The world’s ten creepiest abandoned cities
Kolmanskop, Namibia, Africa:
Abandoned since: 1954
Once a successful diamond mining community, Kolmanskop is now a desert ghost town where the houses welcome only sand. The desert city was originally built when Germans discovered great mineral wealth in the area. They built the town in an architecturally German style with a ballroom, a theater, and the first tram system in Africa. The desert reclaimed the town when the miners moved on. The sands have filled houses, covered the streets, and slowly erased most signs of civilization aside from the towering homes and public buildings. The sight of a decaying German town in the shifting sands of the Namib desert is anachronistically delightful.
Hashima Island, Nagasaki, Japan:
Abandoned Since: 1974
During the industrial revolution in Japan, the Mitsubishi company built this remote island civilization around large coal deposits in the Nagasaki islands. The island is home to some of Japan’s first high rise concrete buildings, and for almost a century, mining thrived on the island. At its peak, the 15 acre island housed over five thousand residents - coal workers and their families. Today, a post-apocalyptic vibe haunts the abandoned island and the dilapidated towers and empty streets exist in a creepy industrial silence. In 2009, the island opened to tourists, so now you can take a trip to explore the Ghost Island’s abandoned movie theaters, apartment towers, and shops.
Bodie, California, United States:
Abandoned since: 1942, though the last issue of the local newspaper, The Bodie Miner, was printed in 1912.
The poster boy for a ghost town, Bodie is absolutely stunning in its dereliction. The boom-town over 8,000 feet up in the Sierra Nevadas was a gold rush outpost, and, at its height in the 1880’s, allegedly one of the largest cities in California. 65 saloons lined the dusty mile long main street, meaning the saloon to resident ratio was definitely high enough to keep the sheriff busy. Beyond the swilling of brews though, Bodie developed into a city filled with big town characteristics like churches, hospitals, four fire departments, and even a Chinatown district. Today, visitors are free to to walk the deserted streets of this town built on gold and hope.
Northern Atacama desert, Chile
Abandoned since: 1960
Declared a UNESCO heritage site in 2005, Humberstone was once a bustling saltpeter refinery in the desert of northern Chile. Life on the moonscape of the Chilean pampas is extremely sparse, and outposts like Humberstone served as work and home for many Pampino miners. The hostile environment proved a menacing part of everyday life for Humberstone residents. Their efforts to extract nitrates from the largest saltpeter deposit in the world transformed farming in Europe and the Americas in the form of fertilizer sodium nitrate.