima Island is only used for film sets and was the inspiration for the hideout in the James Bond flick Skyfall.

The multicoloured tower block town of Kilamba New City in Angola can house up to 200,000 residents. The development includes 750 apartment blocks, 240 shops, and 17 schools. The development cost $3.5 billion (£2.65 billion) to build.

Due to the cost of properties for residents, the developers experienced an extreme lack of interest when Kilamba New City first opened, and the vast space was left desolate. However, as prices for flats drop, increasing numbers are becoming occupied.

Pegrema in Russia is an abandoned village on the edge of Lake Onega. Its wooden huts date back to the early 18th century and were once home to Russian peasants.

Abandoned since the Russian Revolution, the huts have been crumbling for decades while the chapel — built in the 1770s — remains in considerably good condition, and looks out over the desolate landscape.

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Read the original article on Business Insider UK. © 2017. Follow Business Insider UK on Twitter.

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