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1.Eastern State Prison in Philadelphia, USA

The Eastern State Penitentiary is a National Historic Landmark. It was one of the earliest penitentiaries erected, and it blended magnificent design with harsh discipline. The facility has deteriorated into a jumble of crumbling cellblocks since its closure in 1971 but is now open to the public.

Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, where Al Capone was an inmate © Zack Frank/Shutterstock


2. Lee Plaza Hotel in Detroit, USA

The once-luxurious Lee Plaza Hotel now has no windows and is completely exposed. Detroit’s early affluence was eroded by a series of economic downturns, international competition, and racial riots. 60% of the city’s peak population has already left – leaving a live example of urban degradation.

Abandoned hotel (illustration) © Cristian Lipovan/Shutterstock

3. Winchester Mystery House in California, USA

The Winchester House is a maze of secret passageways and staircases that lead nowhere. Sarah Winchester, the widow of gun tycoon William Wirt Winchester, began construction in 1884. Despite being destroyed in the 1906 earthquake, the home is now open to the public.

Winchester Mystery House, California © Top Photo Corporation/Shutterstock

4. Bodie Ghost Town in California, USA

The Bell Tower of St. Nicholas Church marks the site of a sunken Russian town. When the Uglich Reservoir was created in 1939, the town was purposely flooded. Attracted to the simplistic beauty of the remaining belfry, tourists visit on boats to explore this enduring landmark.

Bodie Ghost Town, California © Boris Edelmann/Shutterstock


5. Varosha, Cyprus

Following the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, the people of Varosha were driven into exile. People can only peer through barbed wire as nature reclaims the structures, which were once a favorite resort of the affluent and famous.

Varosha, Cyprus © Baran Arda/Shutterstock

6. Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang

Ryugyong hotel construction began in 1987 but was halted after five years owing to a lack of money. Despite over two decades of neglect, development on the hotel started in 2008, however it is unclear whether it will ever be finished. For decades, Pyongyang’s skyline has been scarred by the 105-story shell.

Ryugyong Hotel, Pyongyang, North Korea © Oleg Znamenskiy/Shutterstock

7. San Juan Parangaricutiro in Michoacán, Mexico

San Juan Parangaricutiro’s church tower is all that remains of a town destroyed by Paricutin volcanic eruptions. Tourists go to this remote ruin now to gaze at the shrine within, which is still intact but empty.

San Juan Nuevo Parangaricutiro, Michoacan, Mexico © stacyarturogi/Shutterstock


8. Kalyazin in Russia

St. Nicholas Church’s Bell Tower indicates the location of a drowned Russian village. The settlement was purposefully submerged when the Uglich Reservoir was built in 1939. Tourists travel on boats to examine the surviving monument, drawn by the simple beauty of the preserved belfry.

A ships float past the famous Kalyazin Bell Tower © Elena Ignatyeva/Shutterstock

9. ZKP Tagansky in Moscow, Russia

This massive subterranean structure was built in the 1950s to survive a direct nuclear assault. Since its declassification in 1995, Bunker 42 has attracted a large number of tourists eager to learn more about the past.

Tunnel at Bunker-42, anti-nuclear underground facility built in 1956 as command post of strategic nuclear forces of Soviet Union © Gilmanshin/Shutterstock

10. Presidio Modelo in Cuba

This massive subterranean structure was built in the 1950s to survive a direct nuclear assault. Since its declassification in 1995, Bunker 42 has attracted a large number of tourists eager to learn more about the past.

Presidio Modelo Prison on the Isle of Youth, Cuba © Danita Delimont/Shutterstock

11. Maunsell Forts in Kent, England

During WWII, the Maunsell Forts were built to offer anti-aircraft protection. Many of the structures were re-occupied by pirate radio stations when they were deactivated in the late 1950s. The forts have been abandoned and generally disregarded for the previous three decades.

Maunsell Sea Forts © The Drone Company/Shutterstock

12. Cherokee Nuclear Plant in South Carolina, USA

This abandoned power station was repurposed as an underwater film set for the science-fiction movie The Abyss after being forgotten for decades. The sets were remained on the site after filming ended until they were ultimately dismantled in2007. A new power plant will be erected next to the existing one.

© Anna Vaczi/Shutterstock


13. Pripyat in Ukraine

The Chernobyl nuclear explosion in 1986 wreaked havoc on the Ukrainian city of Pripyat. Its entire population was evacuated, and many never returned because radiation levels remained dangerously high. A rusted ferris wheel in an amusement park that was set to open only days after the disaster is the most prominent memento.

© Shutterstock

14. Battleship Island in Japan

Battleship Island is reminiscent of a long-forgotten combat zone in Japan. After the shutdown of its coal mine in 1974, it was deserted overnight. Building facades that have fallen down reveal abandoned spaces filled with relics of their previous occupants.

Hashima Island (Gunkanjima / Battleship Island) © Sitthinart Susevi/Shutterstock

15. Beelitz Military Hospital in Berlin

Since the end of the Cold War, a former Soviet military hospital in Berlin has been completely abandoned. The decrepit appearance of this dormant landmark attracts weekend wanderers, curious travelers, and photographers. It may be derelict, yet it is not completely abandoned.

Interior from the famous abandoned Hospital Complex in Beelitz, Berlin, Germany © Pixeljoy/Shutterstock

16. The last of our abandoned places in Balaklava, Ukraine

This top-secret submarine station was a hive of activity during the Cold War. Balaklava, the nearby town, had to be wiped off maps since it was formerly so hidden. Visitors may now wander around the maze of dark, meandering waterways that make up this now-deserted monument.

Underground submarine base in Balaklava, Crimea © Igor Krasilov/Shutterstock



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