There’s something about abandoned places that’s simultaneously frightening as much as they are fascinating. As nature takes over man-made creations, it’s easy to feel humbled by the raw power of nature.
The apocalyptic beauty of these once thriving locations shows us how precious the memories we have of a place are and how easily they can succumb to ruin only to be reclaimed by nature.
Houtouwan Village in Shengshan Island, China
Located on the northern side of Shengshan Island in China, this village once housed thousands of fishermen. But it was abandoned in the 1990s due to poor education and food shortages.
Now only a handful of residents remain to greet and sell water to tourists flocking to see the moss growing over the mostly abandoned homes.
Rubjerg Knude Lighthouse in Denmark
Built in 1900 near Lønstrup, Denmark, this lighthouse has been standing at only 200 ft above sea level, adorning the highest point of the coastal slope.
Its position made it vulnerable to sinking into the surrounding sands, and as a result, it was abandoned in 2002. By October 2019, the lighthouse was moved 230 ft inland via custom-built tracks to avoid coastal erosion or falling into the sea.
Grossinger’s Resort in Liberty, New York
Back in the 1950s, this New York resort was the place to be for affluent New Yorkers seeking to escape the city.
The resort fell into gradual decline after Jennie Grossinger, daughter of the original owners, died in 1972. The resort itself closed in 1986. Since then, the building has fallen into ruin, slowly overcome with moss and ivy.
The Initiation Well at Quinta da Regaleira in Sinta, Portugal
The Initiation Well at Quinta de Regaleira in Portugal is an unusual site. It was never used for water irrigation, and its actual usage remains a mystery.
It was built in 1904 by wealthy businessman and Freemason Antonio Augusto Carvalho Monteiro, and the structure has mystical symbols and references. After Carvalho Monteiro’s death, it was transferred to local ownership and has become a UNESCO world heritage site.
Old Car City in White, Georgia
The abandoned former car dealership is a well-known Instagramable stop for photographers seeking to capture the strange intermingling of manufactured goods and nature.
With trees growing out of vintage cars and moss seeking to cover everything in sight, the sight became a popular tourist spot after current owner Dean Lewis realized it was worth preserving.
Nara Dreamland in Nara, Japan
At the time of its completion in 1961, Nara Dreamland was Japan’s answer to Disneyland. Built as a replica of Anaheim’s Disneyland, the theme park was successful until Tokyo Disneyland opened in 1983.
The theme park fell into disrepair in 2004 until finally shutting its doors in 2006. The site was then famous as a touristic site for those eager to see the forest growing into the various rides. The theme park was then finally demolished in 2017.
Cape Romano Dome House in Ten Thousand Island, Florida
This Florida vacation home was built in 1981 in Ten Thousand Island, Florida, by Bob Lee, a now deceased oil tycoon. The house consisted of six self-sufficient, eco-friendly concrete igloos and four bedrooms and bathrooms.
Over the past 40 years, the igloos have fallen victim to hurricanes and other forces of nature and remain now an unusual tourist attraction site.
Floyd Bennett Field in New York City
Floyd Bennet Field was NYC’s first municipal airport until LaGuardia airport became the domestic flight hub. It was then sold to the U.S. Navy in 1941, until the war’s end, when it became a Naval Air Station.
Since 1974 it’s had park status, with the original airport hangars reclaimed nature with grass and other foliage growing inside.
Johannisthal Air Field in Berlin, Germany
Opened in 1909, the Johannisthal Air Field was one of the first motor airfields. Beset with several tragic accidents and, most notably, world wars, causing demolitions or closures, and changing hands after World War II.
It is now a park, though not necessarily in the traditional sense. Finding the entrance requires a sense of adventure and possibly some sneaking around. But brave explorers are rewarded with stunning visuals, ruins interspersed with growing trees.
Dunmore Park in Airth, Scotland
Dunmore Park is the estate of the earls of Dunmore and is most well known for its pineapple sculpture which acts as a focal point.
After the death of the original owners and parts of the estate sold to different people, there were plans to demolish part of the house, which never came to fruition. Today, the estate remains as ruins that attract tourists and can be rented via the Landmark Trust company.
Power Plant IM in Charleroi, Belgium
This power plant was built in 1921, becoming one of Belgium’s largest coal-burning power plants. It paved the way for the success of Belgium’s coal-burning industry, and its height provided power to over 6 million people.
After reports revealed that the plant was responsible for 10% of the CO2 emissions in Belgium, the plant shut down in 2007.
The church of San Juan Parangaricutiro in old San Juan Parangaricutiro, Mexico
After the eruption of the Parícutin volcano in the state of Michoacán, Mexico, the city of San Juan Parangaricutiro was destroyed, with everyone safely evacuated. The only structure that remains largely untouched is the church.
The church miraculously escaped much of the lava, leaving the altar entirely untouched. Today, the church is a site of pilgrimage for the original villagers who believe the church was saved by God.
Ghost Town in Kolmanskop, Namibia
Located in the Namib desert, this once thriving diamond mining town in Namibia has since been reclaimed by the desert, dunes filling up hallways of abandoned homes.
In 1912, the town was a haven for diamond mining and quickly became one of the wealthiest towns in the area, producing 11% of the world’s diamonds. But by 1956, the town was completely abandoned, the population chasing the diamond fields found on beaches to the south.
New World Shopping Mall in Bangkok, Thailand
This once bustling mall has been fighting destruction for the past 30 years. In 1997 it was officially shut down after the owner illegally added seven floors to the building’s original four floors.
The building has faced fires, flooding, and even a koi infestation, becoming a short-lived tourist attraction until the fish were removed in 2015. The abandoned mall recently served as an exhibition location for Bangkok Design Week.
Siemensbahn Train Station in Berlin, Germany
An abandoned station on Berlin’s S-Bahn train line, the Siemensbahn was built as a second station to support the workers of the Siemens & Halske company in 1925.
The war and the resulting construction of the Berlin wall in 1961 caused the station’s closure. It now has Berlin’s Denkmalschutz status, protecting it from further destruction besides nature.
Valle dei Mulini, Sorrento, Italy
The Valle dei Mulini, or “Valley of the Mills” in Sorrento, is a series of mills with stonework dating back to the 13th century.
The mills are located inside a gorge and are now overgrown with plant life and remain popular with hikers looking to witness the sublime beauty of the buildings.
Poison gas factory in Okunoshima, Japan
Now known as Rabbit Island, or Usagi Jima, due to the number of rabbits that inhabit the island, Okunoshima was once where the Japanese Imperial Army secretly manufactured mustard and other types of gas during World War II.
Many believe the rabbits are descendants of those who were the unfortunate test subjects for the poison gases. Wherever they came from, they are reclaiming the island’s dark history.
Buckner Building in Whittier, Alaska
Known as the “city under one roof,” the Buckner Building in Whittier, Alaska, was initially used as a U.S. military building until they abandoned it.
After a significant earthquake in 1964, the building fell into disrepair. Flooding is now a standard feature in virtually every room, with foliage growing on the walls and floors.
Ospedale al Mare in Venice, Italy
The Ospedale al Mare, or “Hospital by the Sea,” opened its doors in 1933 and was one of the only hospitals that provided water therapy and light therapy for its patients.
But from the 1970s onwards, the hospital faced financial issues, slowly causing each department to close. By 2003 the hospital was shut down. Since then, the abandoned complex has become a tourist attraction, despite the asbestos, mold, and other issues that plague the buildings.
Ghost Palace Hotel in Bali, Indonesia
The Ghost Palace Hotel, or PI Bedugul Taman Rekreasi Hotel and Resort as it was once known, entertains hundreds of visitors every week to marvel, despite never having guests to grace its halls.
Sitting high above, offering views of the Gunung Agung volcano, the resort has had rumors and legends telling of its cursed nature due to the shady business dealings of the owner. Despite this, many come to marvel at the eerie yet luxurious buildings that now remain.