List of ghost towns by country

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The following is a list of ghost towns, listed by continent, then by country.

Africa[edit]

Angola[edit]

  • The settlement of Tigres, situated on a peninsula now known as the Ilha dos Tigres ("Island of the Tigers"), was once a small but well-established fishing village. It was supplied with water from the nearby town of Foz do Cunene, at the mouth of the Cunene River. In the 1970s, Tigres was cut off from the mainland by the rising sea level, and its water supply line was severed; both Tigres and Foz do Cunene were subsequently abandoned.[1][2] The island, bound by the South Atlantic ocean and Baia dos Tigres, lies in a zone which is ideally suited for ecological projects.[3] The island was mentioned in the BBC documentary "Unknown Africa: Angola".

Central African Republic[edit]

Ethiopia[edit]

  • Dallol is a former mining town located in the Dallol crater, where the temperature can rise as high as 104° Fahrenheit (40 °C).

Ivory Coast[edit]

  • Grand Bassam was the French Colonial capital of Côte d'Ivoire until 1896, when it was abandoned by the French Colonial Government. Commercial activity gradually weakened until the city became a virtual ghost town in 1960, the same year Côte d'Ivoire became independent. Today the city has revived somewhat as a tourist center, but it still has the aura of a ghost town.

Mauritania[edit]

Namibia[edit]

From 1884 to 1915, Namibia was under the rule of the German Empire, and was known as German South-West Africa. When diamonds were discovered in 1908, German miners flocked to the area, and several new settlements were established, only to be abandoned once the supply of diamonds dried up. The ghost towns that were left behind include:

South Sudan[edit]

Antarctica and sub-Antarctic islands[edit]

The ghost town of Grytviken, South Georgia Island

The islands of Antarctica, particularly South Georgia, were popular with whalers during the first half of the 20th century, and many of the settlements on these islands are former whaling stations. Most of them were closed down during the Great Depression, when whaling became unprofitable, and are now abandoned. These settlements include:

Deception Island[edit]

South Georgia[edit]

Asia[edit]

Agdam, Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan[edit]

  • Agdam, the capital of Agdam Rayon, is a ghost town in the southwestern part of Azerbaijan. In July 1993, after heavy fighting, Agdam was captured by the forces of the Armenia during its 1993 summer offensives. As the town fell, its entire population were forced to flee eastwards. Many Azerbaijanis were killed by Armenian soldiers, . In the immediate aftermath of the fighting, the Armenian forces decided to destroy parts of Agdam to prevent its recapture by Azerbaijan.[8] More damage occurred in the following decades when the deserted town was looted for building materials. Agdam is currently a ruinous, uninhabited ghost town.[9] The town's large mosque also survives in bad condition.[10]

Bangladesh[edit]

  • Panam City in Sonargaon was established in the late 19th century as a trading center of cotton fabrics during British rule. Hindu cloth merchants built their residential houses following colonial style with inspiration derived from European sources. After the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 and the Muslim-Hindu riot, Panam City has reduced into a vacant community. Today this area is protected under the department of archaeology of Bangladesh. Panam city area was linked with the main city area by three brick bridges - Panam Bridge, Dalalpur Bridge and Panam Nagar Bridge - during Mughal period. The bridges are still in use.

Cambodia[edit]

China[edit]

Thames Town in Songjiang imitates a typical English town
  • Kangbashi New Area, a district of Ordos City, was intended to house one million people,[11] but soaring property prices and lack of infrastructure deterred residents of Ordos from relocating to the newly built-up area, and it now stands largely deserted.[12] In 2010, the population of Kangbashi was around 20,000 to 30,000, a fraction of its total capacity.[13]
  • Niya, in the Tarim Basin, was once a major commercial centre dating back to around 500-1000 AD.
  • Thames Town in Songjiang District was constructed in 2005 for 5 billion yuan. Like many new towns in China, Thames Town was built with a European theme. In this case, it was named for the UK's Thames River. The stores sometimes take the name of the English store they were copied from. The empty storefronts match the surrounding, unoccupied villa compounds.[14] Thames Town is otherwise notable as a desirable backdrop for wedding photography.[15]

Cyprus[edit]

The ghost town of Varosha, Cyprus

Georgia[edit]

  • Armazi, the original capital of the country, was destroyed in AD 736 by the Arab invader Marwan ibn Muhammad and never rebuilt, apart from a church, built in the 12th century but later abandoned. The ruins are now protected.
  • Ochamchire was a city of 18,700 people in 1978, but was left largely abandoned by ethnic cleansing of Georgians in 1992-1993.
  • Tkvarcheli is a coal mining town that suffered a drastic population decline as a result of the War in Abkhazia.

India[edit]

Iran[edit]

Japan[edit]

  • Hashima Island was a Japanese mining town from 1887 to 1974. Once known for having the world's highest population density (in 1959 at 83,500 people per square kilometer), the island was abandoned when the coal mines were closed down.[18]
  • Tomioka in Fukushima was evacuated in 2011, along with many other towns in the area, following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.

Malaysia[edit]

  • Bukit Besi is a former mining town in Terengganu, Malaysia. The population dropped drastically after 1971 when the Eastern Mining and Metal Corporation (EMMCO) closed their operation due to the iron ore there being exhausted.
  • Kampung Kepayang, in Perak, is almost uninhabited, with only two or three shophouses being in use. This is a result of the widening of the main road, which made it difficult to park a vehicle, and resulted in the shops losing business. However, there are still Malays who reside in the village houses behind the shop houses, and the addresses in Simpang Pulai are still written as "Kampung Kepayang".

Oman[edit]

Balcony walk, terraces of Sap Bani Khamis, Oman.
  • Sap Bani Khamis is an abandoned village halfway up a canyon, accessible only by a narrow path.[19]

Qatar[edit]

  • Al Arish is an old fishing village on the Northern coast of Qatar in the Middle East. Situated on the Persian Gulf, it was abandoned in the early 1970s and has since become a ghost town.[20]

Philippines[edit]

  • The Palace in the Sky was built at Tagaytay City as a vacation mansion for President Ferdinand Marcos, but construction was abandoned when he lost the 1986 election. The site was renamed "People's Park in the Sky", and is now a popular tourist spot.

Russia[edit]

Saudi Arabia[edit]

  • Al-Ula, or al-Deera as it is locally called, is now all but a ghost town. It consists of a walled village of about 800 dwellings around the perimeter of the more ancient castle with narrow winding alleys, many of which are covered to shield the people from the heat of the sun. Most of the foundations of the buildings are stone, but the upper floors are made from mud bricks, while palm leaves and wood are used for the ceilings. Although many of these houses were probably rebuilt over time, their foundation is likely to be from the original construction of the town in the 13th century AD. 45 metres above historic al-Ula, the town's Castle commands strategic views over the entire valley. It is sometimes referred to as the Castle of Musa bin Nusayr, the Umayyad-era army general who ruled over North Africa and was involved in conquering Andalusia in the early 8th century AD. He is said to have died in this castle on his way from Damascus to a pilgrimage in Mecca in 715 AD. Although the castle was rebuilt more than once during its long history, its origins date back to the 6th century BC. In fact, some of the foundation stones are from the original 2,600 year-old construction (according to signs posted). The castle is currently more of a bastion or watchtower once used to protect the town.
  • Albaten
  • Tharmida

Singapore[edit]

  • A few blocks of HDB flats (apartment flats) located in the Lim Chu Kang area of the island is known to be the only ghost town in Singapore. Named the Neo Tiew estate (or officially the Lim Chu Kang Rural Centre), it used to house residents before they were moved out of the vicinity in 2002 as part of an En-bloc scheme. Since then the Singapore government has declared it state land and nothing was done to demolish or renovate the flats. The area was used by the Singapore Army as a training facility from 2005-2009 until a newer training facility was built nearby in 2008. Its current fate is unknown.

Syria[edit]

  • The city of Quneitra became a ghost town after the 1967 Six Day War and subsequent Yom Kippur war in 1973. The ruins were left in place, and a museum has been built to memorialize the destruction. Billboards are maintained at the ruins of many buildings and the town is effectively preserved in the condition that the wars left it in.

Taiwan[edit]

  • The Sanzhi UFO houses a set of abandoned pod-shaped buildings built in New Taipei as a vacation resort. They stood abandoned for thirty years before being demolished.

Thailand[edit]

The ruins of old Ayutthaya, Thailand.
  • The city of Old Ayutthaya was the capital of the country from its foundation in 1350 until it was sacked and destroyed by the Burmese in 1767. The site is now Ayutthaya Historical Park.

Turkey[edit]

A ruined church in Ani, Turkey.
  • Ani, in Kars Province, was once the capital of the Armenian Bagratuni kingdom. It has been abandoned since the eighteenth century and is now a museum town.
  • Çökene in Büyükorhan district was a village until 2008. It is a site of empty houses after immigration to big cities due to money shortage and unemployment.[21]
  • Kayaköy was abandoned as a result of the 1923 population exchange between Turkey and Greece, and is now preserved as a museum village.
  • Sazak near Karaburun, a district of İzmir Province on the Aegean (western) coast of Turkey, was also inhabited by Greeks, which left the area according to the population exchange treaty. Nowadays Sazak is a total ghost town.

Europe[edit]

Belgium[edit]

Bosnia and Herzegovina[edit]

Bulgaria[edit]

Croatia[edit]

Czech Republic[edit]

  • Milovice-Mlada (cs), sometimes referred to as Boží Dar, is an abandoned military town near Milovice, northeast of Prague. It was abandoned following the Velvet Revolution in 1989, and ownership of the town transferred to the Czech government in 1992. It remains uninhabited to this day.[24]

Estonia[edit]

  • Viivikonna and Sirgala are former mining towns that started to lose their population after local oil shale reserves were depleted and the industry moved eastwards. By the 21st century, both towns had only a handful of people left, struggling to find a new place to live.[25]

Faroe Islands[edit]

Finland[edit]

  • Jussarö is an old village near the Jussarö mines.

France[edit]

Main street of Oradour-sur-Glane, France, unchanged since the German massacre.
  • Oradour-sur-Glane was destroyed by a Waffen-SS battalion during World War II and its population massacred. The village was subsequently rebuilt nearby, but the ruins of the old village have been preserved.

Germany[edit]

  • Bardowiek was a village in Selmsdorf that was demolished from 1977 to 1989, in order to clear a strip of land beside the Inner German border. The site is now part of a National Park.
  • Open pit coal mining in several areas of Germany creates ghost towns in preparation for the coal mining. Towns are evacuated several years in advance and turned into ghost towns. When the pit reaches the towns they are finally torn down.
  • Bonnland, Gruorn, Lopau, Wollseifen and others are ghost towns created as part of the creation of military training areas.

Greece[edit]

  • The island of Spinalonga is considered by some to be a ghost town. Serving as a leper colony for the first half of the 20th century, the island was abandoned when all its inhabitants were cured. By 1962 there were no permanent residents left. In recent years Spinalonga has become a tourist attraction as one of the last leper colonies to be closed down in Europe.

Hungary[edit]

  • Derenk, in north-east Hungary, was depopulated between 1938-1943, so that the surrounding area could be used as hunting grounds for Admiral Miklós Horthy, regent of Hungary.

Most of the ghost towns left by the Soviet Union in Hungary. These abandoned cities with storey houses are pillaged since the departure of the Soviets, but still preserved in some town. Like Nagyvázsony - Kis-Moszkva, Tab, Szentkirályszabadja, Kiskunlacháza, Kunmadaras.

Ireland[edit]

  • Innisfallen Island is the site of Innisfallen Abbey, once home to Finian Lobhar.
  • Killary, a village on the Dingle Peninsula, was created for the film Ryan's Daughter. The village in the film was built by the production company from stone so that it could withstand the storms. The empty village remained for some time until the buildings were demolished; only the road that went through the town is still visible.
  • Rindoon, County Roscommon, was deserted by the 14th century.[26]
  • Slievemore is a deserted village on Achill Island.[27]
  • Scattery Island is the site of a former village and monastery, and was once the home of Saint Senan.

Iceland[edit]

  • Súðavík was hit by an avalanche on January 16, 1995, which destroyed several buildings, most of them residents' houses. Fourteen people were killed (including eight children) and twelve were injured. Following several more avalanches, it was decided that the entire area was unsafe, and the village was evacuated. Today, the old town is mostly used a tourist resort.

Italy[edit]

Craco, Italy

Latvia[edit]

  • Skrunda-1, the site of a former Soviet Hen House radar installation, is a ghost town that was auctioned off in its entirety in early 2010.

Norway[edit]

  • Pyramiden ("The Pyramid") was a Russian settlement and coal mining community on the archipelago of Svalbard. It was founded by Sweden in 1910, and sold to the Soviet Union in 1927. The settlement, with a one time population of 1,000 inhabitants, was abandoned in the late 1990s by its owner, the state-owned Soviet company Trust Artikugol, and is now a ghost town.

Poland[edit]

  • Czerwona Woda ("Red Water") in Kłodzko Valley was established by German immigrants before WWII. Most of the abandoned houses are found in the mountains of Klodzko Valley.
  • Kłomino, near Borne Sulinowo in the northwest part of the country, was established as a place of residence for Soviet troops stationed in Poland with their families. The population was about 5,000. It was completely depopulated by 1992 after the collapse of the USSR. Only a few families live there now, but there are plans to repopulate the city.

Portugal[edit]

Spain[edit]

Belchite, Spain
  • Belchite, in the province of Zaragoza, Aragon, is one of the most well-known ghost towns in Spain. Before the 1930s, Belchite was a growing city, with many services. As a consequence of the Battle of Belchite, during the Spanish Civil War, the city was totally destroyed. Instead of a reconstruction, dictator Franco decided to keep the ruins of the old town of Belchite intact as a memorial of the battle. As of 1964, the town was totally deserted, the inhabitants having been removed to Belchite Nuevo, on the side of the old town. The ruins, which are not accommodated for tourism, are visited by more than 10,000 tourists annually. It is also a well-known meeting point for Francoist nostalgics, especially Falangists.
  • La Cornudilla, Valencia
  • Erillcastell, near El Pont de Suert, Catalonia
  • Esperan, near El Pont de Suert, Catalonia
  • Jánovas, Fiscal
  • Lacort, Fiscal
  • Llombai in the Vall de Gallinera, Alacant
  • Ochate, Condado de Treviño, Burgos, Castille and Leon
  • Peranera, near El Pont de Suert, Catalonia
  • Pernui in Sort, Lleida, Catalonia
  • Viuet, near El Pont de Suert, Catalonia

Ukraine[edit]

After the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986, hundreds of settlements within the exclusion zone were evacuated. Some have remained abandoned ever since, including:

United Kingdom[edit]

In 1942 and 1943, in preparation for the Allied assault on Normandy, several villages were evacuated to be used as training grounds for the British Army. This was intended to be a temporary arrangement, but many of the villages remained abandoned, and are used for military training to this day. Some of these villages are listed below; most of them are located within the Stanford Battle Area in Norfolk.

North America[edit]

Canada[edit]

Costa Rica[edit]

  • Cinchona (Sarapiquí, Alajuela) was destroyed by a 6.2 earthquake on January 8, 2009, which left 25 people dead, and five missing.

México[edit]

  • San Juan Parangaricutiro is a village in Michoacán that was buried by ash and lava in 1943, during the formative eruption of Parícutin.
  • Ojuela, a mining town near Durango, was abandoned when the area's ore supply was exhausted.
  • Real de Catorce was once a flourishing silver mining town in northern Mexico. Its dramatic landscapes and buildings have been used by Hollywood for movies such as The Mexican (2001) with Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts. Recent efforts to adapt the town to tourism have created a mixture of ghost town and heritage tourist site adapted to visitors in search of interesting history in the country.
  • San Antonio de la Iguana, Nuevo León
  • Thompson's Landing was a port at the mouth of the Colorado River. During the early settlement of Arizona, shallow-draft steamboats plied the lower reaches of the river.[citation needed]

Montserrat[edit]

Saint Pierre and Miquelon[edit]

  • Île aux Marins ("Sailor's Island") is a ghost town/island located a few miles away from the island of Saint-Pierre. Once inhabited by over 600 fishermen, families and tradesmen, the island was progressively abandoned until the last inhabitant left in 1965. The island is now a tourist attraction.

United States[edit]

Oceania[edit]

Australia[edit]

New Zealand[edit]

  • Kelso was abandoned after severe and repeated flooding in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
  • Lyell was a gold mining town in the Buller Gorge in the South Island of New Zealand.
  • Macetown was a gold rush town in Central Otago that started to decline during the 20th century.
  • Te Wairoa, also called 'The Buried Village', was a small Māori village that was destroyed by The Eruption of Mount Tarawera.
  • Venture, a small beech bark processing settlement in the Awaroa Inlet of the Abel Tasman National Park, was abandoned as the value of the bark declined and the cost of transport increased into the remote area. The remains of the foundations of the school house and assorted buildings remain in the bush today, although fire, time and the encroachment of the bush has rendered the ruins little more than a collection of stones and bricks. The settlement can only be reached by walking up a rarely used and poorly maintained track at low tide. The settlement and track are on the estate administered by the Department of Conservation.
  • Waiuta was a gold mining town on the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand until 1951.

South America[edit]

Argentina[edit]

  • The small lakeside resort town of Villa Epecuén was abandoned on 10 November 1985, after a series of heavy rains caused the lake water levels to rise and flood the town. The remains of the town re-emerged on 11 May 2013, when the waters of the lake receded.[34]

Brazil[edit]

  • The small village of Caraíbas, in the municipality of Itacarambi, suffered a rare earthquake in the early morning of December 9, 2007. It measured 4.9 on the Richter scale. Located over a geological fault, the village of 76 families was evacuated and has been abandoned ever since.[35]
  • Fordlândia was established by American industrialist Henry Ford in 1928 near Santarém. This was done to mass-produce natural rubber. Built in inadequate terrain, designed with no knowledge of tropical agriculture, and managed with little regard for local culture, the enterprise was an absolute failure; in 1934, the Ford factory was relocated to Belterra, but ultimately closed down in 1945.

Chile[edit]

Colombia[edit]

  • Armero was left in ruins by a volcanic eruption in 1985 that killed over 20,000 inhabitants. Survivors of the tragedy left for other towns, and Armero is currently unpopulated.
  • Bojayá is a small town in the Chocó department, that was attacked by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) on May 2, 2002. Most of the inhabitants hid in the church; A FARC mortar bomb landed in the building, killing approximately 140 people, including 40 children. Today, Bojayá is a ghost town and though plans have been made to rebuild it, it will not be on the exact location of the massacre.

Guyana[edit]

  • Jonestown was established in the 1970s by members of the People's Temple, led by Jim Jones. On November 18, 1978, Jones orchestrated a mass suicide, resulting in the death of 913 of Jonestown's 1,110 inhabitants. The town now stands in ruins, and is being slowly reclaimed by the jungle.

Peru[edit]

Venezuela[edit]

  • Potosí was a Venezuelan town in the western state of Táchira. The town was deliberately flooded by the Venezuelan government in 1985 to build a hydroelectric dam. In 2010, the town was uncovered for the first time since its flooding due to a drought caused by the weather phenomenon El Niño.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Aumento do calor em Angola faz sertão começar a virar mar" (in Portuguese). Globo. 28 December 2008. Retrieved 16 August 2012. 
  2. ^ "Fishing Spots and Beaches in Angola South", Cool Waters.
  3. ^ RE Simmons, A Sakko, J Paterson, A Nzuzi (2006). "Birds and conservation significance of the Namib Desert's least known coastal wetlands: Baia and Ilha dos Tigres, Angola". African Journal of Marine Science 28 (3&4): 713–717. doi:10.2989/18142320609504220. 
  4. ^ Thompson, Mike (2008-12-18). "Massacre haunts CAR villagers". BBC News. Retrieved 2008-12-18. 
  5. ^ Thompson, Mike (2008-12-15). "Deserted villages and abandoned lives". BBC News. Retrieved 2008-12-18. 
  6. ^ "Central African Republic: Where have all the people gone?". BBC News. 3 December 2013. 
  7. ^ "South Sudan 'sends more troops' to strife-torn town Pibor". BBC News. 2012-01-01. Retrieved 2012-01-01. 
  8. ^ Holding, Nicolas (2003). Armenia with Nagorno Karabagh - Bradt Travel Guide. p. 200.
  9. ^ "Города-призраки. Агдам – жертва мести, памятник глупости". Необычный. 6 October 2010. (Russian)
  10. ^ "Отчет о велосипедном походе по Армении и Нагорному Карабаху 2007". Mountain.
  11. ^ Powell, Bill (April 5, 2010). "Inside China's Runaway Building Boom". Time Magazine. Retrieved 2012-07-24. 
  12. ^ Hu Yinan (10 June 2010). "Ghost town". China Daily. Retrieved 2012-07-24. 
  13. ^ Robert Peston (11 November 2010). "China: boom or bust?". BBC News. Retrieved 2012-07-24. 
  14. ^ "Thames Town". Downtown Songjiang. 3 October 2011.
  15. ^ Lo, Danica (June 13, 2011). "Thames Town: The Fake English City in China Where Newlywed Couples Go For Staged Photo Opps". Racked. 
  16. ^ Tellier, Luc-Normand (2009). Urban World History: An Economic and Geographical Perspective. PUQ. p. 213. ISBN 978-2-7605-1588-8. 
  17. ^ Dalrymple, William (1989). In Xanadu. pp. 128–129. 
  18. ^ Burke-Gaffney, Brian (Summer 1996), "Hashima: The Ghost Island", Crossroads: A Journal of Nagasaki History and Culture (University of Wisconsin) (4): 33–52, ISSN 0919-6102 
  19. ^ "Life on the Edge: Trekking in Oman". WorldWiseWanderer. Retrieved 2011-12-28. 
  20. ^ "Qatar's abandoned fishing villages". Qatar Japan 2012. February 7, 2012.
  21. ^ "Geçim sıkıntısı 'hayalet köy' yarattı". CNN Turkey. Retrieved 2010-03-11. (Turkish)
  22. ^ a b Changes in the names and number of settlements in Bulgaria in 2008, Geography Journal, 1/2009 (in Bulgarian)
  23. ^ Dužanec, R.; Nebeski Hostić, S.; Polan, Ž. (2007). Geografija 2 - Udžbenik za Drugi Razred Gimnazije. Meridijani, Zagreb. p. 71.
  24. ^ Speak, Clare (29 March 2013). "The Soviet Ghost Town in the Czech Republic". Vice. 
  25. ^ "Viivikonna viimased asukad: Aga kuhu meil minna?" Reporter. 6 April 2008. (Estonian)
  26. ^ Somerville, Christopher (21 May 2011). "Walk of the Week: Warren Point Loop, Co Roscommon". The Irish Independent. 
  27. ^ Visit Achill - Deserted Village at Slievemore, Achill, Co Mayo, Ireland
  28. ^ "Filming locations for Nativity". International Movie Database. Retrieved 24 May 2011. 
  29. ^ "Filming locations for The Passion of the Christ". International Movie Database. Retrieved 24 May 2011. 
  30. ^ "Filming locations for Quantum of Solace". International Movie Database. Retrieved 24 May 2011. 
  31. ^ Diário de Notícias. Portugal tem duas aldeias à venda. Published 14 June 2013, accessed 9 August 2013.
  32. ^ Overview of Bothwellhaugh
  33. ^ "Drought uncovers Australia's drowned town". Brisbane Times. 2007-04-19. Retrieved 2009-08-25. 
  34. ^ "Strange Argentina ghost town that was underwater for 25 years suddenly re-emerges as tourist attraction". NY Daily News (New York). 11 May 2013. Retrieved 12 May 2013. 
  35. ^ Baptista, Renata (23 April 2008). "Itacarambi (MG) ainda sofre conseqüências de terremoto de dezembro". Folha de S.Paulo (in Portuguese). Retrieved 20 August 2012. 

External links[edit]