The world is full of wondrous things, some consistently packed with gawking tourist and others almost entirely abandoned.
Here’s a selection of some of those fascinating empty spaces, ghost towns that are rich with history and the stories of the people that used to occupy them.
While most continue to rust and crumble in their neglect, all remain hauntingly beautiful.
1. I.M. Cooling Tower, Belgium
This cooling tower is part of an abandoned power plant station in Monceau-sur-Sambre, Belgium.
2. Kolmanskop, Namibia
Kolmanskop, a small settlement in Namibia, is a ghost town today but was booming in the early 1900s when Germans realized the area was rich with diamonds.
3. Floating Forest, Sydney
The hull of the SS Ayrfield, one of many decommissioned ships in Homebush Bay, harbors an over 100 year-old floating forest.
4. The Maunsell Sea Forts, Engalnd
The Maunsell Sea Forts were constructed to help defend against German air and naval raids during World War II. They were decommissioned in the late 1950s.
5. Last House on Holland Island, USA
This house was the last surviving home of an island community in Chesapeake Bay. It collapsed in 2010.
6. Pripyat, Ukraine
This city was evacuated during a disastrous nuclear power plant accident in 1986. It remains a ghost town to this day.
7. House of the Bulgarian Communist Party, Bulgaria
The former headquarters of the Bulgarian Communist Party were neglected after the fall of the Soviet Union.
8. Nara Dreamland, Japan
This Disneyland-inspired theme park was only open for 45 years, from 1961-2006.
9. Uninhabited Island in Southwest Florida, USA
These domed structures on Cape Romano off the coast of Florida were once a holiday home of oil producer Bob Lee.
10. Abandoned Mill, Italy
When operating, this mill in Sorrento, Italy produced flour.
11. Michigan Central Station, Detroit, USA
Once Detroit’s main passenger depot, several planning mistakes led to this station’s gradual decline.
12. Sunken Yacht, Antarctica
The Mar Sem Fim was a Brazillian yacht that shipwrecked in Maxwell Bay in Ardley Cove in Antarctica. The vessel froze and sunk into the water, but has since been salvaged.
13. The Orpheum Theater, Massachusetts, USA
This New Bedford theater was open from 1912-1959. After its closing, it stored tobacco and currently houses a supermarket.
14. Abandoned Train Station, Abkhazia, Georgia
This train station was abandoned during a war in 1992 and remains isolated because of the regional dispute between Georgia and Russia.
15. Abandoned Wooden Houses, Russia
These hauntingly beautiful structures can be found in an isolated forest in Russia.
16. Underwater City, Shicheng, China
This over 1,300 year-old underwater city was submerged in 1959 during the construction of a hydropower station. Sealed underwater and safe from wind and rain erosion, the city is still in fairly good condition.
17. The City Hall Subway Stop, New York, USA
This metro station sits below City Hall in New York City. It was abandoned because of its lack of adequate traffic and the curved layout that made it unsafe for newer and longer trains.
18. Salto Hotel, Colombia
Now a museum, the Salto Hotel was initially abandoned because of declined interest in the nearby waterfall.
19. Abandoned Subway Tunnel, Kiev, Ukraine
This picture was captured in the underground metro system of Kiev in the Ukraine.
20. Abandoned Submarine Base in Balaklava, Ukraine
While this submarine dock may not be entirely abandoned, it was once one of the Soviet Union’s most secret sites and was said to be able to endure a direct nuclear strike.
21. Abandoned Military Hospital, Beelitz, Germany
Parts of this military hospital, built in the late 1800s, remain in operation, but most have been abandoned.
22. Hashima Island, Japan
This island was once populated due to its access to undersea coal mines. However, interest declined after Japan gradually switched from coal to petroleum.
23. Sanzhi, Taiwan
These houses were initially built to serve as vacation destinations, particularly for US military officers.
24. Abandoned Church in the Snow, Canada
Now abandoned, Saint Mary’s Church in Sorrento, British Columbia remains eerily beautiful.