Top 20 Creepiest Abandoned Places Around the World

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Top 20 Creepiest Abandoned Places Around the World

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Nancy Roberge-Renaud
These terrifying places will send a chill down your spine. For this list, we'll be looking at some of the world's most haunting spots that have been left behind. Our countdown includes Hotel Del Salto, Poveglia Island, Aniva Lighthouse, Valley of the Mills, Pripyat, and more!
Transcript
Script written by Nancy Roberge-Renaud

Top 20 Creepiest Abandoned Places Around the World


These places will send a chill down your spine. Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 20 Creepiest Abandoned Places Around the World.

For this list, we’ll be looking at some of the world’s most haunting spots that have been left behind. Let’s begin this chilling tour.

#20: Orpheum Theatre

Massachusetts USA
The New Bedford Orpheum was officially opened on April 15th, 1912, which just so happens to be the same day the Titanic sank. It housed theatre productions and vaudeville shows and by the 1920s, newsreels and motion pictures when their popularity soared. It was considered the second oldest theatre in the US. It closed its doors in the late 1950’s, and was subsequently used as a storage space for a while, until its eventual abandonment. The building, which seats 1500, is still mostly vacant, and the subject of a possible renovation and reopening is in the works.

#19: Akarmara

Abkhazia
In Soviet times, Abkhazia was a popular holiday destination, with a busy railway line. However, conflict in the region, which declared sovereignty from Georgia in 1990, led to the abandonment of numerous buildings - including an entire area called Akarmara within the town Tkvarcheli. The ghost town includes dilapidated factories and apartment buildings with grand but crumbling facades. Once a booming coal town with a population of thousands, as of 2018 Akarmara was home to just 35 residents. Today, it’s a tourist attraction, but the wide streets and elaborate architecture remain a creepy reminder of past glory.

#18: Craco

Italy
Though there are other examples of abandoned Italian places like the old center of Balestrino, the Medieval settlement of Craco, founded around 540 AD, is one of the most noteworthy. Situated in southern Italy, Craco had two separate districts and a population of over 2,000 people at its height. A university was even established in the late-13th century. However, Craco’s history is also littered with troubles, including a devastating plague in 1656 and civil upheaval throughout the 1800s. A series of natural disasters and geological issues like a landslide in 1963 finally proved the final straw. After the Irpinia Earthquake of 1980, Craco was fully abandoned, and now it’s most known as a film set where scenes from films like “The Passion of the Christ” and “Quantum of Solace” were shot.

#17: Hotel Del Salto

Colombia
What was once one of Colombia’s most exclusive hotels is now one of its spookiest spots. The Mansion of Tequendama Falls was originally built by the architect Carlos Arturo Tapias in 1923, and converted into a luxury guesthouse in 1928. It boasted immaculate views of the Falls and there were plans to extend it to a hotel of eighteen floors. However, those plans were never realized as water pollution problems in the Bogotá River turned the once-serene setting into an unsightly one. Ultimately, the building was abandoned in the ‘90s. Furthermore, as the Falls are a noted suicide spot, the Hotel del Salto, aka the Tequendama Falls Hotel, is said to be haunted. It plays host to the Tequendama Falls Museum now, which shows the change from deluxe to dilapidated.

#16: Poveglia Island

Italy
Poveglia is a small island situated between the city of Venice and Lido in Italy. The tiny island has a rich history. Records of residency on the island date back to 421. In 1379 the inhabitants were forced to flee from warfare. One of its octagonal forts, which were built beginning in 1645, still stands. It is best known, however, for its use as a quarantine for plague victims for about 100 years beginning in 1776, and then home to a mental hospital until it was abandoned in 1968. The island has been vacant since, with locals avoiding it. The island was famously featured on an episode of “Ghost Adventures”. Despite occasional attempts to revitalize it, the island remains vacant.

#15: Maunsell Forts

England
Built during World War II as a last line of defense against Germany, the Maunsell Forts were never intended to last. The science fiction-like structures rising from the River Thames and Mersey estuaries were decommissioned in the 1950s, but while some succumbed to the sea or were dismantled, most remain intact. Some of the technology used in the forts’ construction was applied post-war to build offshore drilling stations, and during the 1960s these structures were home to pirate radio stations. The Red Sand towers are perhaps the best known of all the bases, and today there is an ongoing project to restore them. In fact, one proposal even suggests converting them into luxury apartments! For now, however, there are few more eerily isolated places on the planet.

#14: Bodie

USA
As a mining boomtown built in the California gold rush in the late 1850s, Bodie’s best years were between 1877-1880, when the population peaked at approximately 7,000 people. It was the archetypal Wild West town; its mile-long Main Street played host to saloon brawls, shootouts and stagecoach holdups. With a jail, bank, railroad and Union Hall, it was the model of an Old West movie set. Miners began to relocate in the 1880s however, and by 1910 less than 700 people lived here. When the last gold mine was closed in 1942, Bodie essentially became a ghost town. Today, it is preserved as a National Historical Landmark; the buildings remain unchanged, but the streets are deserted.

#13: Aral Sea Ship Graveyard

Kazakhstan & Uzbekistan
Situated between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, the Aral Sea was once the fourth largest lake in the world; now it’s the setting for an ultra-eerie graveyard of ships. The Sea has been shrinking ever since the 1960s, when two major rivers flowing into the lake were diverted as part of Soviet irrigation schemes. Today, less than 10% of the original lake remains. The decaying boats are a rusty reminder of the thriving fishing industry that once existed on Aral shores. There are tentative plans to redevelop the Aral Sea, but it seems all but impossible for it to regain its former vastness. Either way, these particular vessels are definitely not fit for action anymore.

#12: Valley of the Mills

Italy
Valle Dei Mulini, or the Valley of the Mills, is a location in Italy in which stone flour mills were housed beginning as early as the 1200’s. In 1866, Piazza Tasso, Sorrento’s central town square, was built, leaving the mill isolated beyond it. The mill was completely abandoned and left to the elements in the 1940s. The main stone building is hauntingly beautiful, as nature has reclaimed it, surrounding and hugging its walls with lush greenery. One can imagine it rich with the ghosts of former mill workers, producing grain for the area.

#11: Aniva Lighthouse

Russia
There are numerous abandoned lighthouses in the world. But few with as dramatic a setting as Aniva Lighthouse, on the southern tip of Sakhalin island in Russia. Thrusting up from rocks off the shore, the rusted, crumbling lighthouse rises nine stories high amid crashing waves. It was built by the Japanese in 1939, but taken over by the Russians during the Second World War. They installed a Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator, sometimes known as a “nuclear battery”, to power the light. Abandoned in 2006, it’s now home to nesting birds. While in the right light, it can appear beautiful (in a brutal sort of way), it’s also distinctly apocalyptic.

#10: Montserrat Island

British Overseas Territory
The island of Montserrat in the Caribbean was largely evacuated between 1995 and 2000, following the eruption of the long-dormant volcano in the Soufrière Hills. The eruption destroyed the city of Plymouth, and continued to be intermittently active, forcing the creation of an exclusion zone. Plymouth is now heavily buried in volcanic ash, its remnants a tourist attraction. The abandoned city is said to be eerily quiet, as it is absent of any wildlife. Most haunting are the houses and possessions left behind, as residents were forced to quickly vacate their homes.

#9: Varosha

Cyprus
Entry to this ghost town is forbidden; but its eerie, abandoned buildings can be admired from afar. Located in the city Famagusta, Varosha once had a population of 39,000 and was a Mecca for tourists. However, residents fled during Turkey’s 1974 invasion, and were never allowed to return. Today, the old hotels, shops, and homes are falling apart and overgrown with vegetation. If you want to know what the world would look like without us in it, Varosha will give you a good idea - its empty streets and buildings littered with reminders of the people who once lived there.

#8: Kolmanskop

Namibia
Set within the desolate landscapes of the Namib Desert, Kolmanskop was built when diamonds were discovered there in 1908. It was one of the most lucrative spots on the planet at one point, accounting for over 10% of the world’s total diamond production. The town itself was hurriedly built under German administration. As a result, its buildings all mimic European architecture, with the local pub and skittle alley reportedly the busiest spot. However, when even richer diamond deposits were discovered elsewhere in 1928, Kolmanskop quickly declined. The last families moved out in 1956, and the desert has been steadily reclaiming the settlement ever since. The effect might be described as an anti-oasis; there really was a desert paradise here at one time, but not anymore.

#7: Shicheng

China
Widely dubbed China’s Atlantis, Shicheng is one of the most inaccessible of today’s abandoned places, because it is entirely submerged in water! Schicheng – which translates to Lion City – was built between 1,400 and 2,000 years ago, but was purposefully flooded in 1959 to create Qiandao Lake. When divers rediscovered the city several decades later, experts and tourists marveled at how immaculately it had been preserved. Now, undisturbed and up to 131 feet below water, it offers a unique diving experience. There are even plans to build an inverted bridge for the city, otherwise known as a submerged floating tunnel, to give more people the chance to get an underwater glimpse without the need of a wetsuit.

#6: Gunkanjima

Japan
Officially known as Hashima Island, Gunkanjima is commonly known as Battleship Island thanks to its ominous appearance. Located ten miles from Nagasaki, Gunkanjima quickly became a symbol for Japanese industrialization due to its undersea coalmines. But it also gained notoriety before and during World War II as a brutal labor camp where Korean and Chinese workers endured extremely harsh conditions. Population peaked in 1959 when over 5,000 people lived on the 16-acre stretch of land, before the mine was closed in 1974. Travel to Gunkanjima reopened in 2009, allowing tourists to visit the decrepit site, which had lain deserted for 35 years. There’s now an otherworldly feel to the place as one that had once housed thousands of people, and now hosts plenty of ghosts.

#5: The I.M. Cooling Tower

Belgium
Built in Charleroi, Belgium in 1921, the I.M. Cooling Tower became one of the largest coal-burning power plants in the entire country. It adapted with the times to produce gas power in the 1970s, yet was eventually completely shut down in 2007 due to high CO2 emissions. The enormous structure still stands, and footage or photographs of the interior are truly compelling. Urban explorers make their way into the tower regularly, despite the occasional security guard, in order to provide us with haunting images of the interior.

#4. Kiev Metro Tunnels

Kiev
The subway tunnels in Kiev contain several long-abandoned areas. They are very seldom if at all maintained, and some are now flooded. The tunnels themselves lie deep beneath the city. There are, in fact, three stations that are disused, the train passing through but never stopping. All three were built (or partially built) in the 1990s, but construction was discontinued due to the economic downturn. The tunnels and stations now lie silent, with stagnant waters and the occasional stalactite protruding from the ceilings.

#3. Beelitz-Heilstätten

Germany
The 60-building sanatorium at Beelitz-Heilstätten was built in 1898 but was converted into a German military hospital during World War I. The site’s most infamous moment came in 1916, when a young Adolf Hitler arrived having been injured in the Battle of the Somme, and was treated for a wound to his leg. The Soviet Red Army took control of the complex following World War II. However, most of the site was abandoned by 2000, left to rot and succumb to the surrounding foliage. Rusting hospital beds, discarded surgery tables and decaying corridors combine for an incredibly haunting atmosphere – not least because Beelitz will always be the place that helped Hitler get back on his feet.

#2. The SS Ayrfield

Australia
The SS Ayrfield, built and launched from the UK in 1911, had various uses throughout its nautical life. It served as a steam-collier (a cargo ship designed to carry coal), and carried supplies for WW2. It was decommissioned in 1972, its hull abandoned to the elements in Homebush Bay, Sydney, Australia. Nature has greatly reclaimed the hollowed ship, and it is now referred to as a “floating forest”. There is a certain calming beauty about the image as a whole, as well as an eerie reminder of what once was.

#1: Pripyat

Ukraine
Following a massive explosion at reactor number four of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant on April 26th, 1986, the city of Pripyat was evacuated, with many of its 49,000 population already experiencing headaches, nausea and dizziness. The largely unknown threat of radiation poisoning created an 18-mile exclusion zone – which remains to this day. The city exists exactly as it was left, down to open textbooks in the classrooms, and set tables in the restaurants. What’s left is a city-sized ghost town with a harrowing past, while iconic images of the ruined Ferris wheel serve as a constant reminder of the dangers involved with nuclear power. There’s no other abandoned place quite like this one!
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