8 Odd And Eerie Ghost Towns
There’s nothing quite as eerie as a ghost town. When a city, village or large area once inhabited by human beings is deserted, the feeling most people (who dare visit the abandoned place) are left with is one of a creepy world inhabited by ghosts. The reasons for a massive flock of people to forsake an entire city vary, but that doesn’t change the fact that spooky ghost towns can make our collective skin crawl.
Of course, people being how they naturally are, they’re always looking for a bit of fright in their lives by returning to the places others have discarded and left behind. Here are some of the most interesting — and strangest — ghost towns to have ever been abandoned. Visit them if they’re still standing — and if you’re brave enough to conquer your fears.
Turkey and Greece have never seen eye to eye over the partition of the island of Cyprus. Thanks to their conflict, Varosha (part of Famagusta), once a tourist hotspot for Greeks, was abandoned after Turkish forces moved in. The area, complete with large tourist hotels and attractions, as well as great Mediterranean beaches, was sealed off. Varosha is now an empty wasteland, full of unused tourist amenities. Plans have been put forth to bring it back to life one day. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Battleship Island, Japan
Hashima Island, also know as Battleship Island, is a not only a ghost town—it’s an entire ghost island. If you caught the James Bond flick ‘Skyfall,’ you should be slightly familiar with this eerie island, which served as the inspiration (although it wasn’t the actual filming location) for the secret hideout of the Bond villain Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem).
Battleship Island — which is full of large, concrete buildings — used to function as a Japanese coal mining operation, but when coal became less profitable for the Japanese, the densely populated island and all of its structures were abandoned.
The Ukraine suffered one of the world’s worst nuclear disasters in 1986 at Chernobyl. The town of Pripyat (located in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone) was 50,000 people strong, but was emptied out and has remained abandoned ever since.
Schools, apartment complexes, amusement parks and other structures where left as is when the people left, although looters have made their way back into the Exclusion Zone over the years, and taken anything of worth back out with them. Prypiat is now a wild shell of a city, where trees grow inside of buildings, and nature has begun returning this “haunted” city back to the elements.
Kowloon Walled City, Hong Kong
If you would’ve liked to see an abandoned “Mega City,” you should’ve visited China in the 1980s. The Kowloon Walled City was a former military fort, near Hong Kong, that grew into a monstrosity of an ungoverned city. After WWII, neither the Chinese nor the British wanted to oversee this “city.” The gangsters, drug runners, prostitutes and squatters moved in, along with the ordinary citizens.
The buildings grew in height to accommodate all of the residents. Eventually China and Great Britain decided to deal with this no man’s land by evicting the tenants, and leaving the apartment blocks empty for some time. The buildings were demolished in the 1990s, and a park was created (the Kowloon Walled City Park) in their place, although a few parts of this once incredibly densely populated city still remain.
San Zhi, Taiwan
Shoddy construction practices, the death of construction workers and a drying up of funds doomed the futurist resort village of San Zhi on the island of Taiwan to decay and ghost town status. After investors and builders pulled out, this odd-looking village of “space pod” housing units was left to rot. Since many of the locals believed the deceased still haunted the pods, the entire ghost village was left alone for a long time until developers finally worked up the nerve and tore the UFO-shaped pods down, making way for a seaside resort.
Kolmanskop was once a bustling town in Namibia, just a few kilometers away from the Atlantic Ocean. It was made rich for a time by diamond wealth, but when the mines ran out of precious diamonds, the town began to die, and the desert reclaimed what mankind had built upon its sands.
These days, the half-buried ghost town of Kolmanskop serves as an occasional film location (‘Dust Devil,’ ‘The King Is Alive’), as well as a tourist destination for people interested in the history of mining. Kolmanskop is the perfect travel destination for folks who want to walk through a very empty town, robbed of her former glory.
Cincinnati’s Ghost Subway
If you know Cincinnati at all, you’re probably thinking right about now that Cincinnati doesn’t have a subway system. Well, you’re right and wrong. This city actually does have a subway, it’s just that no one ever uses it, and the trains are never on time, because they never run.
Cincinnati is the proud owner of the largest abandoned underground train tunnel system in the entire country. More than two miles were completed in the 1920s, but the project was shelved due to all sorts of problems. It might not be a proper “ghost town,” but Cincinnati’s lonely subway tunnels are just as eerie, nonetheless.
Craco is a medieval Italian ghost town. This lofty town was built, and continues to perch and crumble, atop a tall hill in southern Italy. The town thrived for many years, but during the last few centuries, the population began to slowly dissipate thanks to landslides and emigration. In the early 1960s, the town was considered too dangerous for people to live in, and the last of the inhabitants were moved away. These days, movie crews make use of this stark location, and tourists awe at how empty this once thriving village has now become.