One would think that in a world inhabited by more the 7 billion people there would be no abandoned places since we need to make use of each and every corner of this beautiful planet. Yet, these places do really exist. These real life ruins offer an eerie glimpse into a world without humans. Their dark walls inspire a sense of wonder like you’ve never felt before.
1. Kolmanskop, Namibia
Kolmanskop, a ghost town in Sperrgebiet of Namibia, was built during the burgeoning diamond trade in the early 1900s. In 1908, a railway worker named Zhacarias Lewala was shoveling sand away from the railroad tracks when he spotted a diamond. The news spread quickly, and many Germans poured into the area to hunt for the precious gems. A bustling town soon developed, complete with a hospital, ballroom, school, factory, and casino. However, by the end of the first World War, the town declined. Later, richer diamond deposits were found farther south and operations moved to Oranjemund. Kolmanskop became a ghost town. In 1980, the De Beers mining company restored many of its buildings and turned Kolmanskop into a tourist attraction.
2. Willard Asylum, New York
Willard Asylum for the Chronic Insane was built in 1869 and closed in 1995. Housing 4000 patients at its peak, more than half of the 50,000 patients who called Willard Asylum their home died within its walls. This makes the asylums morgue (pictured above) one of the creepiest places we can imagine. By its closure, most patients were eventually integrated back into society, but in the early days “people didn’t leave unless it was in a box.”
3. Chateau Miranda, Belgium
The castle was originally built by French aristocrats fleeing the revolution. During and after World War II, Miranda Castle was used as an orphanage. It was abandoned in 1980, with the family refusing to allow authorities to care for the structure. Because of its past, this haunting castle remains a favorite amongst ghost hunters.
4. Six Flags Jazzland, New Orleans.
Severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina, Six Flags Jazzland has been abandoned since. Several of the rides still stand, a testimony to the resilience of New Orleans. Several companies have plans to develop the park, but until then it will remain as the perfect setting for a horror movie.
5. Abandoned military hospital, Germany.
This abandoned sanatorium in Beelitz, Germany has an eerie past. The German National Insurance Institute constructed the military hospital in 1898 to house tuberculosis patients. Later on, the sanatorium played host to a recuperating Adolf Hitler, who was injured in the 1916 Battle of the Somme during World War I. During the 1920s, the hospital quickly expanded to accommodate thousands of patients. The building was even equipped with a butcher’s shop, bakery, beer garden, and restaurant. As World War II enveloped the globe, Beelitz Sanatorium was once again a haven for the German military. After the war, the Soviets took control of Beelitz-Heilstätten and used it to treat Soviet soldiers stationed in the area. After the Soviets withdrew in 1994, the building was left empty and abandoned.
6. Michigan Central Station, Detroit.
In the early 1900s, Detroit was a bustling epicenter for factory jobs and industrialization. The city’s railroad business was quickly expanding, and the company decided that a much larger depot should be built. By 1910, Michigan Central had purchased 50 acres of property in the Corktown neighborhood outside of downtown Detroit. The station was comprised of a 3-story train depot and an 18-story office tower; the final price for the building was about $2.5 million (around $55 million today). Once built and in use, the station inspired awe in all of its passengers: “The grandeur of the interior is something that will be lasting, for it is of marble, brick and bronze, all of this is set off by one of the best lighting schemes ever installed in a building,” wrote the Free Press in 1913.
But a busy future for the station wasn’t meant to be. The railroad industry fell into decline as the government began constructing highways and subsidized intercity airline traffic. Over the years, railroad companies tried to sell the station, and train lines began to abandon the station because of the upkeep. On January 5, 1988, Train No. 353 became the last train to leave the station. During the 1990s, the station fell into disrepair and became vulnerable to trespassing and looting. Today, the battle between demolition and restoration continues.
7. Pripyat, Ukraine.
Pripyat, a city of nearly 50,000, was totally abandoned after the nearby Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986. Due to radiation, it has been left untouched ever since the incident and will be for many thousands of years into the future. Nature now rules the city in what resembles an apocalyptic movie.
8. Hashima Island, Japan.
In the past Hashima Island was rich in coal, with over 5000 miners once living on the island. When petrol replaced coal as Japan’s main source of fuel, the settlement was left abandoned. Now the once thriving town is creepily abandoned, with only shadows remaining.
9. Christ of the Abyss, Italy.
The Christ of the Abyss is a bronze statue placed in 1954 on the bottom of the bay of San Fruttuoso, between Camogli and Portofino inside Portofino’s Protected Natural Marine Area, 15 meters deep.
The statue was born from an idea by Duilio Marcante following the death of Dario Gonzatti, one of the pioneers of scuba diving, during a dive in 1950. Duilio pushed for the installation of a statue of Christ on the seabed; on 22 August 1954 the statue of the Christ of the Abyss was placed in the bay in front of San Fruttuoso, between Camogli and Portofino, near the Abbey of San Fruttuoso. The statue, about 2.50 meters high and built by sculptor Guido Galletti, was placed by the Italian Navy about 15 meters deep, with the help of many divers. The hands of Christ, addressed to the surface (or heaven) are in a sign of peace.
10. I.M. Cooling Tower, Belgium.
The I.M. Cooling Tower is part of an abandoned power plant located in Monceau, Belgium. While in use, the tower cooled incoming hot water by using wind. The wind would enter the opening at the bottom of the tower and rise up, cooling the hot water. The air would then become warm and leave the tower. During its prime, the I.M. Cooling Tower could cool up to 480,000 gallons of water per minute.