14 Ghost towns

  • Varosha, Cyprus

    A super popular tourist destination prior to the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, Varosha is now a series of dilapidated sea-side high-rises and abandoned beach cabanas. Its inhabitants fled during the invasion, and it has remained abandoned ever since. Photo johnl.org
  • Arltunga, Australia

    A favourite part of this old Outback mining town (and early European settlement) is the "loneliest pub in the scrub", also known as the Arltunga Hotel. It's an ideal place for lunch or a cold beer before or after exploring Arltunga which was born out of a gold rush. Photo travelingbeats.com
  • Bodie, California

    Proclaimed a National Historical Landmark and run by California’s State Parks, Bodie is probably the best preserved ghost town in the US, and one of the best in the world. It’s story is similar to that of Namibia’s Kolmanskop: gold, glamour and then the inevitable sad decline. The town was entirely deserted by 1940. Photo ghosttowngallery.com
  • Chaiten, Chile

    Like a modern-day Pompeii, Chaiten in Northern Patagonian Chile was evacuated when the nearby Volcano of the same name started erupting and spewing ash in May 2008. A month later the town was entirely evacuated and plans to relocate and compensate its residents are still a matter of controversy in the country. Photo: feww.wordpress.com
  • Deception Island, Antarctica

    A regular stop on Antarctic sailings, Deception Island was a popular place for scientific outposts until several volcanic eruptions destroyed the bases in the 1960s. Today you can see their remains, plus swim in hot springs. Photo: Wikipedia
  • Fatehpur Sikri, India

    Built by Emperor Akbar to be the most beautiful city in the world, it was widely thought this goal was achieved - until people realised the city lacked access to water. It was abandoned as the capital of the Mughal Empire after just 10 years and is today a perfectly preserved 16th-century town. Photo: Shutterstock
  • Hashima Island, Japan

    Commonly known as Gunkanjima, or “battleship island,” due to its ship-like shape, Hashima is one of 505 uninhabited islands in the Nagasaki Prefecture about 15 kilometers from Nagasaki itself. It was occupied as a coal mining area until the 1970s, but then the development of petroleum made its function redundant. These days it’s open to the public for tours.
  • Kangbashi, inner Mongolia

    While not entirely abandoned, so not a Ghost town in the strictest sense of the word, the sprawling city of Kangbashi was designed to house millions of people in its wide array of high rise buildings, but at present only has about 20 000 residents. Photo: mdnphoto.com
  • Kayakoy, Turkey

    The little village of Kayakoy, located 8 km south of Fethiyein southwestern Turkey, used to be inhabited by Anatolian Greek-speaking Christians. However, the population dramatically declined as a result of the Greco-Turkish war when a population exchange agreement was signed. A few hundred houses remain there today, and are preserved by the Turkish government, making it a popular tourist destination. Photo propertyturkeyforsale.com
  • Kolmanskop, Namibia

    Back in the early 1900s Kolmanskop was the place to be if you longed for adventure, diamonds and the good life. Located in Southern Namibia, close to the sea-side town of Luderitz, the town thrived for a good 20 years, but as soon as richer diamond deposits were found further south it started running dry. It was finally abandoned in the 1950s. These days it’s a fascinating tourist attraction. Photo Nadia Krige
  • Oradour sur Glane, France

    Perhaps one of the most horrific tales behind a ghost town, the original village was destroyed on 10 June 1944, when 642 of its inhabitants, including women and children, were massacred by a German Waffen-SS company. A new village was built after the war on a nearby site and the original has been maintained as a memorial. Photo: blog.impossibleliving.com
  • Prypiat, Ukraine

    The Ukranian town of Prypiat once housed the workers of Chernobyl. It even had it's own amusement park and, from the sad remains, seems to have been quite a pleasant place. Sadly, it was evacuated in 1986 shortly after the Chernobyl disaster struck and it's been abandoned ever since. Photo: famous101.com
  • Stromness, South Georgia Island

    A former whaling station, Stromness is even more remote, in a sense, than Deception Island. Get there by trekking across mountains on the famous route of Sir Ernest Shackleton. The station was abandoned in 1961, but the relatively posh managers' "Villa at Stromness" has been repaired in recent years in hopes of providing safe access for the growing number of visitors. Photo: freezeajollygoodfellow.blogspot.com
  • Tyneham, Dorset

    Until 1943 this was a bustling community of 200, with its own post office, church, school and rectory. When the War Office (now the Ministry of Defence) needed some land for firing practice, the residents were asked to leave and ensured that they would be able to return after the war. However, that never happened. Photo Shutterstock