There are many places on our planet that have been abandoned to the natural forces. These are towns and communities that once thrived in the bygone day but are now crumbling into ruins. A nuclear accident turned a city into a zombie movie set, a German town in the desert of Namibia is getting buried under desert, and an ancient Roman Empire town is perfectly preserved under layers of volcanic ashes. Holidayme presents 10 such amazing ghost towns which have faced the full brunt of forces of nature and lost their relevance in the world, nevertheless, leaving memories of bygone days.
1. Pompeii, Italy
No ghost town list is complete without the inclusion of Pompeii. Nearly 2000 year ago, Pompeii was a bustling Roman city located on the plains of Mount Vesuvius. The volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in A.D.79 first covered Pompeii in poisonous gases and pyroclastic flow submerged the town, preserving the remains of Pompeii. Today, it has UNESCO World Heritage Site status and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Italy, with approximately 2.5 million visitors every year.
2. Pripyat, Ukraine
Once a bustling city, Pripyat, located in North Ukraine near the border with Belarus is one of the most well documented abandoned human settlements in the world. The city was built in 1970 and had a population of 49,360 filled with parks, school grounds, residential complexes, hospital, and library. Unfortunately, on 26th April 1986, the Chernobyl Nuclear Reactor blasted leaving behind deadly radiations and rendering the city desolate and uninhabitable.
3. Craco, Italy
Italy has plenty of abandoned villages on its shores and hills. Craco is a ghost town located in the southern Italian region of Basilicata and is the perfect example of the devastation caused by forces of nature. Worsening agricultural conditions, landslide (1963), flood (1972) and an earthquake (1980) forced the residents to abandon the village, which is now a popular filming and tourist location, featured in The Passion of the Christ and Quantum of Solace.
4. Kolmanskop, Namibia
Once a flourishing German mine town in the south of Namibia, Kolmanskop is now a town slowly getting consumed by a vast, expanding desert. In 1908, German miners discovered diamond and built a town in the German style with a hospital, ballroom, power station, school, theatre, casino and more. The fortune of the town started to dwindle after the First World War and by 1954, the diamond mines were exhausted and abandoned. Today, the once beautiful German town is filled with knee-deep sands.
5. Oradour-sur-Glane, France
The abandoned village in Haute-Vienne in west-central France is a testament of the ills of the devastating Second World War. On 10 June 1944, the peaceful village of Oradour-sur-Glane faced carnage when 642 residents of this ill-fated sleepy village were brutally massacred by a notorious German SS armed force company. A new village was established but on the orders of the French president, Charles de Gaulle, the original village is preserved as a memorial and museum.
6. Hashima Island, Japan
An abandoned island filled with concrete residential complex and a closed coal mine, popularly referred as Gunkanjima, lies 15 kilometres from the city of Nagasaki. In 1959, the city was established for the mining the undersea coalmines with concrete residential complex. However, by 1974, oil started to flow in Japan and replaced coal as the major source of fuel in Japan, prompting the closure of Hashima Island. In 2009, Japan allowed tourists to step foot on the desolate island, which also featured in James Bond movie, Skyfall.
7. Agdam, Azerbaijan
Wars have claimed many human settlements in our world and Agdam in Azerbaijan is one of them. In 1993, the entire population Agdam fled eastward to escape the invasion of Nagorno Karabakh Republic during its 1993 summer offensives. The occupying forces further damaged the city in order to prevent its recapture by Azerbaijani forces leaving only a graffiti-filled abandoned mosque.
8. Varosha, Cyprus
Varosha was once a thriving tourist city of Famagusta, Cyprus and saw renowned celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton frequenting to the place. However, Turkish Invasion of Northern Cyprus in 1974 forced its residents to flee the city and they never returned. Today, Varosha lies completely desolate and its high-rise hotels are crumbling in deserted beaches and abandoned roads and lanes.
9. Belchite, Spain
Belchite is an abandoned town in the province of Zaragoza, Spain and lies abandoned in a completely derelict condition. The site is the reminder of a fierce Battle of Belchite between General Franco’s troops and the Spanish Republican Army during the Spanish Civil War. A new village was constructed but on the order of General Franco, Belchite was not demolished.
10. Chaiten, Chile
The town of Chaiten in Chile was evacuated in 2008 after a volcano, which had remained dormant for 9,000 years erupted. The local river burst its banks and flooded the town as the population fled the area to the neighbouring safer areas. The extent of the damage is still not clear even after 6 years and the area continues to remain uninhabited and abandoned.