What's the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the term 'ghost town'? If your answer is, a town that is known for supernatural activities then you are wrong my friend. A ghost town is an abandoned city, village or town that was once thriving with human civilization. Ghost towns usually have substantial remains that are left behind by human civilization when they move out. On that note, here are 20 ghost towns around the world that you can visit and explore if you want a glimpse into the lives of once thriving communities.
1. Craco, Italy
This ghost town was founded in the 8th century and it sits on a cliff that is about 1,312 feet above the ground. This town was abandoned due to natural disasters. It was evacuated in 1963 after a landslide but, a flood in 1972 made the conditions worse. It was finally abandoned and left to ruins after an earthquake in 1980. You can book a guided tour to this town if you want to see the statue of Virgin Mary that hasn't suffered any damage despite so many natural disasters. There are various religious festivals too that are celebrated here throughout the year. This city might be a ticking time bomb but it has definitely become a famous tourist attraction where several films have also been shot.
2. Terlingua, Texas
Terlingua was a mining town that was discovered in the 1800s . Miners moved to this town because this area was rich in cinnabar, a red-mercury sulfide, from which mercury is extracted. This town attracted more people after Jack Dawnson discovered and produced the area's first mercury in 1888. During that time the population was close to 2,000 and by 1900 four mining companies had also opened up. By 1903, the population increased to 3,000 but, by the Second World War a mining company filed for bankruptcy which forced the miners to leave town. It was declared a ghost town by the end of the Second World War. During the 1960s people started coming back to this town. According to the Census report in 2010, only 58 people reside here. Those who stay here live in "Terlingua Proper" and they try to make good business off of the frequent tourists who visit this abandoned town to explore the churches and buildings that still stand.
3. Pripyat, Ukraine
This is probably the most famous ghost town in the world that fell to ruins in April 1986 when the worst nuclear disaster in the history of mankind took place. Pripyat was home to about 50,000 people but it was abandoned after a power plant in the Chernobyl Nuclear Station exploded due to overheating. The radiation produced by the man-made disaster was so high that people had to be evacuated immediately but, millions of lives were lost in the process. If you visit this town now, you'll come across dolls, gas masks, clothes, furniture and other household items lying around. The radiation level has dropped significantly and the area is marked safe to visit by scientists so, you can opt for a guided tour and explore this creepy town that has schools, hospitals, stores, gyms, cinemas, factories and even amusement park's.
4. Calico, California
This town was started with a mining company in 1881 when silver was discovered. The town boomed with the production of silver and it soon became home to over 500 silver mines and 3,000 residents. But, after the mines depleted and the price of silver went down, people started leaving this place. It was abandoned by 1986 but, Walter Knott (of Knott’s Berry Farm fame) bought the town and restored it. Today, it is registered as a Historical Landmark that's open to the public that even features a museum of the Old West.
5. Hashima Island, Japan
This island in Japan was once known for its undersea coal mines which began operations in 1881. In 1959, the island was occupied with over 5,000 residents that mostly consisted of the mine workers and their families. This island was thriving but in 1974, when the mines started torun dry, people started abandoning this island. Now, this island is completely abandoned but, there are sight seeing tours that are organised for visitors who are interested in seeing abandoned homes, stores and streets.
6. Kolmanskop, Namibia
This town was occupied by German miners who came here in search for diamonds during the early 1900s. It was built by German architectures and it also featured a ballroom, a hospital and bowling alley, apart from other amenities. Kolmanskop's decline began after World War 1 but it was finally abandoned in 1928 after the Germans discovered a diamond-rich area along the coast. Most of the residents left this town in a hurry to live in the new hot spot. This town has been left to ruins and now it's slowly getting eaten by the desert. If you want to visit this ghostly town, book your tickets for a guided tour in the coastal town of Lüderitz.
7. Virginia City, Montana, U.S.
Virginia City was originally a gold mining town that was founded in 1863. During its peak, it was occupied by 10,000 residents who were mostly miners. After the mines depleted, residents abandoned this town and left. Now, this place has been preserved as a National Historical Landmark. So, instead of seeing deserted streets as a tourist, you'll get a taste of what life was like here, thanks to its unchanged store fronts, houses, and buildings. This place also has an opera house that performs vaudeville theater.
8. Kennecott, Alaska
Kennecott was a thriving mill town that produced millions of dollars worth of copper between 1911 and 1938 but, its fame was short-lived. Once the supplies depleted, residents started abandoning this place because there wasn't much that this town had to offer. It was completely abandoned by 1950 and it's been a ghost town ever since. This place was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1986 and now, the National Park Service has taken over the land to offer guided tours to visitors.
9. Ross Island, India
Ross Island in Port Blair was once referred to as the 'Paris of the East' but now, it is completely consumed by vegetation. It was occupied by British government officials and was used as a penal settlement set up after the Indian Rebellion of 1857. British officials had dance halls, bakeries, clubs, pools and gardens in their homes but things changed after 1941, when an earthquake occurred and there was an invasion by the Japanese. This became disputed land because both, the British and the Japanese wanted to take over. In 1979, this island was finally given to the Indian Navy, that established a small base there. Now, tour groups visit this ghostly town almost every day.
10. Bodie, California
Bodie was a thriving gold-mining town that was occupied by 8,500 residents in 1879. The gold mines largely depleted within a decade and the inhabitants began leaving this place. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1961, but in 1962 the state legislature authorized creation of Bodie State Historic Park. So, if you want to explore this ghost town, you can definitely opt for a guided tour.
11. Dallol, Ethiopia
Dallol was a settlement in northern Ethiopia that currently holds the record high average temperature for an inhabited location on Earth. It is also one of the most remote places on Earth that no longer has roads or a rail system to the town. This town was home to a mining community during the early 1900s who came here to mine potash. When the mines depleted, residents started abandoning this place in the 1960s. Due to extreme weather conditions, most buildings that were made of salt blocks are now just a pile rubble and rust. Now, camel caravans are the only regular transport service which travel to the area to collect salt.
12. La Güera, Atlantic Coast
La Güera is a ghost town that is situated on the Atlantic coast at the southern tip of Western Sahara. It came into existence in the late 1920 when Francisco Bens, a Spanish colonizer established a fort and an air base on the western side of the Ras Nouadhibou peninsula after negotiating a deal with tribe chiefs of the zone. In 1924, La Güera was converted into the Spanish colony of Río de Oro. This town was abandoned by both Moroccan and Polisario Front forces due to constant land disputes between French and Spain. By 2002, this place was abandoned and partially overblown by sand. Now, only a few Imraguen fishermen stay here, guarded by a Mauritanian military outpost despite this not being Mauritanian territory.
13. Grand Bassam, Ivory Coast
Grand Bassam was the French colonial capital city from 1893 to 1896. It was originally a key seaport until the growth of Abidjan, the economic capital of Ivory Coast from the 1930s. This place is termed as a ghost town since large sections have been abandoned for decades. During 1896, the French capital was moved to Bingerville after an epidemic of yellow fever, because of which commercial shipping gradually declined and virtually ceased by the 1930s. Administrative offices and commercial buildings were transferred to Abidjan. The town began to revive as a tourist destination and craft centre in the late 1970s but, those attempts also failed. In 2012, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
14. Agdam, Azerbaijan
Agdam is a town situated in south-west Azerbaijan that is part of the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. It was occupied by 28,000 inhabitants during its peak. The town was captured by Armenian Forces during the war of 1993 that forced the residents to flee, leaving it as a ghost town. Most of the houses and buildings are damaged thanks to all the gun fighting and war. Now, this ghost town is used as a buffer zone between Azeri and Armenian forces. It still remains off limits to visitors.
15. Oradour-sur-Glane, France
Oradour-sur-Glane was originally a village occupied by Nazi residents during the early 1940s. But it was left to ruins when a German-led massacre killed 642 of its inhabitants on June 10, 1994. The village was re-built after the war but Charles de Gaulle, who was made the President then, decided to preserve the village in its entirety as a memorial.
16. Humberstone, Chile
Humberstone town was once occupied by the Atacama Desert community that had about 3,500 residents. It was a thriving town where mining for potassium nitrate took place. Between the late 1880s and 1930s, this town was booming as much of the world's supply came from here. Life here, came to a halt when the resources in the mines started depleting. Soon, inhabitants started abandoning this town. Now, it is declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
17. Fatehpur Sikri, Udaipur
This city was founded as the capital of Mughal Empire in 1571 by Emperor Akbar. However, Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) excavation from 1999-2000 indicated that there was a habitation, temples and commercial centres here before Akbar built his capital. It was abandoned by Akbar in 1585 because he had to fight a campaign in Punjab. Later, in 1610, it was completely left to ruins. Some believe that this city was abandoned due to failure of water supply while others say, it could be Akbar's loss of interest since it was built on a whim.
18. Plymouth, Montserrat
This Caribbean town was once the capital city of Montserrat but its residents were forced to flee after a series of volcanic eruptions during the summer of 1995. By December, 1995 4,000 inhabitants were evacuated. Some inhabitants returned but they were forced to leave again due another volcanic eruption in 1997. It was burnt and mostly buried by a series of pyroclastic flows and lahars. Currently, Plymouth's population is zero.
19. Kuldhara, Jaisalmer
Kuldhara was once a prosperous village that was originally established around the 13th century. It was inhabited by Paliwal Brahmins but, it was abandoned in the early 19th century. The reasons for abandoning this village is still not clear but some believe that it was due to lack of water supply. Others claim it was abandoned due to persecution by the Jaisalmer State's minister Salim Singh. In a recent study, it was revealed that Kuldhara and other neighbouring villages were abandoned because of an earthquake. Now, it known as a haunted site and it has been declared a tourist spot by the Government of Rajasthan.
20. Kayaköy, Turkey
The city of Kayaköy was built on a hillside by the Greeks who once lived here. The city was thriving and booming but during the Gerco-Turkish War of 1922, its inhabitants were forced to flee. After the war, the town whittled away to practically nothing. Now, there are only stone structures present here. This city was featured in Russell Crowe film "The Water Diviner" that released in 2014.