Ghost Towns

I spend a lot more time than i would like to admit looking through pictures of abandoned towns/schools/institutions around the world. There’s something eerily romantic about places that once were homes to families, that now lie empty. Some of the most beautiful pictures are those of places that were left in a hurry – a dinner table with plates and cutlery set out, a school where the desks are still in neat rows, and hospitals with equipment still plugged into the walls. Nature always finds a way in though, and most of these abandoned places have been partially reclaimed by the surrounding vegetation.

Varosha (Famagusta, Cyprus)

During its heyday, between 1970 and 1974, Varosha was one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, and was a favourite destination of wealthy, rich and famous stars such as Elizabeth TaylorRichard BurtonRaquel Welch and Brigitte Bardot. Long story short, the Turkish invaded Famagusta, the inhabitants of Varosha fled during the invasion, and it has been abandoned ever since.


This has got to be one of the creepiest abandoned places in the world, because the locals literally left their entire lives behind. Car dealerships full of cars, planes on runways, and even sheets on beds. Due to the violent nature of the occupation, i think everyone left in quite a hurry, and no one has been back since. Access is controlled by the military as it is still a highly disputed area.

Centralia (Pennsylvania, USA)

Though its exact cause has been disputed, the fire underneath Centralia, Pennsylvania caught alight sometime in 1962 and has been burning ever since.

The town sits right on top of a rich vein of coal, and the fire has defied every attempt to extinguish it. In 1981 a 12-year-old boy fell into a 150-foot hole that suddenly appeared in his back yard,, this was to be the beginning of the end. Most residents were relocated in 1984, and by 1992 the entire town was condemned.

Pripyat (Ukraine)

Pripyat is an abandoned city in northern Ukraine, near the border with Belarus. Named for the nearby Pripyat River, Pripyat was founded on 4 February 1970. It was officially proclaimed a city in 1979, and had grown to a population of 49,360 before being evacuated a few days after the 26 April 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

Craco (Italy)

After surviving the black plague and bands of marauding thieves for more than 1400 years, a landslide finally forced residents from Craco in 1991.

Gilman (Colorado, USA)

Gilman was one of those typical gold mining boom towns in the USA. It wasn’t a lack of product that finally ended the life of this town though. During an inspection of the outpost, it was discovered that Gilman and the cliff it occupied were beyond toxic, contaminated with “high levels of arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead and zinc in the soil and in surface and groundwater”.

Helltown (Ohio, USA)

Helltown is an area in Boston Township, Summit County, Ohio, known formally as “Boston, Ohio”. Local legend associates the area with Satanists and hauntings. These stories are generally considered “fakelore”.


In 1974 the National Park service bought several houses with the intent to demolish them. The homes were boarded up and listed as property of the government, some standing for years before being demolished. Rumors began to surface that the government was trying to conceal a chemical spill after a hiker in the park became ill after touching something coming out of some rusted drums at the abandoned Krejci Dump, nearby Helltown. There are many legends surrounding Helltown. The most popular ones are all about satanists and an abandoned house in the middle of the woods, the Boston Cemetery and the Boston Mills Road bridge, which is believed to be a crybaby bridge.

Frick’s Lock (Pennsylvania, USA)

Good old nuclear radiation is always a good reason to abandon a town, and this is exactly what happened here. A nuclear power plant was constructed across the river and the people of Frick’s Lock either left or were forced out of their homes, depending on who you choose to believe.

Now the the village of Frick’s Lock stands empty. As a village it took nuclear power to clear out the inhabitants of Frick’s Lock, but as a ghost town, it will take more than that to keep explorers away.

Wittenoom (Australia)

Set in the deserts of Western Australia, and apparently the nation’s most notorious ghost town.  It was evacuated in the late 1970s, and is also widely recognized as the site of Australia’s largest industrial disaster.

wittenoom 1

From 1943 to the mine’s closure in 1966, more than 165,000 tons of asbestos was extracted and shipped out of Wittenoom. However, it being the 40’s, there was little to no public knowledge about the dangers of asbestos. As a result, the toxic dust to spread throughout the town; it clung to the miners’ clothing, infecting homes, gardens, and schools. Of the 20,000 men, women, and children who worked or lived in Wittenoom in these decades, it is predicted that roughly 25% will die of asbestos-related diseases such as asbestosis, lung cancer, or mesothelioma. They waited until 1978 to eventually call a full-scale evacuation. Workers in the picture below are shoveling raw asbestos into drums.


Since then, the Australian government has seen fit to wipe Wittenoom off every map, more or less rendering this ghost town invisible. It lies in the vast, rocky landscape of the Pilbara region, cut off from travel routes, power grids, and other resources. In fact, every effort has been made to hide Wittenoom from the history books altogether,  even erasing its name from road signs. In 2013, the Department of Local Government and Regional Development circulated a flier blaring the headline: “Visiting Wittenoom is not worth risking your life.”


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