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29 Places That Became Even More Beautiful Once They Were Abandoned

I love to travel and see new places. I especially love when there isn’t a soul around when you are discovering a new place. The quiet lends itself to the beauty surrounding you when you are the only one experiencing the magic of a new destination. That quiet is even more prevalent when the place you are visiting was once inhabited but has been abandoned. Being in a place that used to experience life on a daily basis, but has sat vacant for a long time enhances the experience and changes the mood. It can be almost eerie, however it can also increase the beauty of such places. I love sitting in these types of settings and just imagining how it once was. What was it like before these special places were abandoned? Who once lived or worked here? What was it like for them to walk away and never look back? Here are 29 places around the world that are absolutely beautiful because they are sitting dormant.

1. Cape Romano Dome House – This house was built on its own island near Southwest Florida. It was completely self-sufficient and eco-friendly until the shoreline started to change. Built in 1982, it has been vacant since 1997. It is now slowly sinking into the ocean despite the fact that its current owner had plans to save and restore the once beautiful home by moving it further inland.

29 Places That Became Even More Beautiful Once They Were Abandoned

2. Christ of the Abyss at San Fruttuoso, Italy was originally placed in the Mediterranean Sea in 1954 in the spot where the first Italian scuba diver, Duilio Marcante, died. It is a bronze statue of Christ offering benediction of peace.

3. Holland Island in the Chesapeake Bay was originally settled in the 1600s, but because the island started to erode away due to the wind and tide, out from under the entire community, it was abandoned about 100 years ago in 1914 with the last family finally giving up and leaving in 1918.

4. This was once the city of Pripyat in the Ukraine. In 1986 there were nearly 50,000 residents but they were all evacuated in just two short days due to the Chernobyl disaster. This disaster was an accidental explosion at a nuclear power plant which released radioactive particles into the atmosphere and spread over much of western USSR and Europe. Pripyat was only 62 miles away from the nuclear plant and is now a part of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.

5. St. George’s Abbey in the Black Forest in Germany – Originally founded in 1084 AD, it was abandoned in 1536 when the Dukes of Württemberg expelled the Abbey and the monks were dismissed. The monastery suffered through a fire in the 1600’s and it was never rebuilt.  Despite its abandoned state, or maybe because of it, the abbey is still a beautiful building!

29 Places That Became Even More Beautiful Once They Were Abandoned
David Gray / Getty Images

6. This is the abandoned Wonderland Amusement Park outside of Beijing, China. It was to be the largest amusement park in Asia but due to financial difficulties the project was abandoned in 1998 before it could be completed.  The 120 acre plot of land where the park once stood has been taken over by farmers and sadly, the structures were torn down in 2013.

29 Places That Became Even More Beautiful Once They Were Abandoned

7. The remains of the Pegasus in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica – The Pegasus crashed due to bad weather in 1970 and has remained there ever since. Luckily, no one on board was injured in the crash. The nearby airstrip was named after the Pegasus and is a blue ice runway which can handle wheeled aircraft year-round in Antarctica!

8. Kalavantin Durg near Panvel, India – This is the most dangerous fortress in the world with an elevation of 2300 feet, but it does not have a natural source of water.  It was built on a plateau in 1458 AD and has been abandoned since 1657, except for a brief period of time when a freedom fighter and his associates made it their home in 1826.

29 Places That Became Even More Beautiful Once They Were Abandoned

9. Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the world. It was originally built in the early 12th century. It was mostly neglected after the 16th century but never truly abandoned.  It is an important structure in Cambodia and appears on the country’s flag and is the most popular attraction to visitors.

10. Abandoned fishing hut in the Berchtesgaden National Park in Bavaria, which is Southeast of Germany.  It’s absolutely beautiful!

11. Abandoned distillery in Barbados – It is hard to find because it is not meant to be a destination spot, but those are some of the best places to explore! If you ever find yourself in Barbados, this building is somewhere between Bridgetown and Bathsheba.

12. This abandoned cottage is found on the Kerry Way walking path between Sneem and Kenmare.  The Kerry Way is a 133 mile walking path that starts and ends in Killarney, Ireland!  This is absolutely breathtaking in its beauty! I may need to plan a trip to walk Ireland someday!

29 Places That Became Even More Beautiful Once They Were Abandoned

13. The remains of the SS Airfield in Homebush Bay, Australia has sat abandoned since it was decommissioned in 1972 and sent to the bay which is a ship graveyard.  This ship is known as the floating forest because of the mangrove trees that have taken over the abandoned hull!

14. The Michigan Central Station in Detroit was once the tallest rail station in the world. Opening its doors in 1913, it was shut down when Amtrak stopped service to the station due to decreased use in 1988.

15. The Valley of the Mills was used for grinding wheat and also had a sawmill used by cabinet makers and also a public wash-house.  However it was abandoned in 1866 because of the humidity which made working there unbearable.

16. Bodies Castle in East Sussex, England was built in 1385. It has been through several wars and was sold or surrendered several times.  In 1641, the castle was dismantled and left as picturesque ruins. Since then some remodeling has been done but it is now owned by the National Trust and is open to visitors since 1925.

17. Abandoned city of Keelung, Taiwan. When I tried to research what happened here all I could find was information about the densely populated Keelung City. I finally discovered that Keelung was abandoned in 1997 when the construction company working on the project went bankrupt.

29 Places That Became Even More Beautiful Once They Were Abandoned

18. Buzludzha was the house of the Bulgarian Communist Party.  This monument was opened in 1981 to commemorate the final battle between Bulgarian rebels and the Ottoman Empire in 1891. However, it has since been abandoned and subjected to vandalism.

29 Places That Became Even More Beautiful Once They Were Abandoned

19. Kolmanskop is a ghost town in Southeast Namibia’s Namib Desert. This town was once a booming mining town which was settled in 1908. However, once the diamond mines were exhausted, the town was abandoned in 1954 and the desert sands reclaimed the buildings.

29 Places That Became Even More Beautiful Once They Were Abandoned

20. The Warsaw-Vienna Railway was opened in 1846 and was a leading reason why Poland was one of the leading industrial centers since this now abandoned train depot once connected Czestochowa, Poland to the rest of Europe. However, it is now a train graveyard where it became obsolete due to 5 other railway stations in the area.

29 Places That Became Even More Beautiful Once They Were Abandoned

21. Craco, Italy was originally founded in 540 AD. It was abandoned in 1963 due to a series of natural disasters including landslides, a flood, and an earthquake.

29 Places That Became Even More Beautiful Once They Were Abandoned

22. The Bobsled Track in Sarajevo were built for the 1984 Winter Olympics. However, after the Olympics they were damaged in the Yugoslav wars and were also used as an artillery position by Bosnian Serb forces in the Bosnian War.  Now the track is completely abandoned except for the occasional bicyclist or graffiti artist.

23. This is the Hotel Del Salto in Colombia. Originally built in 1923 as a mansion. In 1950 there were plans to turn it into an 18 room hotel, however that goal was never completed. It was completely abandoned in the 1990’s due to the contamination of the river. Now the mansion turned would-be hotel is a museum.

24. North Brother Island near New York City was once a hospital, however now it is designated as a bird sanctuary.

25. This beautiful sunken ship is the Mar Sem Fim which was shipwrecked, sunk, and frozen in ice in Antarctica in 2012. The crew managed to survive even though it took two days for rescuers to arrive.  I would have loved to see this beautiful sight, however the owner of the Brazilian yacht was able to recover the ship in 2013 in an attempt to salvage some equipment that was being used to make a documentary.

29 Places That Became Even More Beautiful Once They Were Abandoned

26. The Maunsell Sea Forts were small fortified towers built during the Second World War to help defend the United Kingdom. They were named after their designer, Guy Maunsell, and used as army and navy forts. However, they were decommissioned in the late 1950’s and although they had been used for other things like pirate radio broadcasting, they were declared unsafe in 2008.

27. This is an abandoned Blade Mill in France.  Blade Mills were used as early as the 17th century and used to sharpen blades, knives, sickles, and swords. However the dust from the mill was dangerous, causing many workers to die young from “Grinder’s Disease,” which may be a reason this one was abandoned.

28. This is the beautiful Lawndale Theater in Chicago, Illinois. It was built in 1927 as a movie theater that could seat up to 2000 people. It has also been used as a burlesque and as a church. It closed permanently in 1961 after a gang leader was killed here. Unfortunately, it was recently demolished in July of 2014.

29. This is Nara Dreamland in Nara, Japan. It was built in 1961 but due to declining visitors the park closed in 2006. It is believed that the low number of patrons is due to Disneyland opening in Tokyo.

These abandoned places are breathtaking in their beauty. Not only do these abandoned places make me wonder about the people who used to live here, but it makes me realize how quickly earth takes over places that were once ruled by men. If mankind were ever to abandon Earth, I imagine every place will look like these places look now.

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