These stunning relics of the not-so-distant past are insane.
1. House of the Bulgarian Communist Party — Mount Buzludzha, Bulgaria
Opening in 1981, the House of the Bulgarian Communist Party was the center of Bulgarian politics during the Soviet Era, but with the fall of the Iron Curtain less than a decade later came the abandonment of the building that symbolized that regime. Much of the paneling from the building’s roof has been stolen, leaving the interior subject to the whims of the elements. Although some want to restore the building in an effort to drive tourism to the region, the cost is currently too high for the government to do so.
2. Kolmanskop, Namibia
Founded in the early 1900s by German settlers looking for precious gems, the town of Kolmanskop in the Namib Desert has been left to the elements after being abandoned in the 1950s. Buildings in the town are falling apart, and their insides are often covered in sand from the surrounding desert. A museum was established in 1980 to keep things in somewhat-decent shape for tourists, but Kolmanskop is still one of the most hauntingly abandoned ghost towns on earth.
3. Wonderland Amusement Park — Beijing, China
Meant to be Beijing’s answer to Disneyland, the Wonderland Amusement Park was abandoned in 1998 after disputes over land prices brought a halt to construction. Some of the land has been used by local farmers to grow crops, although demolition of the abandoned structures is scheduled to make space for a shopping center.
4. Hashima Island — Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan
Also nicknamed Battleship Island — as well as the more telling Ghost Island — Hashima Island housed a coal mining facility during its heyday from the late-19th to mid-20th century. The island is also home to a hospital, school, and restaurants, now all in disrepair. Oh, and you might recognize it from the James Bond film Skyfall, in which Hashima Island served as the lair of the film’s villain. Creepy, indeed.
5. Isla de las Muñecas — Mexico City, Mexico
Situated on the outskirts of Mexico City, the Island of the Dolls is home to countless broken down, worn out, and otherwise creepy dolls that just hang from the trees and on walls. The story goes that the island’s former caretaker discovered a dead girl in the canal bordering the island, so he began collecting dolls from the trash and hanging them up all around the island as a method of appeasing the girl’s spirit. And if that isn’t all freaky enough, the caretaker himself was discovered dead in 2001 in the exact spot he claimed to have spotted the dead girl decades before.
6. Marlboro Psychiatric Hospital — Marlboro Township, New Jersey, United States
No, this isn’t the set of American Horror Story: Asylum, although New Jersey’s Marlboro Psychiatric Hospital does have a past that’s twisted enough to warrant a TV show. Open from 1931 until 1998, the hospital saw a rash of strange activity, with patients going missing, choking to death, and even freezing to death. The hospital’s reputation led to an investigation by the Public Advocate’s Office in the late 1970s, although clearly it went on operating for a couple decades afterward. Now, the hospital is being demolished to make room for recreational space for the township’s residents.
7. Garnet, Montana, United States
Home to hundreds of citizens around the turn of the 19th century, Garnet, Montana is now one of many American ghost towns that came out of westward expansion and searches for gold. The town has been deserted since around the 1930s, although you can still visit today and receive a guided tour of the town, including hotels, stores, and a school.
8. Pripyat, Ukraine
Pripyat is well-known because of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant disaster that took place in 1986. Once housing thousands of plant workers, as well as their families, the entire city had to be evacuated after an accident caused a leak of nuclear radiation. Now, the town stands empty, with few remnants of the lives that once existed there.
9. Michigan Central Station — Detroit, Michigan, United States
Just over 100 years ago, trains began arriving at the Michigan Central Station in Detroit, which was, at the time, the tallest train station in the entire world. Now, though, the station sits abandoned, not having received any trains in decades. Much of the fine details that once characterized the building’s architecture have been either stolen or destroyed by vandals, although, given the station’s place on the National Register of Historic Places, many are hoping that the building will be renovated sooner than later.
10. Sarajevo Olympic Bobsleigh and Luge Track — Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Still part of Yugoslavia at the time, the city of Sarajevo hosted the Winter Olympics in 1984. Afterward, though, the venues were left largely untouched, including the bobsled track. Actually, the track was used — as an artillery stronghold during the Bosnian War in the ’90s. Now, the track sits covered in graffiti and weeds.
11. Craco, Italy
This small Italian hilltop town dates back to about the year 1000, although it was originally more of an outpost and did not begin to really grow until almost 500 years later. Unfortunately, the town’s location ultimately became its downfall; due to landslides and the continued instability of the slope on which the town sits, Craco was abandoned completely in the early 1990s.
12. Hotel del Salto — San Antonio del Tequendama, Colombia
Originally constructed in 1923, La Casa del Salto del Tequendama, later made into the Hotel del Salto in the ’50s, is located alongside the Tequendama waterfalls in central Colombia. The hotel was abandoned after a few decades due to contamination in the river and left to deteriorate — although, recently, it has been converted into a museum. Still, many think of the building as haunted, since it was known during its heyday as a site for numerous suicides.
13. Villa Epecuén — Buenos Aires Province, Argentina
Originally conceived as a tourist village on the shores of Lake Epecuén, the Villa Epecuén was first built in the ’20s and was a successful destination through early ’80s. In 1985, however, the dam holding back the lake’s waters failed, and the village was soon covered in water. The waters did eventually recede, but the remnants of the village have sat abandoned ever since.
14. Dadipark — Dadizele, Belgium
Dadipark was a Belgian amusement park shut down over a decade ago because A BOY LOST HIS ARM ON ONE OF THE FREAKING RIDES. The park had claimed it was closing for renovations, but simply never reopened. Now, the park is covered in rust and graffiti, with some parts functioning as ~underground~ skate parks.
15. Ross Island — Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India
The site of the former administrative headquarters for the British in the Andaman Islands during British rule over India, Ross Island is currently home to numerous ruins enveloped by various vines and branches. The island was abandoned in the 1940s because of earthquakes as well as a Japanese invasion during the war.
16. Witley Court — Worcestershire, England
An imposing, palatial mansion from the 19th century, Witley Court suffered a devastating fire in 1937 from which it never recovered. Some restoration to this huge estate has taken place, and visitors are able to wander the gardens and see a large fountain of Perseus and Andromeda that was one of the home’s hallmarks.
17. Dhanushkodi — Pamban Island, India
Only 28 kilometers away from Sri Lanka, the town of Dhanushkodi is thought to have mythological significance in Hinduism. However, the town’s location means that it is susceptible to cyclones, such as the one in 1964 that ultimately led to the abandonment of the area.