Eerily Beautiful Abandoned Places Around the World

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What is it about abandoned places that make them so beautiful yet also eerie? Is it the place’s history? Maybe it’s the mystery of whether spirits of the past still roam the premises today.  Or perhaps it’s both. Whatever the reason may be, abandoned places can certainly be both striking and creepy all in one and there are tons of them located all around the globe.

From abandoned amusement parks to sand-filled buildings, these places feel like they’re frozen in time. Let’s take a trip around the world and discover 12 eerily beautiful abandoned places that are just waiting to be explored.

Great Train Graveyard, Uyuni, Bolivia

Bolivia is renowned for its large salt flats and breathtaking landscapes but one place you have to visit is the Great Train Graveyard located in Uyuni. At a first glance, the tourist attraction looks like a set straight out of a Mad Max film as the desert landscape is scattered with rusting, antique trains.

In the early 20th century, trains were imported from Britain with the goal to make Uyuni a major train destination, explains Forbes. Tragically, the plans were abandoned “as both the mining industry lost momentum and also disputes with neighboring countries broke out,” says the source. All that remains today is a cemetery of corroded trains thanks to the salt and strong winds.

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Bodie, California

Bodie, located in California, USA is a former gold-mining town that is now frozen in time. Back in the 1800s, Bodie was once a bustling place and held a population of nearly 10,000 people. The California Department of Parks and Recreation says the town was named after Waterman S Body (William Bodey) who discovered gold north of Mono Lake, and eventually, people flocked to the town with the promise of money.

Unfortunately, in the late 1800s, people began to leave in search of other mining claims and Bodie officially became a ghost town in 1915. 46-years later, Bodie was declared a landmark and today it’s preserved by California State Parks. About 100 structures are still standing and you can take a tour to see them yourself.

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City Methodist Church, Gary, Indiana

Gary, Indiana is known for its large steel mills and of course, the birthplace of the Jackson family. But it’s also home to an eerily beautiful abandoned church, known as the City Methodist Church.

The City Methodist Church was built in 1926 and was once a thriving place of community but after the steel industry crash, the church (and city) fell to ruin. While the city’s residents don’t attend the church today, its beautiful ruins are left behind. The church takes on an English gothic style with ornate stonework, impressive arches and pillars, and stained glass.

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Six Flags, New Orleans

Once a thriving amusement park, Six Flags, located in New Orleans, is now an eerie abandoned park. The theme park was tragically destroyed by Hurricane Katrine in 2005. During the hurricane, saltwater levels rose up to 6-feet, causing damage to 80-percent of the rides. The CN Traveler says the water remained stagnant in the park for several weeks.

Today, all that’s left is a deserted and eerie amusement park — a tragic reminder of what happened to the city. Luckily for the city, there are plans to replace the site with a new amusement park complex and hotel.

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Houtouwan, Shengshan Island, China

In the 1980s, Houtouwan was a flourishing fishing village with a population of over 3,000. Unfortunately, due to its remote location, residents began moving out in the 1990s and the village officially became abandoned in 2002.

While this abandoned ghost town is certainly eerie, it’s also incredibly beautiful. “After decades of abandonment, empty houses in the ocean-facing, cliffside village — some of them still furnished — have been taken over by a blanket of lush climbing plants,” explains CNN Travel. A stark reminder that nature will claim back its space once civilization is gone.

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Lake Reschen Bell Tower, South Tyrol, Italy

Without knowing the history, Reschensee or Lake Reschen looks like a beautiful lake surrounded by a mountain landscape. But as you take a look around one bizarre structure stands out. A 14th-century bell tower oddly juts out of the water making you wonder what lies below.

The bell tower is actually an eerie reminder of a drowned city. The Italian village was flooded (intentionally) in the 1950s to create an artificial lake. The landscape is so eerily beautiful that it has inspired a 2018 novel, Resto Qui by Italian author Marco Balzano, and a 2020 Netflix thriller series, Curon. Today, the drowned village draws in tourists all over the world. If you visit in the winter, tourists can walk up and touch the historic bell tower when the lake freezes over.

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Kolmanskop, Namibia

Back in the early 1900s, Kolmanskop, located in Namibia (a country on the southwest coast of Africa), was a bustling town and hotspot for diamond mining. However, the population began to dwindle as the diamond supply ran dry. Eventually, it became a ghost town.

Today, Kolmanskop is an abandoned village famous for its sand-filled houses. In some areas, the sand is deep enough to cover your knees. The town was even featured in a few movies including a 1993 film, Dust Devil, and a 2000 film The King Is Alive.

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El Hotel del Salto, Colombia

El hotel del Salto looks like a haunted mansion straight out of a movie set. While the hotel does look spooky, the architecture is quite beautiful, and not to mention it’s located in the most stunning landscape. The hotel is nestled along a cliff and overlooks a breathtaking waterfall on the Bogotá River.

The structure was initially built in 1923 as a residential mansion for architect Carlos Arturo Tapias. In 1928 an addition was built and it was converted into a hotel but unfortunately, business diminished during the 1930s due to the Great Depression. Over the years, many people leaped to their tragic fate at the hotel which is why many believe the hotel and the falls are haunted to this day. While the haunting stories still taunt this historical building, the once-abandoned hotel is now a museum to celebrate the country’s heritage.

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Dome Homes, Marco Island, Florida

The Dome Homes look like a scene straight out of a Star Wars film. These futuristic-looking concrete domes have inspired many interesting legends surrounding their origins from secret cults to aliens, says Atlas Obscura. But the truth is, the structures were designed by retired oil producer Bob Lee.

Built in 1981 the Dome Homes were constructed to be self-sufficient, eco-friendly vacation homes for Lee and his family. Unfortunately, due to the changing landscape, the homes began to develop erosion, making them unlivable. The structures used to be completely on land but are now overtaken by the sea. The homes were repurchased in 2001 with hopes to restore the structures but due to costs and delays, there was no hope of saving the buildings.

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The Maunsell Sea Forts, England

The Dome Homes aren’t the only abandoned floating structures in the world. The Maunsell Sea Forts, located in England are a sight worth seeing too. The giant metal towers were constructed in the Thames estuary to protect England from German air raids during World War II.

In the 1950s the forts were decommissioned and then were taken over as pirate radio stations the following decades. Today, one of the nearby forts is occupied by the micronation Principality of Sealand. The forts are in varying stages of decay making them unsafe to access, however, they can be safely observed by boat or on a clear day from the Shoeburyness East Beach.

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Ryugyong Hotel, Pyongyang, North Korea

Standing at 1,080 feet is North Korea’s tallest unoccupied building, known as the Ryugyong Hotel. The building eerily towers over everything below it, which may be why it’s nicknamed the “Hotel of Doom.”

Construction began in 1987 and unfortunately halted due to economic troubles, says Insider. The towering structure finally reached its full height in 1992 but the inside was never finished. To this day, the hotel has never hosted a single guest making the entire interior a mystery.

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Beelitz-Heilstätten Hospital, Germany

Located near Berlin, Germany is a 121-year-old hospital, known as the Beelitz-Heilstätten Hospital. According to Insider, it was once the largest treatment center in the world for lung diseases but today it’s abandoned, leaving behind a chilling reminder of its past.

The Beelitz-Heilstätten Hospital also served as a military hospital during World War I, and one of the patients was Adolf Hitler after he was wounded by a shell blast in the Battle of Somme. It was used as a military hospital again during World War II and then was occupied by the Soviet military for 50-years, says the source.

The hospital was finally abandoned in 1995, and while some sections of the complex are still used for research and rehabilitation today, most of the building has been left untouched for almost 25-years. What’s left are ominous hallways with peeling paint, providing an eerie and mysterious atmosphere.

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Clarissa Vanner

Clarissa Vanner

Clarissa is the Junior Managing Editor of ActiveBeat. She aspires to live a healthy lifestyle by staying active and eating foods that nourish her body, but she isn't afraid to indulge in a little chocolate here and there! Clarissa loves cooking, being outdoors, and spending time with her dog. In her free time, you'll find her relaxing in her hammock or curled up on the couch reading a book.