From castles to churches, structures all over the world have been left to waste away.
Some were left empty after radioactive disasters, while others simply faced economic hardship.
The following abandoned places include residential buildings, places of worship, and entire towns.
Madeline Diamond, Ciara Appelbaum, Frank Olito, and Lindsay DeMunno contributed to an earlier version of this report.
Kolmanskop, Namibia, was once an opulent mining town. Now, it's buried under the sand.
Kolmanskop was at its liveliest in the early 1900s, when German miners came to the area to hunt for diamonds. With them, they brought German architecture, giving the desert area an opulent, out-of-place look. The town featured a ballroom, a hospital, and a bowling alley among other amenities.
The town's decline began shortly after World War I, but the final nail in the coffin was the 1928 discovery of a diamond-rich area along the coast. Most of Kolmanskop's residents hurried to the new hotspot, leaving their belongings and the town behind.
The desert has slowly been taking over Kolmanskop ever since.
The United Kingdom's Maunsell Sea & Air Forts in the Thames and Mersey estuaries were built to defend the country against German forces.
During World War II, the Maunsell Army Sea & Air Forts was a group of forts raised above the water on stilts, designed by Guy Maunsell, a British civil engineer.
The forts officially closed in the 1950s, but the structures that remain can occasionally be seen from land at East Beach Park in Southend-on-Sea.
Ross Island was a British settlement on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in India before it was abandoned due to an earthquake.
Vegetation has all but consumed the remains of the island, which was once referred to as the "Paris of the East." In its prime, it was home to British government officials, as well as a penal settlement set up after the Indian Rebellion of 1857. The British residents made it their home with extravagant dance halls, bakeries, clubs, pools, and gardens until 1941 brought an earthquake and an invasion by the Japanese.
Ross Island was then alternately claimed by the Japanese and British until 1979 when the island was given to the Indian Navy, which established a small base there.
The Graun Church Tower in Lake Reschen, Italy, was literally drowned.
Graun Church on Lake Reschen in South Tyrol, Italy, was once a regular Italian church. However, an artificial lake was built in 1950 in order to provide the town with electricity, drowning the historic church, 160 homes, and forcing its residents to leave.
All that remained visible for years was the church's bell tower — which looked like it was floating in the waters — until 2021, when the lake was temporarily drained, revealing remnants of the village of Curon beneath.
The Haludovo Palace Hotel was a luxurious retreat on the Mediterranean Sea in Krk, Croatia, in the 1970s.
This mid-century-style hotel opened in 1971, drawing visitors to the small Croatian island of Krk.
A year later, the founder of Penthouse Magazine, Bob Guccione, invested $45 million in the property and expanded it, turning it into the lavish Penthouse Adriatic Club Casino.
Once the Yugoslav Wars began in the early 1990s, Krk was no longer a popular travel destination, and the hotel was eventually abandoned.
Bannerman Castle in Beacon, New York, was once a lavish home. Now, only parts of the structure remain.
Located on Pollepel Island on the Hudson River, Bannerman Castle once acted as arms storage for Frank Bannerman, a Scottish munitions dealer in New York City. Bannerman and his wife eventually built a glamorous, castle-like home on the property, and resided there during the summer.
After a powder explosion in 1920, several fires, and various changes in ownership, the castle is not the breathtaking sight it once was, but Bannerman's name can still be seen plastered on what remains of its facade.
Pripyat, Ukraine, was evacuated following the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986.
On April 26, 1986, a radioactive release 10 times bigger than the nuclear bomb on Hiroshima occurred at the Chernobyl nuclear power station. Around 350,000 people were forced to evacuate their homes, leaving in such a haste that the city looks like it's frozen in time.
Dolls are scattered on the floors of abandoned kindergartens; shreds of sheets and pillows remain on beds, and dishes rot in sinks. Radiation levels in the city are still too high for people to live there, so it remains untouched.
Military Hospital in Beelitz, Germany, once treated Adolf Hitler. These days, it's a crumbling building.
This eerie military hospital once treated Nazi leader Adolf Hitler for a thigh injury he acquired during a WWI battle in late 1916.
It was built in the late 19th century to help rehabilitate tuberculosis patients in Berlin but was later abandoned during the fall of East Germany.
The chilling building was used as a set for the Oscar-winning film, "The Pianist."
Jonestown, Guyana, has been taken over by the dense jungle.
Jonestown, Guyana, was the location of one of the most shocking tragedies in American history, as 909 members of the People's Temple died from cyanide poisoning at the direction of a cult leader.
The village where the cult resided is now mostly covered in dense jungle vegetation, although a few structures still remain.
The abandoned City Hall subway stop in New York City was originally built to impress.
Completed in 1904, City Hall station was the first southern terminal of the first line of the New York City subway. Built to impress New Yorkers with their swanky new mode of transportation, the station featured Roman brick walls, brass chandeliers, and vaulted arches.
It closed in 1945 as it could no longer accommodate the growing ridership, but apparently you can still see it if you stay on the 6 train after its last stop, on its way back uptown.
Buzludzha Monument in Bulgaria was once the House of the Bulgarian Communist Party.
In power during the height of Soviet influence, the Bulgarian Communist Party decided to erect the monument to commemorate socialist communism. However, the site was abandoned after the government's fall from power in 1989.
Simacem in North Sumatra, Indonesia, was abandoned because of the threat of a volcanic eruption.
After 400 years of dormancy, Indonesia's Mount Sinabung has been erupting in recent years, causing various villages on its slopes to be evacuated. They remain abandoned, declared too dangerous to inhabit. Simacem is one such town, and today, it's filled with the remains of lives hastily left behind.
Lynch, Kentucky, was once considered the largest coal camp in the world. Now, it's abandoned.
At its peak, Lynch, Kentucky, had 10,000 residents — the most people any coal camp had in the world. It even had its own power plant, which was built in 1919. However, as coal declined, so did the city, and the plant — and most of Lynch — now sits abandoned.
The abandoned submarine base in Balaklava, Ukraine, was once top secret.
This abandoned aquatic facility was originally built by the USSR as a top-secret plant designed to house a fleet of nuclear-ready, Soviet submarines during the Cold War.
The complex remained untouched for a long time until the Russian Federation gifted the abandoned base to the Ukrainian Navy in 2000. It is now a museum.
Humberstone, Chile, was left so suddenly that it appears frozen in time.
Humberstone is a former English saltpeter mining town in the Atacama Desert. Synthetic nitrate invented during WWI replaced saltpeter, meaning that the facilities were no longer needed.
People fled the town abruptly, leaving behind pictures that still hang on walls and closets still filled with clothes.
In 2005, Humberstone was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Athens Olympic Village in Athens, Greece, was once home to the Olympics, but now, it's dilapidated.
Although you'd expect ancient ruins in Athens, these modern facilities fell into disrepair sooner than expected.
After hosting the Olympics in 2004, Greece simply had no use for world-class, expensive-to-maintain venues for niche sports like softball, beach volleyball, or even swimming, so they became useless immediately after the Olympics left town.
Despite being made of wood, Rum Orphanage in Turkey still stands today.
This large wooden building on Büyükada, off the coast of Turkey, was originally designed to be a luxury hotel and casino. However, due to issues with permits, the building was sold and eventually turned into an orphanage in the early 20th century.
The approximately 215,000 square foot building is reportedly the largest historic timber building in Europe, according to the World Monuments Fund.
After ending operations as an orphanage in 1964, the building remained unoccupied for decades. In 2012, restoration began to turn the site into an environmental institute.
The city of Pompeii, Italy, was discovered buried beneath dirt and debris.
One of the most famous eruptions of all time, Mount Vesuvius' 79 A.D. eruption completely buried the ancient Roman city of Pompeii under a thick blanket of volcanic ash.
The city was abandoned for nearly 2,000 years until explorers discovered it fully intact underneath 20 feet of dirt and debris in 1748.
Many of the abandoned structures are still standing today.
Houston Astrodome in Houston, Texas, was once a bustling arena, but no one can agree on a revitalization plan today.
The world's first domed stadium, The Astrodome, has been abandoned since the Houston Astros baseball team left it in 2003.
A staple of Houston's city skyline, the stadium remains abandoned, but it has state and national protection, so it won't be torn down. Instead, groups continue to propose ideas for what it could be next, KVUE reported in 2022, including one idea for the area to be turned into a park beneath the building's steel framework.
The Mys Aniva lighthouse in Sakhalin Island, Russia, has stood since the 1940s.
Aniva is a coastal town on Russia's Sakhalin Island, near Japan. The Mys Aniva lighthouse sits on the rocky coastline, abandoned and worn down.
The lighthouse was built by Japanese engineers in 1939 and was used by both Japanese and Russian militaries over the years.
The site is popular today among urban explorers, some of whom have found belongings of people who once lived in the lighthouse.
The Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia was once a revolutionary prison and became the most famous in the world.
The spooky Eastern State Penitentiary was once the most famous prison in the world, but now stands in ruins. It once held many of America's most notorious criminals, including "Slick Willie" Sutton, an American bank robber, "Scarface" Al Capone, the Chicago mob boss, and Freda Frost, a female inmate who poisoned her husband.
Today, the prison is a museum.
St. Nicholas Church in Mavrovo Lake, Macedonia, is sometimes semi-submerged in water.
The Saint Nicholas Church was built in 1850 but has been abandoned for about 100 years. When Lake Mavrovo, which is manmade, was created, a dam filled the surrounding area with water. However, since the area has experienced droughts in recent years, it is possible for visitors to enter the ruins of the church.
The dome homes near Marco Island in Florida once stood on the beach, but they've been pushed out to the ocean.
These concrete dome-shaped structures may look futuristic, but they're actually just the vacation home of a retired oil producer.
Bob Lee built the dome homes in 1981 as an environmentally friendly and self-contained getaway for his family on Marco Island, Florida.
While the pods once stood on their concrete pylons right on the beach, erosion has resulted in their current location in the ocean. In 2022, Hurricane Ian destoryed what was left of the homes.
The City Methodist Church in Gary, Indiana, is so creepy that's it's been used as a set for horror movies.
The crash of the steel industry hit Gary, Indiana, hard in the 1970s. This economic depression resulted in the abandonment of many once-popular buildings, including the City Methodist Church.
The church reportedly cost a whopping $1 million to build back in 1926, which would be about $7 million by today's standards. However, despite all the work that went into building the beautiful English Gothic-style church, the parish officially closed in 1975.
Since its closure, the City Methodist Church has not gone entirely untouched. The site has acted as a shooting location for several movies, including "A Nightmare on Elm Street," "Transformers 3," and "Pearl Harbor."
The Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Louisville, Kentucky, is believed to be haunted.
The Waverly Hills Sanatorium acted as a hospital in which patients with tuberculosis were quarantined in the early 1900s, although the building that still stands today was not completed until 1926.
The hospital operated until 1961 when an antibiotic that cured tuberculosis was discovered. Today, many people believe that the site is haunted. Visitors can participate in ghost tours, haunted houses, and laser light shows on the hospital grounds.
The Sathorn Unique Building, or "Ghost Tower," in Bangkok, Thailand, is a popular destination for urban explorers.
Commonly known as the "Ghost Tower," the Sathorn Unique Building in Bangkok is an abandoned skyscraper that's shrouded in mystery.
The luxury high-rise was built in the 1990s, although construction was abruptly halted upon the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis. As a result, the building has fallen into decay and has become a haven for urban explorers. The inside of the tower is covered in graffiti.
While climbing to the top of the building is really dangerous, visitors can still get a glimpse inside from the ground floor of a nearby parking garage.
Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang, North Korea, is the tallest unoccupied building in the world.
At 105 stories with a striking triangular shape, the Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang towers over much of the city.
Construction on the building began in 1989 with plans of containing Japanese lounges, casinos, and night clubs. However, the hotel has remained unfinished for decades.
Bodie, California, is the perfect example of the Wild West.
Bodie, California, is just a few hours south of the popular vacation town of Lake Tahoe, but it feels like a step back in time to the Old West.
This ghost town, which is now a state park, had its heyday during the California gold rush in the late 19th century. Today, the park aims to keep the town as authentic as possible.
Every summer, the park offers nighttime ghost tours that take visitors to Bodie's church and 106-year-old abandoned mill.
Teufelsberg is located on a hill in Berlin, Germany, and was originally used to listen to Americans during the Cold War.
Located in Berlin, Teufelsberg ("Devil's Hill") is a man-made hill built out of rubble after World War II.
During the Cold War, the dome-like structures were added and used as US listening stations. Antennas and satellite dishes were built on the site in order to intercept radio signals from East Berlin.
The New York State Pavilion in Flushing Meadows, New York, was part of the World's Fair.
The futuristic-looking structures that stand in Flushing Meadows Corona Park actually date back to the early 1960s, when they were built for the New York World's Fair in 1964.
A dream team of architects, including Philip Johnson, Richard Foster, and Lev Zetlin, designed the complex, which includes observation towers, a theater, and a tent that once had a cable suspension roof.
While the fairgrounds have been empty for decades, a massive restoration of the complex that will make it suitable for visitors is currently underway.
Nara Dreamland in Nara, Japan, was inspired by Disneyland but fell abandoned for around 10 years.
Built in 1961, Nara Dreamland fell into disrepair after closing in 2006 due to dwindling visitor numbers, according to Atlas Obscura.
There has been fire under the ground in Centralia, Pennsylvania, for over 50 years.
Until 1962, Centralia was just like any other coal mining town in central Pennsylvania. However, after a fire at a landfill spread to several local mines, the town became uninhabitable.
As the fire grew, it moved through the mines and underneath the town, creating health safety issues for residents.
Today, Centralia is completely abandoned, although it is full of eerily empty streets, houses, and businesses. You can still see steam rising from the ground in many areas, including on an abandoned strip of road that has become known as "Graffiti Highway."
The cabins in abandoned Garnet, Montana, are miraculously still standing.
Many mining towns were built quickly and cheaply in order to allow miners to start working as soon as possible. This was the case in Garnet, Montana, a 19th-century town that was once home to 1,000.
Garnet is now known as Montana's best-preserved ghost town. Log cabins, schools, and saloons that were once home to gold miners and their families can be explored for only $3. There are campgrounds nearby for people looking to get an overnight experience.
Craco, Italy, survived earthquakes and landslides before being abandoned in 1991.
This hillside ghost town was founded in the 8th century and sits on a cliff that's 1,312 feet off the ground. The city emptied due to various natural disasters. In 1963, many evacuated after a landslide; in 1972, a flood made conditions even more precarious; and in 1980, an earthquake caused the town to be abandoned in its entirety.
A locked gate surrounds the city, so visitors must book a guided tour. Thanks to a miraculously unscathed statue of the Virgin Mary, the town hosts various religious festivals throughout the year. And despite the fact that the area is a ticking time bomb, the city has been used for several films, including "Passion of the Christ."
The SS Ayrfield in Sydney, Australia, has become a floating forest.
The SS Ayrfield was frequently used during World War II, often traveling back and forth from Newcastle to Sydney, Australia.
However, after the ship was retired in the 1970s, it took on an entirely new purpose. The ship was abandoned in Homebush Bay in Sydney, not far off shore. Plants began to grow on what remained of the ship's hull, which eventually turned into a lush forest.
Today, you can spot fully grown mangrove trees on the abandoned ship, providing a unique contrast with the hull's rusted exterior.
Crookham Court Manor School in Berkshire, New York, has a sinister history that involves child abuse.
This empty boys school in Berkshire, New York, has been abandoned since the late '80s, after a high-profile child abuse case came out and forced the school's closure.
A photographer who visited the building told Daily Mail, "I felt emotional as I walked around. I wondered what terrible things had happened in the rooms which are now eerily empty. It's horrible to even imagine."
Four former staff members have since been jailed, and the building remains in creepy ruins.
Most of the buildings at Letchworth Village in Rockland County, New York, are partially demolished.
Once a sprawling campus with stately buildings, Letchworth Village is a now-defunct mental institution that has fallen into deep decay. Despite being ahead of its time (it tested the first polio vaccines in the 1950s) it closed in 1996, after years of reports of abuse and horrible conditions.
While most of the buildings are covered in graffiti both inside and out, it is still possible to view some aspects of the original architecture and uses for specific hospital buildings.
The once-bustling Spreepark amusement park in Berlin, Germany, is now empty and overgrown.
Spreepark was built as a dinosaur-themed amusement park by the communist government outside of Berlin in 1969. While the park's popularity flourished in its early years, it was finally closed down in 2002 due to a lack of interest.
While many abandoned buildings and parks are closed off to visitors, guided tours of the ruins of Spreepark are available.
Hashima Island in Japan was once a bustling mining town located. Now, it's a crumbling island.
Hashima Island was once known for its undersea coal mines, which began operations in 1881. The island hit peak population in 1959 with over 5,000 residents (mine workers and their families), but once the mines started to run dry in 1974, most people left, according to Lonely Planet.
The once-thriving island is now completely abandoned. The island, however, was featured as a villain's lair in the Bond movie, "Skyfall."
The Olympic Aquatics Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, has fallen into shambles.
The Aquatics Stadium, which was built for the 2016 Olympics, now sits in disrepair.
The city of Rio spent an estimated $13 billion on the Olympics, and several of the venues have since started to fall apart.
Chateau Miranda in Celles, Belgium, is an abandoned orphanage.
This abandoned building has served a lot of different purposes. It was originally built by French aristocrats who were fleeing the guillotine, later became an orphanage, and is now just a ruin.
Although its owners got several offers, they refuse to sell it.
The Glenwood Power Plant in Yonkers, New York has been abandoned for over half a century.
Designed by the architect responsible for New York City's Grand Central Station, The Glenwood Powerplant in Yonkers, New York is nowhere near as bustling as Manhattan's famous travel hub.
The power plant was completed in 1906 and hasn't been in use since the 1960s. Now, according to Thrillist, New York State has plans to refurbish and make use of the plant by adding amenities like an art center and a cafe.
Once filled with students, The Bennett School for Girls in Millbrook, New York, is now crumbling to the ground.
The Bennett School for Girls looks more like a crumbling castle than a school building. The women's college — that served just 120 students during any given academic year — closed in the 1970s, but its primary complex still remains.
Kings Park Psychiatric Center, located in Kings Park, New York, has been out of use since 1996.
Kings Park Psychiatric Center is an abandoned psychiatric hospital in Long Island, New York. Although the entirety of the facilities were supposed to be demolished, some of the buildings still remain, and continue to deteriorate to this day.
The hospital is featured in a number of movies, TV shows, and is the subject of various urban legends. Abandoned NYC explains that it is "quickly becoming synonymous with vengeful spirits, villainous doctors, and murderous mental patients."
The abandoned Kennecott, Alaska, was a successful copper-mining town in the early 1900s.
Kennecott, Alaska wasn't always desolate — in fact, it once overflowed with a valuable natural resource. In 1906, it became the "self-contained company-town" of the Utah Copper Company. Home to five mines, the town had among the world's highest concentration of copper.
The abandoned town is now a National Historic Landmark and resides within Wrangell - St Elias National Park, and is frequented by the park's visitors.
The Moynaq Ship Graveyard in Uzbekistan was revealed when one of the world's largest lakes dried up.
The Moynaq Ship Graveyard is a ghost town in the middle of the Uzbekistani desert, almost 100 miles away from the nearest shore.
Once one of the four largest lakes in the world (it was 26,300 square miles), the Aral Sea dried up when the rivers feeding it were diverted for irrigation purposes in the 1960s.
Today, dozens of abandoned ships are disintegrating in the scorching desert heat.
Willard Asylum in Willard, New York, is filled with empty suitcases from previous patients.
The Willard Asylum for the Chronic Insane opened its door in 1864, after Dorothea Dix's investigation into the treatment of the mentally ill found that most were treated poorly. It was one of the largest mental hospitals in the United States.
The first patient to arrive was Mary Rote, who was brought in in chains. By 1890, the asylum was home to over 2,000 patients.
The asylum closed its doors in 1995 due to a push for de-institutionalization, and was left abandoned. Hundreds of suitcases were found later: remnants from the people who once lived there, filled with photographs and keepsakes.
St. George's Basilica in Lukova, Czech Republic, is more famously known as "The Church of Ghosts."
The basilica was first built in 920 by Prince Vratislav I. In 1142, following a major fire, the church had to be rebuilt. But it continued to suffer from fires and damage, and eventually fell into disrepair after World War II. The church kept deteriorating, and in 1968 the ceiling collapsed during a funeral, which residents took as a bad omen. It's been abandoned since.
However, in 2012 art student Jakub Hadrava used the church as a canvas for his senior project. He created ghostly figures to fill the pews, which turned the abandoned church into somewhat of a tourist attraction.
Petite Ceinture is an abandoned railroad in Paris, France.
This 20 mile-railroad was built in 1851 as a passenger and freight railway. By 1934, it was declining as a passenger service and replaced by the Paris Métro. It was used by freight trains until 1993 but has been abandoned since.
Some of its stations have been turned into bars, restaurants, and municipal buildings, however, it is mostly overgrown and inhabited by wildlife.
Enchanted Forest Playland in Toledo, Ohio, closed down after only five years in operation.
Amateur builder R.W. Bishop purchased 14 acres in North Toledo in 2000 and transformed the land into an amusement park that he called "Enchanted Forest Playland."
Despite Bishop's hopes, attendance never picked up enough to sustain the park, and five years after its grand opening, the Enchanted Forest Playground officially shut down.
Many of the attractions have been sold off.
Rhyolite is a well-preserved, eerie ghost town in Nevada.
Rhyolite, one of Nevada's largest ghost towns, was formed in 1904 during the Gold Rush. However, the gold ran dry and its mines closed in 1911; the town was abandoned by 1916.
Rhyolite has been restored multiple times for Western movies over the years. If you visit Rhyolite now, you'll see the remains of the bank, the town jail, and the restored Bottle House, a house made from 50,000 glass beer bottle bottoms. The original architect Tom Kelly built his house out of beer bottles because there were not many other construction materials in the desert town.
Built on the border of Texas and New Mexico, Glenrio was a popular rest stop.
Glenrio was technically part of both Texas and New Mexico. It was frequented by travelers, as it contained a small motel, but declined in popularity when the highway I-40 was developed.
Despite being an abandoned town, Glenrio makes some appearances in popular media. An animated version of the town's motel is featured in Cars; and some scenes in The Grapes of Wrath were filmed there.
Mystic, South Dakota, was once a small, yet bustling, mining town. Now, its structures are empty.
Hidden in South Dakota's Black Hills is Mystic, a small town, originally known as Sitting Bull, that originated as a mining camp. In the 1870s, when geologists found gold in Castle Creek, they decided to establish a small mining town alongside the small body of water. The camp's population, at its highest, was only about 100 people.
According to Thrillist, before its eventual abandonment, Mystic had a post office, two rail lines, imported coal, and exported timber and gold.
Once a "transit hub," Shaniko, Oregon, is now completely desolate.
Not only was Shaniko, Oregon, a transit hub, but it was home to the largest wool warehouse in the state of Oregon. In 1903, Shaniko became known as the "Wool Capital of the World," and for a good reason: The small town alone exported over 2,000 tons of wool, which brought it about $3 million in revenue.
The town's success was brief. Once considered a hub for train passengers, much of its success was dependent on the influx of travelers who came through Shaniko's train station. When the Oregon-Washington Railroad and Navigation Company developed a superior train route that didn't stop anywhere near Shaniko, the town quickly went downhill.
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