Where'd everybody go?! We take a look at the 15 creepiest ghost towns from around the world...
Though the Arctic Circle Soviet Town of Pyramiden was deserted over a period of months, it would appear to the curious visitor as if the residents had vanished overnight. Clean sheets lay folded atop beds while plants slowly wilt in windowsills and coal-mining machinery stands stationary exactly where its operators left it, giving the town an eerie sense of hasty evacuation.
An ancient silver mine first exploited by the Romans, Argentiera was reopened in the 1800s by a Belgian company called “Società di Corr’e boi”. It enjoyed a rich period through the early 1940s, but after WWII the town suffered a decline, with the mine eventually closing in 1963.
Most famous for its recent associations with the Silent Hill franchise, Centralia was abandoned en masse in the 1980s after concerns over lethal gases from a 1962 coal mine fire below the city (a fire which still burns today, creepily). A handful of stubborn residents vowed to remain in the nightmarish furnace town, even after a 12 year old boy was swallowed up by a gaseous sink hole in his grandmother’s back garden…
Before they were finally torn down in late 2008, the Sanzhi Pod City caught the imagination of many who saw them, gaining the alternating nicknames “UFO Houses” and “ruins of the future”. Built in 1978 as a holiday resort aimed at US military personnel, the project was abandoned a mere two years later amid stories of horrific accidents during the site’s development.
Situated on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, Copehil Down is a mock-up German village- complete with tank and burnt out cars- built by the Ministry of Defence to train the armed forces in close quarters combat. Erected in 1988 and modelled on a village in the heart of Bavaria, the training ground is still in use today, with additional areas built to resemble modern warzones such as Iraq and Afghanistan.
Once home to a small fishing community (as well a surprising amount of notable writers), this small village on Great Blasket Island was abandoned in 1953 when the Irish government declared that it could no longer guarantee the safety of its residents.
Abandoned after the Russian Revolution, the lake-facing wooden houses of Pegrema have since fallen into a beautiful dilapidation.
With the fall of the Ottoman Empire in the early 1920s came the final days of the Greco-Turkish War, and while the war had officially fizzled out by 1922, violence targetting foreigners in both Turkey and Greece was still rife. In an attempt to stem this flow of nationalistic violence against Turkish inhabitants of Greece and Greeks living in Turkey, both governments signed a deal to effect a large scale “citizen-swap”. Thus thousands of Greek Kayaköy residents were forced to leave the Turkish village, which was left uninhabited after the swap took place.
The luxury real estate development and Paris doppelgänger Tianducheng failed to fill a fraction of its accommodation since its construction in 2007, with most of its homes remaining empty. This is thanks in large part to the site’s strange location, surrounded by farmland and snaking countryside roads. So for those who think Paris could do with less people and a ramped up chill-factor, Tianducheng is the place for you.
After the discovery of several rich gold veins in 1876, Bodie played host to a huge rush of new inhabitants looking to fill their boots and find their fortune at any cost. With the Law much slower to make its way to the town, Bodie quickly gained a reputation as one of the most ferocious, violent and lawless in all of America. Those lucky enough to avoid a bullet during their time there were well rewarded for the next four years until 1880, when the bulk of the gold had been mined and the town went into a decline. By 1940 everyone had left, and Bodie was left to ruin.
Built in exchange for oil by the Beijing-based CITIC Group in 2011, Angola’s Kilamba New City was intended to house up to 500,000 residents from the nearby capital Luanda. However in 2012 and with only 220 of its 2,800 apartments sold, the brightly coloured housing development has remained largely empty, and more than a little eerie…
The small Chilean town of Chaitén was evacuated when the nearby volcano erupted for the first time in 9,500 years on 2nd May 2008. Just as well, because ten days later a pyroclastic mudflow caused the river Blanco’s banks to burst, completely flooding Chaitén. Though attempts were made to safeguard the town from future eruptions, the government eventually deemed the town unsafe and the inhabitants were rehoused elsewhere.
Grytviken was a harbour town and whaling station in South Georgia founded in 1904 by Swedish surveyor John Gunnar Andersson. It has lain abandoned since its closure in 1966.
In 1908 many starry-eyed travelers laid roots in Kolmanskop, after a large quantity of diamonds were discovered in the surrounding Namibian desert. Construction quickly commenced and soon houses, hospitals, ballrooms, casinos, theatres and ice factories were competing for skyline. The diamond fever continued until World War I, at which point the price of diamonds experienced a considerable drop. A later find of larger diamonds in the more southerly town of Oranjemund further dented Kolmanskop’s popularity, and by 1956 the town was abandoned to the desert sands…
Once a thriving coal mining facility, Hashima – also known as Battleship Island – has been unoccupied since 1974, when inhospitable conditions caused the island to be deemed too unsafe to live. At its most populated, 5,000 workers were crammed onto Hashima, making it the most densely populated place on Earth. Today it stands in complete contrast, with not a soul in sight.