Eerie, historical, tragic and beautiful. These are just a few of the words often used to describe abandoned places all over the world. As monuments to things and people, ideas and values that once were, these places have their own gravity—pulling people to them in their ruined glory.
Abandoned places range in type and location from ghost towns in the United States Midwest to disaster areas like Pripyat, Ukraine (the site of the Chernobyl disaster). The things and places we leave behind awe people. Despite the dangers, many people, often known as urban explorers, go to great lengths to return and document these seemingly forgotten places.
Here are a few of the many abandoned places in the world:
Where: Florida, United States
The Dome Houses in Florida were once homes built along the seashore. Named after their shape, the houses were epitomes of modernity built before their time. They have now fallen into disrepair, slowly being reclaimed by the sea. Though efforts have been made by the new owners to restore them, the Dome Houses are in a precarious position as they lie in an environment area being protected by the government.
The Last House on Holland Island
Where: Maryland, United States
The last house on Holland Island is the final victim to nature reclaiming what is hers. The house used to be one of a group of houses on the island, all lost to the slow erosion of the island by the sea. Though efforts were made to save the house, it finally gave itself to the sea, partially collapsing two years ago. It is now completely submerged during high tide.
Where: Fukushima, Japan
Abandoned amusement parks are often the stuff of nightmares. Takakanonuma Greenland is one of those creepy places, with rusted rollercoaster rails jutting out of the thick grass, as well as other rides and buildings once dedicated to fun and amusement lying in waste. It doesn’t help that given the weather of Japan, most of the photos taken of Takakanouma Greenland have it shrouded in fog.
Another amusement park that was never finished, Aqua Park was a victim of an accident that happened at another water park. After the glass ceiling at a nearby water park collapsed, Aqua Park lost its bright outlook and soon lost funding as well. Although the lot has been sold to build a mall, Aqua Park still stands as a testament to our fickle desires for entertainment.
1984 Winter Olympics Bobsleigh Track
Where: Formerly Sarajevo, Yugoslavia, now Bosnia
Sometimes, things are made to be used just once. Unlike the Olympic pool in Beijing which has now been turned into a huge water park, the 1984 Winter Olympics bobsleigh track in Bosnia is riddled with graffiti and overgrown weeds. Though Yugoslavia is no more (because of political upheaval, it is now a group of smaller countries, with the bobsleigh track now in current Bosnia), the bobsleigh track remains.
Thames Estuary Army Forts or the Maunsell Forts
Where: Thames and Mersey estuaries, United Kingdom
While these sea forts look like old sets from the movie Waterworld, they were once real fortified towers used by the Royal Navy during World War II. They were built in 1942, but were decommissioned by the late 1950’s. Abandoned, the forts have since fallen into disrepair. However, a few forts were able to avoid this fate by being turned into lighthouses, luxury hotels or even a micro-nation known as the Principality of Sealand.
Chemin de fer de Petite Ceinture or the “Little Belt Railway”
Where: Paris, France
It’s hard to imagine that there could be anything abandoned in a city as big and as well-known as Paris, but every city has its secrets. Opened in 1852, the Chemin de fer de Petite Ceinture railway was once a circular route that linked the main stations in Paris. It was closed in 1934 after use of the rail gradually declined. These days, some of its tunnels are accessible in public parks.
Satsop Nuclear Power Plant
Where: Washington, United States
The Satsop Nuclear Power Plant was abandoned during construction due to unpopular opinion towards nuclear power. It was left nearly completed for eleven years, then finally abandoned in the early 1990’s, as it was deemed too expensive to dismantle. Despite never being used, the site has been transformed into the Satsop Business Park, a business and technology park. The power plant’s cooling towers have also become a favorite photography spot for urban explorers.
Hotel del Salto or The Haunted Hotel
Where: Southwest of Bogotá, Columbia
Once catering to visitors of the Tequendama Falls, Hotel del Salto has become a visitor’s attraction site itself. It opened in 1924 on a cliff—providing a beautiful view of the waterfall to those who could afford it but closed in the early 1990’s, supposedly because of contaminated water. The hotel is said to be haunted by those whose lives ended at the hotel, either from bar fights that accidentally went over the edge of the second floor’s balcony or by those who willingly took their own lives by throwing themselves from the cliff.
Visiting abandoned places can be an amazing experience. Many of these sites are open for exploration and even have guides to give tours. However, there are those that are privately owned which require permission for exploration; some can be extremely dangerous, as most buildings in their abandoned state can no longer be considered structurally sound. Which of these places would you like to see for yourself? Let us know by leaving a comment below!
Editor note: Contributor Vincent Sevilla is a professional graphic designer and marketing consultant for Australianoutdoorliving.com.au, one of the prime companies that manufacture outdoor blinds, roller shutters, and artificial lawns.