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When you think of abandoned places, what comes to mind? Usually, it’s something spooky or terrifying. Yet, there is something eerie about haunted abandoned places that captures one’s attention and curiosity. Below, you’ll find some of the scariest abandoned places worldwide, each with a unique charm yet very uneasy aura. Hence, if you are interested in learning about different abandoned places around the world, keep on reading!

History books are one way to understand the passage of time, but some real-life monuments can speak of the past, too. So many abandoned places in the world act as markers of the past. Though they might be partially or wholly run-down, they are often fascinating.

Beneath all the dust, rust, and cracks, there are stories of people who used to live, pray, or take their daily train rides there. When you try to imagine these people and their lives, each picture gets a special aura of nostalgia and maybe some horror. It’s as if the people in these abandoned buildings just picked up and left.

On the other hand, it’s also fascinating to see how some things that used to belong to people are slowly being reclaimed by nature. You might also remember Finnish photographer Kai Fagerström and his pictures of how wild animals were taking over abandoned and forgotten places in the woods of Finland. That’s just the natural circle of life and existence – and it makes for some incredible shots!

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What Is the Meaning of Abandoned Places?

Abandoned places or buildings are spaces that are not used or occupied anymore. It can happen if the owner or people have vacated the building and left it to crumble or turn to dust. There are so many abandoned places for sale, but the truth is that these forgotten places hold secrets that have been lost with time. Many people avoid exploring these ruins, while others embrace the creepiness.

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If you’re brave enough, why don’t you tour these mesmerizing lost places worldwide with our list of 24 scary abandoned places? We dare you!

24 Creepy Abandoned Places in The World

1. I.M. Cooling Tower, Belgium

Image credits: brokenview

Image credits: Pippa Killi Nova

These are parts of a cooling tower in an old power station in Monceau, Belgium. The trumpet-like structure in the middle of this abandoned place introduced hot water to the structure, where it then cooled while dripping down hundreds of small concrete troughs and slats.

2. Kolmanskop, Namibia

Image credits: Chris Gray

Kolmanskop was a small settlement in Namibia that saw a boom in the early 1900s when German settlers realized that the area was rich in diamonds. The surge of wealth gave out after WWI, however, when the diamond field began to deplete. By the 1950s, the town was completely deserted and is now the haunted houses are visited by photographers and tourists.

3. 102-Year-Old Floating Forest in Sydney, Australia

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Image credits: Bruce Hood

This is the hull of the SS Ayrfield, a large steamship condemned to dismantling in Homebush Bay, Australia after WWII. When the dismantling yard closed down, however, it and several other ships remained where they were. Now, it is a beautiful and haunting floating forest that serves as an example of nature’s capacity for survival.

4. The Maunsell Sea Forts, England

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The Maunsell Sea Forts were erected near the Thames and Mersey rivers in Britain to help defend against potential German air or naval raids during WWII. After being decommissioned in 1950, the abandoned buildings have been inhabited by various new tenants, including pirate radio operators and by the Principality of Sealand, which claims to be an independent sovereign state.

How to Find Abandoned Places?

When it comes to exploring abandoned places, it can be challenging to find the perfect spot. Fortunately, you can take some easy steps to find the best location seeped in history.

  • Check your local newspaper for abandoned places to explore. They usually contain information about old or ruined buildings. You might also get some insider information about the site. If you are on vacation or in a foreign place, you can get help from a translator.
  • Use the handy Google search to find creepy abandoned places. You can use synonyms like deserted, derelict, dilapidated, vacant, or desolate to see more options.
  • Find websites run by explorers, photographers, or travelers to get information about abandoned places around the world. Like this website of forbidden places run by Sylvain Margaine that lists many creepy options.

If you’re looking to explore scary travel destinations, check out this list of 30 creepy places around the world that only the bravest can visit.

5. Last House on Holland Island, U.S.A

Image credits: baldeaglebluff

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This scary house was part of what was once a fairly successful small island colony in the Chesapeake Bay in the U.S. Rapid erosion of the island’s mud and silt coast, however, meant that there was less and less room to live on the island. This abandoned building was the last one left on Holland Island before it too collapsed in 2010.

6. Pripyat, Ukraine

Image credits: Barry Mangham

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Pripyat was established on Feb. 4th, 1970 in Ukraine near the border of Belarus as a Soviet nuclear city. It was home to many of the workers who worked in the nearby Chernobyl nuclear power plant, which melted down disastrously in the 1986 Chernobyl Disaster. After being evacuated, Pripyat remains a radioactive ghost town that can only be visited through guided tours.

7. House of the Bulgarian Communist Party, Bulgaria

Image credits: Dimitar Kilkoff

The former headquarters of Bulgaria’s Communist Party are just as eerie on the outside as on the inside. The flying-saucer-like building, while probably a wonder while it was in use from 1981 until 1991, went into disrepair soon after the fall of the Soviet Union. It is now a ghost of its former self, although plans are being made to restore it.

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8. Nara Dreamland, Japan

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The Nara Dreamland park, inspired by Disneyland, was opened in 1961. By 2006, however, it closed down. Now it is a popular destination for urban explorers, although security guards still occasionally patrol the grounds and impose fines.

9. Uninhabited Island in Southwest Florida, U.S.A.

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These small domed structures were built in 1981 on Cape Romano off the coast of Florida in the U.S. They were the summer home of oil producer Bob Lee before falling into disrepair. What their fate will be today is still uncertain.

How to Find Completely Abandoned Places on Google Maps?

If you haven’t had a chance to explore many abandoned places, you can start your search with Google Maps. It is a handy tool to help you digitally explore abandoned locations. When you use the software, you will first see a two-dimensional overhead view of the area. 

Click on the ‘satellite’ option to give an aerial view of the abandoned place. You can also zoom in and click the 3D option to see it from different angles. Keep an eye out for buildings left to decay with holes in the roof or unused factories. There is so much potential for a truly great find.

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10. Abandoned Mill, Italy

Image credits: Dale Tennyson

This mill in the Valley of the Mills in Sorrento, Italy was abandoned in 1866. This mill ground wheat and a sawmill operated nearby as well. The mill was isolated from the sea by the construction of Tasso Square, which raised the humidity in the area and caused it to be abandoned.

11. Michigan Central Station in Detroit, U.S.A.

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Image credits: Chris Luckhardt

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Michigan Central Station was built in 1913 in Detroit to create a new public transportation hub. Several planning oversights and mistakes, however, led to its gradual decline and closing in 1988. The building’s fate is still being decided, but in the meantime, the station has appeared in several films and videos, including Eminem’s “8 Mile” film and “Beautiful” music video.

12. Sunken Yacht, Antarctica

Image credits: ruschili.35photo.ru

This eerie ghost ship is the Mar Sem Fim, a Brazilian yacht that was shipwrecked near Ardley Cove in Antarctica. A Brazilian crew had taken it to film a documentary, but strong winds and stormy seas forced the crew to abandon ship. The water that washed over the ship froze cracked its hull and sunk the yacht, but it has since been salvaged.

13. The Haunting New Bedford Orpheum, U.S.A.

Image credits: Frank Grace

The New Bedford Orpheum is an old theater and entertainment building located in Massachusetts in the U.S. It was opened in 1912 and closed in 1959 – since then, it has stored tobacco and served as a supermarket. Now, the Orph Inc. nonprofit is trying to raise money to revitalize the building.

14. Abandoned Train Station, Abkhazia, Georgia

Image credits: Ilya Varlamov

This train station in Sukhumi, Abkhazia was abandoned during the War in Abkhazia in 1992 and 1993. The dispute between Georgia and Russia over the region has isolated the region, but the decaying station retains some of its former glory in the form of intricate plaster work and mahogany furniture.

15. Abandoned Wooden Houses, Russia

Image credits: Andrew Qzmn

These beautiful, intricately decorated buildings are found deep in Russian forests, where their isolation has helped them remain relatively intact.

Why Do Places Get Abandoned?

These beautiful abandoned places weren’t always this way. At some point, people occupied them and were full of life. It can be hard to picture what ghost towns used to look like, but here are some reasons why they might have been evacuated.

  • The reason for people moving there no longer exists. For example, once the resources are tapped out in mining towns, the residents shift.
  • There might have been a war or civil conflict. In challenging times, people tend to abandon their homes and businesses if they cannot handle the severity of the situation. 
  • Some places can be abandoned due to natural disasters. Earthquakes, floods, and other calamities can wreak havoc on a location and demolish many buildings. Either people might flee before the situation worsens or die during the struggle.

These eerie abandoned places are usually frozen in time, and it might seem haunting to revisit them. Which abandoned place stood out the most for you so far?

16. Underwater City in Shicheng, China

Image credits: china.org.cn

This incredible underwater city, trapped in time, is 1341 years old. Shicheng, or Lion City, is located in the Zhejiang province in eastern China. It was submerged in 1959 during the construction of the Xin’an River Hydropower Station. The water protects the city from wind and rain erosion, so it has remained sealed underwater in relatively good condition.

17. The Abandoned City Hall Subway Stop in New York, U.S.A.

Image credits: John Paul Palescandolo & Eric Kazmirek

This beautifully-designed metro station sits underneath City Hall in New York City. Because of its location, much attention was given to its design, but nearby stations ensured that this one never received a significant amount of traffic, and its curved layout made it unsafe for use with newer, longer trains. The station was closed in 1945 and, because of security concerns, it generally remains closed, except for occasional exclusive tours.

18. Salto Hotel, Colombia

Image credits: astrophysicistkev

The Hotel De Salto opened in 1928 near Tequendama Falls in Colombia to serve tourists who came to marvel at the 157 meter-tall waterfall. It closed down in the early 90s after interest in the waterfall decline. In 2012, however, the site was turned into a museum.

19. Abandoned Subway Tunnel in Kiev, Ukraine

Image credits: general-kosmosa.livejournal.com

This image of an abandoned subway tunnel was captured in the metro system underneath Kiev, Ukraine. Many of the tunnels are partially flooded, and stalactites hang from the ceilings.

How to Explore Abandoned Places?

Even though these abandoned structures might seem open and completely accessible, you must take some precautions when exploring. First, make sure that you aren’t breaking any laws. If there is a ‘No Trespassing’ sign, don’t enter the place unless you have permission from the caretaker or local government. 

You should always be observant and think about your safety. Even at the most beautiful abandoned places, watch for dangers like confusing locations, pits in the ground, rusted nails, barbed wire, broken glass, or lurking strangers.

Wear comfortable old clothes so you can move around quickly and won’t have to worry about staining them.

20. Abandoned Submarine Base in Balaklava, Ukraine

Image credits: Thomas Alboth

While this old submarine dock in Ukraine isn’t totally abandoned, the decommissioned formerly top-secret site near Balaklava is still impressive. Until its decommissioning in 1993, the site was one of the Soviet Union’s most top-secret sites and was said to be able to weather a direct nuclear strike due to its underground construction. Today, it is a national naval museum.

21. Abandoned Military Hospital in Beelitz, Germany

Image credits: Michis Bilder

Image credits: d.r.i.p.

These eerie pictures are part of the Beelitz-Heilstätten hospital complex in Beelitz, Germany. The large complex was built at the end of the 1800s and helped Adolf Hitler recuperate from a leg wound incurred at the Battle of Somme in 1916. Parts of the complex remain in operation, but most were abandoned after the Soviets withdrew from the hospital in 1995.

22. Hashima Island, Japan

Image credits: hashima-island.com

Hashima island in Japan has a wide array of nicknames, including Battleship Island (for its shape) and Ghost Island. From the late 1800s to late 1900s, the island was populated because of the access it granted to undersea coal mines. However, as Japan gradually switched from coal to petroleum, the mines (and the buildings that sprung up around them to support their workers) closed down, leaving an isolated ghost town that reminds some of a ghostly concrete battleship.

What Are Some of The Creepiest Forgotten Places?

There are many interesting abandoned places worldwide, but one story stands out the most. It is about Ross Island, which lies hundreds of miles off the coast of India. It is one of the 572 islands comprising the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. 

It was once home to thousands of convicts and political prisoners. Unfortunately, a large earthquake struck the area in 1941, killing thousands of residents. The Japanese eventually owned it, and then ownership was transferred to Indians. Now, the island stands in ruins and has remained abandoned since and overgrown with jungle vines.

23. San Zhi, Taiwan

Image credits: picc.it

These alien-looking houses in Sanzhi were initially intended to serve as a vacation destination, especially for U.S. military officers returning from their positions in Asia. Lost investments and unfortunate car accidents, however, forced the site to close down in 1980, not long after it had been built. Unfortunately, the buildings were torn down in 2010.

24. Abandoned Church in the Snow, Canada

Image credits: Kevin McElheran

The Holy Cross Catholic Church lies abandoned in HDR Notch Hill in Canada. Built in 1922, it is often the subject of photographers. It was built on the private property of Rufus Hammond and was constructed for his niece’s wedding. In 1926, Hammond donated the church and the land to the Catholic Diocese, but by the 70s it had become the property of the crown. Since 2009 it has been cared for by volunteers.

Time Stands Still in These Abandoned Spots

Each of these abandoned structures and lost places hold some part of history. They were once vibrant and thriving with people, but they couldn’t stand the test of time.

Now that you have a taste for these creepy abandoned places, tell us which stood out the most for you and which you would never want to visit. Speaking of mysterious places, would you ever take a trip to a forbidden place?