Normally many people when they hear about ghost towns, what comes into their minds, are pictures of abandoned mining towns and ancient ruins, covered with dust and cobwebs as well as tumbleweeds. But that is not true as there are modern empty cities that have been abandoned. Their stories that led to the evacuation of the entire population range from an earthquake, volcanic eruption to nuclear disasters as well as towns that were taken over during a war period. There are numerous abandoned towns across the world, some of them are famous and other are not known to many people.
There are many factors which are essential in defining a city, and these include food as well as culture to the city’s residents. But what can happen if these are taken away from the particular city? This is what happened to ten abandoned cities that are located throughout the world.
Pripyat is a city found in Ukraine which experienced a nuclear disaster which is famously known as the Chernobyl nuclear disaster back in 1986. This was an infamous disaster that produced huge amounts of radiations that spread across the area. The incident led all the entire population in Pripyat to evacuate and abandon their homes and town within an area of 19 mile radius surrounding the plant that was deemed not fit for human occupation for at least 180 years.
But you can visit the town as Chernobyl region is just a two hours drive away from Kiev. There are tours ranging from private visits up to multi-day itineraries.
Kennecott is an abandoned city that is found in Alaska. About $200 million worth copper was mined and processed in Kennecott. This was a self-contained mining city that sits in Wrangell St. Elias National Park. The copper mining and processing activities took place between 1911 to 1938. As all the mining stories end, as soon as the copper deposits had depreciated, the entire population which was almost made up of mine workers cleared the town at once and left the buildings abandoned for a period of about 60 years. But there is hope of restoring the town as The NPS bought many of the buildings which are found in Kennecott as well as the lands back in 1998 and have started restoring so of them, such as the post offices and the general stores so as they can be used.
You can visit the town as the NPS is running a visitor center which is normally open during the Memorial Day and through Labor Day. It is possible to pick up brochures or you can plan for a guided tour where you will have a park ranger. There is also a Kennecott recreation hall which was fully restored back in 2004. You can rent it for an event in case you are planning for something that involves many invited people such as a wedding ceremony.
Pyramiden, Svalbard, Norway
Pyaramiden, Svalbard is found in Norway and it is located halfway in between Norway mainland and the North Pole. The town is a home of a population of 2,145 people, 1000 polar bears and is among the ghost towns that are found on the face of modern world. Pyaramiden, got its name from the pyramid shaped mountain that can be found near the town. The town was abandoned back in the 1930s, as soon as the Soviets had taken control of the town’s coalfields and soon began mining coal. When the Second World War ended, the Soviet government started pouring more money into the town, building hospitals, houses, cafeterias as well as all kinds of houses that were fashionable during that Soviet-era. Besides, they went to build cemeteries for both humans as well as cards as pet graveyards has always seemed to be a nice idea. But the investment was in vain as the coal mines in this area never brought in any profit to the Soviet government. The major blow came around back in 1996, while a plane which was flying from Moscow to Svalbard crashed and killed its 141 onboard passengers, which many of them were from Pyramiden. This tragedy was a blow to the town and the site was entirely abandoned when it reached 1998. What had happened to the site seemed like as if several hundred people had just stopped what they were working upon and just left.
Today you can visit the site, and stay in Longyearbyen which is the largest city of Svalbard. You will need to take a boat during the summer or a snowmobile during the winter in order to reach Pyramiden. Besides, you can pay for a multi-day guided tour via different tours that are available online.
Back in June 10, 1944, the Germany troops attacked Oradour-sur-Glane village in France. The army murdered 642 men, women and children as reported by the National Geographic. Soon after the massacre, the Germany set the village ablaze burning churches, homes, bans, cows, and everything that was around on that fateful day. Just few lucky residents survived to tell the story of that unforgettable night. Ever since that horrific night, the village has remained untouched, as it is currently serving as a shrine to those who had lost their lives during that horrific event.
Today the site is open for visitors and you can visit the place. To make your journey easy you will need to rent a car or cab that will drive you there. In case you are coming from the Northern part, then take the A20 Autroute and then follow the signs that will guide you and enable you to reach your destination, Oradour-sur-Glane.
There is entirely no way that you can guess by looking at it now, but the fact is Kolmanskop which is a town found in Namibia was once so famous for diamond mining and lavish expenditure back in 1908. But soon after the residents of the town have discovered that there were more diamonds just south of their city, the entire population abandoned the town and moved to the south turning Kolmanskop into a ghost town.
Today you can still visit the town as there are hour-long tours that are available on a daily basis. You can purchase your ticket in the town of Lüderitz, which is about five miles Southeast of the abandoned city.
More than one hundred years ago back in the 1900s, miners started a town that seated on top of a huge lot of gold-bearing quartz rock, and named the town Waiuta. This town was located in South Island, New Zealand and the site would go on to produce about 750,000 ounces of gold that came from 1.5 million tons of mined quartz. This report is according to New Zealand’s Department of Conservation. By the 1930s, this town had flourished and had its own hospital, post office and police station with a population of about 600 people. The city kept flourishing until when the main mining shaft collapsed in the year 1951, where residents were forced to move and abandon their town which then turned into a ghost town. As of today, the Department of Conservation has been working to preserve the standing buildings as well as the hiking trails which are found around the site. The department has gone further to turn one of the buildings, the Waiuta lodge, into a 30 bunk facility that serves as a school for groups and campers who need accommodation for a night sleep over.
In case you are planning to visit the site, you can drive westward starting from Reefton on State Highway 7, then drive by following the signs that will lead you to Waiuta through an unpaved road until you reach the site. As soon as you reach your destination, you will be able to explore the site on your own by following the demarcated trails or you can book a tour prior to your drive.
This is the Old West abandoned town that turned to a ghost town. Bodie was once a home to a population of 10,000 people. The town is located in California and flourished in the late 1880s after the discovery of gold deposits in the hills that surrounded the Mono Lake. But it didn’t take long before Bodie gold production declined and people started moving away from the town looking for other opportunities somewhere else. When it reached 1915, the town had almost entirely been abandoned as per the California Department of Parks and Recreation recordings. But the state of California decided to adapt the town and transform it into a state of a historic park in the year 1962. Thanks to the state, that Bodie has been preserved and now we are able to see the buildings and the site still standing in good shape. The state has made sure that the site keeps its old taste for tourists to see how life was like at the time when the city was flourishing.
In case you want to visit Bodie State Historic Park, you have to go to the northeast of Yosemite and the site can be reached by car by driving from Highway 395. Or you can visit the California Department of Parks and Recreation’s website for more detailed directions. What you have to know is that the last three miles of the journey involves a dirt road that can be somehow bumpy.
Here is the city of Craco found in Italy, which was founded in the eighth century, and is located at the hilltop. The city had always experienced calamities for several centuries, as it was a victim for wars, earthquakes as well as Black Plague. The last major calamity was a landslide that occurred in 1963, which led the remaining population to leave the town. Today the city still sits on the same spot with ruins of decayed houses covering about 1,300 foot high perch. The site is not well known to tourists.
In case you want to visit the place, you only need a car even though you will not be allowed to get into the city without having a ticket and a tour guide. You can get more information by visiting the Comune di Craco website, which provides detailed information and direction that will guide you to reach the site.
Thames Town, Shanghai, China
China is well known for replicating cities. As a matter of fact, Shanghai consist of seven cities built with a European theme so as to give the wealthy Chinese residents a new place that they can refer as being their home. There is a canal-lined street inspired by Dutch theme, a replica of Paris with an entire 300-foot Eiffel tower, Sweden replica accompanied by churches as well as Nordic houses. But here we are talking about “Thames Town.” This is a British replica found just 40 minutes’ drive from downtown Shanghai Town. While you are in the city, you see a perfect replica of Christ Church, Winston Churchill and Shakespeare statues, and to make the replica so perfect there are red telephone booths installed around the place. The city sounds to be so amazing and attractive, but in fact the project ended up being a failure as of now the city is abandoned.
If you visit Shanghai you can also visit the site as travelers are warmly welcomed to walk around the streets covered in cobles stones. There are seven replica cities in Shanghai. In order to reach the Thames Town, it is easy if you take the Shanghai Metro Line 9 that will take you to Songjiang Xincheng Station. From there you can take a taxi that will drive you for the remaining 2.5 miles. The tax will cost you about $2.
At the beginning of the 1900s, The Whalers Deception Bay which is found in the coldest continent, Antarctica was used as a premier destination especially for the whalers. They used the site as the safest place that they could process whale carcasses. There is a Norwegian whaling company that decided to create a permanent station upon the site. The company set up houses for its workers and installed giant boilers that were used in extracting oil from the whales. But back in 1931 the station was eventually abandoned as the price of whale oil dropped so much. But the station history is not yet over. During and after the end of world War II, several countries scrambled to dominate the Island but eventually, no one wanted after there was a volcanic eruption back in 1969. As of today, the Island has remained as a common stop for ships carrying explorers that are heading to the Antarctic.
In case you want to visit the site, you can book for a cruise by visiting the Lindblad Expeditions website. You will be able to visit and explore the site yourself. If you think that all you can find there is just the remains of a whaling station, then you are wrong. In case you are lucky, you will be able to spot penguins as well as get a bath in a natural hot hub.
Back in march 11, 2011 an earthquake and tsunami hit the Japan and led to the damage of three of the six nuclear reactors that were installed at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. The extent of the damage was so huge that the Japanese officials were struggling to contain and clean up the damage. The nuclear plant was used for generating electricity that was supplied to the Tokyo Electric Power Co.
The damage led to the contamination of air, water, and the surroundings. It is estimated that 40 to 50 people had experienced physical injury and radiation burns along the nuclear facility. Luckily the number of deaths caused by the incident has been quoted to be 0. The entire population of about 10,000 people had to be evacuated. In 2018, the Japanese government released a report that stated that one of the work who worked at the plant had died from cancer due to radiation exposure.
But mortality from being exposed to radiation was not the only threat that faced humans, officials who were involved in the evacuation procedures died too, and their number is estimated to 573. But reports state that the number of deaths during the evacuation process ranges between 1,000 to 1,6000. Older people and children were the most vulnerable and are the one who were much affected.
As of currently, most of the nuclear wastes have been cleaned out even though the site is still closed as no one is allowed to enter the place. There are still radiations that can harm human health. It will take quite a long time for the area to be declared safe for visiting. Therefore, if you had a plan of visiting the place, then it is in your best interest that you cancel that plan as it will never work. Besides, no one will let you into the premises as it is off limits to civilians.