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1. Pripyat, Ukraine
At 1:23 a.m. on April 26, 1986, a catastrophic meltdown took place inside reactor number four at the Soviet nuclear power plant at Chernobyl. The explosion that followed sent flames and radioactive material soaring into the skies over Pripyat, a nearby city built to house the plant’s scientists and workers. It took 36 hours before the town’s 49,000 residents were evacuated, and many later suffered severe health effects as a result of their brief exposure to the fallout.
Soviet authorities later sealed off an 18-mile exclusion zone surrounding Chernobyl, leaving Pripyat an abandoned ghost town. The city has since languished for nearly three decades as a chilling reminder of the disaster. Its buildings have decayed and been partially reclaimed by the elements, and wild animals roam through what were once bustling apartments, sports complexes and an amusement park. In the town post office, hundreds of letters from 1986 still sit waiting to be mailed. While radiation levels in Pripyat have dropped enough in recent years to allow urban explorers and former residents to make brief visits, scientists estimate that it could take several centuries before the town is once again safe for habitation.
2. Oradour-sur-Glane, France
On the afternoon of June 10, 1944, the village of Oradour-sur-Glane was the scene of one of the worst massacres of French civilians during World War II. In what is believed to have been an act of revenge for the town’s supposed support of the French Resistance, a Nazi Waffen SS detachment rounded up and murdered 642 of its residents and burned most of their houses to the ground. The men were taken to barns and machine-gunned, and the women and children were locked in a church and killed with explosives and incendiary grenades. Only a handful of people managed to survive by playing dead and later fleeing to the forest.
A new Oradour-sur-Glane was built nearby after the war ended, but French President Charles de Gaulle ordered that the burned-out ruins of the old town be left untouched as a monument to the victims. The facades of dozens of brick buildings and charred storefronts still remain, as well as graveyards of rusted cars and bicycles, scattered sewing machines and unused tram tracks. The site is also home to a museum, which holds a collection of relics and mementos recovered from the rubble.
3. Hashima Island, Japan
Today, Hashima Island is a vacant labyrinth of crumbling concrete, sea walls and deserted buildings, yet it was once among the most densely populated places on the planet. The small island off the coast of Nagasaki was first settled in 1887 as a coalmining colony. It was later purchased by Mitsubishi, which built some of the world’s first multistory, reinforced concrete buildings to house its bursting population. Hashima remained a hive of activity for the next several decades, especially during World War II, when the Japanese forced thousands of Korean laborers and Chinese POWs to toil in its mines. By the 1950s, the 16-acre rock was packed to the gills with more than 5,200 residents. Most workers found the cramped conditions unlivable, and the city was promptly abandoned after the mine closed in 1974.
Forty years of neglect have left Hashima a dilapidated ruin of collapsed staircases and condemned apartments. Many of its high-rises are still filled with old televisions and other relics from the mid-20th century, and its once-teeming swimming pools, barbershop and school classrooms now sit in shambles. The island was officially opened to tourists in 2009, and it has since served as the inspiration for the villain’s hideout in the 2012 James Bond film “Skyfall.”
4. Varosha, Cyprus
In the early 1970s, the immaculate beaches of Varosha, Cyprus served as one of the most popular millionaires’ playgrounds in the Mediterranean. The suburb boasted a thriving tourism economy, and celebrities such as Elizabeth Taylor and Brigitte Bardot were known to take in the sand and sun at its high-class beachfront hotels. All that changed in August 1974, when Turkey invaded Cyprus and occupied its northern third in response to a Greek nationalist-led coup. Varosha’s 15,000 residents fled the city in terror, leaving their valuables and livelihoods behind. Most assumed they would return once the fighting stopped, but ongoing political strife has seen Varosha waste away behind a heavily-guarded barrier ever since.
The few intrepid explorers who have ventured into the no man’s land describe the resort as a crumbling ghost town. Trees have grown through the floors of restaurants and homes, and most of the former residents’ belongings have been looted or destroyed. What is left stands as a spooky time capsule of the 1970s, including bellbottoms in shop windows and 40-year-old vehicles still parked at car dealerships. In recent years, Greek and Turkish Cypriots have held talks regarding reopening the former jet-setters’ haven, but experts estimate that it would take upwards of $12 billion to make its decrepit buildings livable again.
5. Bodie, California
Bodie, California was officially founded in 1876, after miners stumbled upon rich deposits of gold and silver in its hillsides. Gold-crazed prospectors flocked to the settlement at a rate of more than two-dozen per day in the late-1870s, and its population eventually soared to some 10,000 people. Thanks to larger-than-life accounts of whiskey-fueled shootouts, the outpost soon earned a reputation as a “sea of sin” filled with rough men, prostitutes and opium dens.
Like most boomtowns, Bodie eventually went bust. By the 1880s, it had outgrown its meager infrastructure, and a succession of harsh and deadly winters convinced many of its prospectors to move to more profitable locales. The population dwindled until the 1940s, when the last residents finally shipped out. Since then, Bodie has become known as one of the nation’s most well preserved ghost towns. Its 200 ramshackle buildings are kept in state of “arrested decay” by park rangers, and tourists flock to the site to explore its 1880s Methodist church, saloons and post office as well as the ruins of a burned-out bank vault.
6. Fordlandia, Brazil
In 1927, Henry Ford began work on “Fordlandia,” a massive rubber plantation in the jungles along Brazil’s Tapajós River. The automotive magnate needed the town as a steady source of rubber for his car tires and hoses, but he also saw the venture as a chance to bring small town American values to the Amazon. Having already left his mark on cities like Dearborn, Michigan, he designed a company town complete with swimming pools, a golf course, suburban-style bungalows and weekly square dancing sessions. Unfortunately for Ford, his experiment was doomed almost from the start. Fordlandia’s rubber trees fell victim to leaf fungus, and its employees chafed under the town’s strict regulations, which included a ban on alcohol. Clashes between Brazilian laborers and American managers soon became a common occurrence. During one riot over cafeteria rules, Fordlandia’s employees destroyed most of their mess hall with machetes and pushed the town’s trucks into the river.
Henry Ford eventually sank $20 million into his would-be workers’ paradise, but the town failed to produce any latex for his automobiles. Having never visited the city himself, he finally sold it to the Brazilian government in 1945 for pennies on the dollar. The wilderness has reclaimed large portions of Fordlandia’s campus in the years since, but many of its buildings are still standing, and the town has become a minor tourist destination for backpackers and curiosity seekers.
- The settlement of Saint Martin of the Tigers (in Portuguese: São Martinho dos Tigres), situated on a peninsula now known as the Tigres Island (in Portuguese: Ilha dos Tigres), was originally 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, Saint Martin of the Tigers was cut off from the mainland by the rising sea levels, and its water supply line was severed both Tigres and Foz do Cunene were subsequently abandoned.  The island, bound by the South Atlantic Ocean and the Tigres Strait, lies in a zone that is ideally suited for ecological projects.  The island was mentioned in the BBC documentary "Unknown Africa: Angola".
Central African Republic Edit
- , Beogombo Deux, and Paoua are among the many deserted villages created by the actions of government forces and killings by armed gangs from the years 2005 to 2008. 
- Lere, Central African Republic. 
- 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
- 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.
Morocco (Western Sahara) Edit
- is a ghost town on the Atlantic coast at the southern tip of Western Sahara. It is Western Sahara's southernmost town. It has been uninhabited and partly buried by drifting sand since 2002.
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 Africa Edit
- is an abandoned mining town near Knysna.  is an abandoned mining town near Tzaneen in Limpopo province.  sacked and burned to the ground.
- Eureka is an abandoned mining town in Mpumalanga. It is now a historical site.  [circular reference]
- In the northeast of Sudan lies the old city of Sawakin. It is now in ruins. It is said to be in restoration now and will reopen as a tourist attraction. 
South Sudan Edit
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
- , 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 Armenian forces during their 1993 summer offensives. As the town fell, its entire population was 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.  More damage occurred in the following decades when the deserted town was looted for building materials. Agdam is currently a ruinous, uninhabited ghost town.  The town's large mosque survives in poor condition. 
- in Sonargaon was established in the late 19th century as a trading center of cotton fabrics during British rule. Here the Hindu cloth merchants built their residential houses. 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 the Mughal period. The bridges are still in use.
British Indian Ocean Territory Edit
- was a settlement in the atoll of Diego Garcia, and it has been abandoned after the depopulation of the territory, it is restricted to visitors.
- , a district of Ordos City, was intended to house one million people,  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.  In 2010, the population of Kangbashi was around 20,000 to 30,000, a fraction of its total capacity.  , in the Tarim Basin, was once a major commercial center dating back to around 500–1000 AD.
- was once the modern tourist area of the city of Famagusta. It was fenced off by the Turkish army following the Turkish Invasion of Cyprus in 1974 and is now under TRNC rule. United Nations Security Council Resolution 550 forbids any attempt "to settle any part of Varosha by people other than its inhabitants", so the area had remained abandoned since 1974, but the Turkish government -due to economic problems- reopened the city to visitors.
- , 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. was a city of 18,700 people in 1978 but was left largely abandoned by the ethnic cleansing of Georgians in 1992–1993. is a coal mining town that suffered a drastic population decline as a result of the war in Abkhazia.
- , on Pamban Island, was a flourishing tourist town until it was wiped out by the 1964 Dhanushkodi cyclone. was briefly the capital of the Mughal Empire, but was abandoned soon after its completion, and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. is a fortress town in Madhya Pradesh, dating back at least as far as 555 AD. was once the center of Christianization in the east, but it became largely abandoned in the 17th century, due to an outbreak of malaria and cholera. was the administrative center of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands until the 1941 Andaman Islands earthquake, leaving the settlement in ruins. was possibly the second-largest city in the world in 1500, with around 500,000 inhabitants.  It was captured and destroyed by Muslim armies in 1565, and has been abandoned ever since. Hampi is a World Heritage Site within this town. was once a bustling port town at the mouth of Kori creek of Kutch. After the earthquake of 1819, the Indus river changed its course of flow resulting in the abandonment of the port by people. The town surrounded by a 7 km long fort wall now houses only a few hundred people and a large number of ruined buildings. , a 17th-century fort built by King Sawai Madho Singh in Rajasthan was abandoned following a curse, according to legends. is an abandoned town near Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. , a hill fort near Matheran, Maharashtra which was abandoned due to its difficult access and scarcity of water. near Mumbai is a small fort tha is in disuse following a decline in its importance. Fort near Hyderabad was a fort city and the seat of the Qutb Shahi dynasty was destroyed after defeating by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb.
- was the 14th century capital of the Mongol Ilkhanid rulers of Persia, but is now "a deserted, crumbling spread of ruins". 
- 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.  was a large Japanese town with a population of 11,515 people. It was completely evacuated along with the 20 km (30 km voluntarily) zone surrounding the nuclear plant in the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
- is a former hill station that was abandoned after bombed by the Japanese army during World War II. 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. , 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 shophouses, and the addresses in Simpang Pulai are still written as "Kampung Kepayang". , Pahang, Malaysia. was once-thriving mining town in Pusing, Perak.
- 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. 
- is a former Gulag forced labor camp, and one of the few camps in which prisoners mined uranium. is a former urban-type settlement in the Komi Republic, disestablished in 1995. In 1993 it was decided to shut down mining operations and to liquidate the settlement by 1995. is a town in Yaroslavl Oblast that was flooded to create the Rybinsk Reservoir. is a former town in Sakhalin Oblast that was almost destroyed in a 1995 earthquake and never rebuilt. is a former mining town in Magadan Oblast. in Yakutia.
Saudi Arabia Edit
- , 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 meters 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.
- 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. The facility was used most recently in 2012 when it was used to shoot scenes for the film Ah Boys to Men. As of today, its fate remains unknown.
- 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.
- The Sanzhi UFO houses in Taiwan were a set of abandoned pod-shaped buildings built in New Taipei as a vacation resort. They stood abandoned for thirty years before being demolished in 2010.
- 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.
- , 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.  was abandoned as a result of the 1923 population exchange between Turkey and Greece and is now preserved as a museum village. 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.
Many Belarusian villages were abandoned as a result of the Chernobyl Disaster in 1986. Most lie inside the Polesie State Radioecological Reserve, Including:
- is an abandoned village in Smolyan Municipality is an abandoned village in Gotse Delchev that was erased from the registers in 2008.  is an abandoned village in Gotse Delchev that was erased from the registers in 2008. 
Bosnia and Herzegovina Edit
- , is a village that became abandoned after the Bosnian War.  , a medieval village that is today located in Pobrđe Milodraž, Kiseljak.  , a village in Doboj that faced a similar fate as Baljci.  , an almost abandoned village with only two people, Obren Miovćić, and his wife Dragana. The village had a similar fate as Vranduk and Baljci. 
Czech Republic Edit
- [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 remained uninhabited until March 2014 when work was started to demolish it. 
- 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. 
Faroe Islands Edit
- , Kalsoy, after an avalanche hit the village in 1809, the entire village resettled in the new settlement Syðradalur on the same island. The village was finally abandoned cca. 1815. , Borðoy, abandoned since 1945. , a town on Borðoy, has been considered abandoned since 2002. , on Kunoy, was steadily depopulated from 1913 to 1919, after all the men of the village drowned while out fishing. is a village on Sandoy, that has been abandoned since the last permanent resident died in 2000. is the northwesternmost village on Borðoy. is a town on Vágar that was abandoned in 1965. , located north of Ánir, has been abandoned since 1930. , a town on Vágar, has been abandoned since 1910. , on Suðuroy, was abandoned in 2003.
- Six of the French villages destroyed in World War I have never been rebuilt. All are found in the département of Meuse, and were destroyed during the Battle of Verdun in 1916:
- 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.
- 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. , Kranionas and Ano Kraniounas are all abandoned villages located near Kastoria and Lake Prespa.
- The castle of Kato Chora is located near the village of Mylopotamos, Kythera. (or Palea Perithia) is a ghost village on the northern side of Corfu on the slopes of Mount Pantokrator. The village was originally established in the 14th century, during Byzantine times due to the need of people to move from the coastal side and protect themselves from pirate and enemy attacks. Moreover, the diseases caused by mosquitoes on the coast drove residents to the mountain. When piracy was confronted from the Mediterranean Sea in the late 19th century, some inhabitants started to gradually move to the coasts where tourism had also started to develop.
- The former village of Súðavík, in the Westfjords, a remote region of NW Iceland. In 1995, an avalanche fell on the small village, resulting in 14 fatalities. It was later decided that the location of the town was unsafe for year-round occupation. It has been forbidden ever since to live in the old town permanently. A new village was built from the ground up a few miles away from the old site in a safer location.
- Miners' Village, Glendalough, County Wicklow was a small village based around a galena mine. The village was largely inhabited from 1825 to 1957 when the mine closed permanently. , County Kerry, was evacuated in 1953 after being repeatedly cut-off from the mainland due to poor weather. Its 160 residents were relocated to the mainland by the government. is the site of Innisfallen Abbey, once home to Finian Lobhar. , County Roscommon, was deserted by the 14th century.  is a deserted village on Achill Island.  is the site of a former village and monastery, and was once the home of Saint Senan.
- is a former mining town in Sassari that suffered a population decline after World War II.
- Avi, Piedmont. , a town and municipality in Liguria whose old town was abandoned in 1953. is a town in Liguria that was abandoned following an earthquake in 1887. is a town in Potenza. is the old town of Cirella. is a town in Lazio that declined over the 16th and 17th centuries.
- Connio Vecchio (Old Connio), Piedmont. , Olginate. , in the province of Matera, was depopulated in the middle of the 20th century, due to a landslide and the subsequent emigration. The abandonment has made Craco a popular filming location for movies such as The Nativity Story, The Passion of the Christ and Quantum of Solace.  was mostly destroyed and buried under of ash and pumice in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD.
- Melito Vecchio (Old Melito), Avellino.
- Monteruga, Apulia. , in Calabria, was severely damaged by the 1783 Calabrian earthquakes, and was completely abandoned by the 1960s. is a town in Sicily that was destroyed by the 1968 Belice earthquake. was mostly destroyed and buried under of ash and pumice in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. is an abandoned island that was once a quarantine station for Plague Victims and other victims of several diseases up until the 20th Century.
- Roghudi Vecchio (Old Roghudi), Calabria.
- San Martino Monteneve in the province of Bolzano was a mining town at 2355 meters above sea level between the Ridanna Valley and the Passirio Valley. It sits atop of mining tunnels running from one valley to the other. It is now part of the Monteneve mining museum. , in Benevento, was abandoned following the 1980 Irpinia earthquake. is an abandoned village in Piedmont, situated next to a defunct nuclear reactor. Its most impressive building is the mansion of Camillo Cavour, who is famous for his efforts in creating a united Italy.
- , the site of a former Soviet Hen House radar installation, is a ghost town that was auctioned off in its entirety in early 2010. , the site of a former Soviet secret radar center "Звезда".
Many villages in the Netherlands were lost to the sea, see List of settlements lost to floods in the Netherlands for the complete list.
- , this was a very large island in the Middle Ages, but due to the rising sea level in the Zuiderzee, the island became smaller and smaller. Until the island was demolished by a storm in 1825. The three villages on the island: Emmeloord, Molenbuurt and Middelbuurt were abandoned. When the Noordoostpolder was created, this piece of land became visible again. Emmeloord was rebuilt on a different location in the Noordoostpolder. , this town was lost to the North Sea in 1357. Later when the land was reclaimed the town was rebuilt, only to be lost again a century later. One of many Dutch villages to be lost to the North Sea, list of flooded villages in Zeeland. , the village was flooded on January 26, 1682. The destruction was so great, that the Estates of Holland decided not to rebuild the village, and the last inhabitants left in 1684. Some remains of the village (now sometimes referred to as Oud-Bommenede) still remain visible. Nowadays, there is still some overgrown debris in the waters of the Grevelingen.
- ("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.
- 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. , 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.
Bieszczady National Park is home to several abandoned settlements:
- Picões, in the freguesia of Bouçoães, Valpaços, Vila Real District , Terras de Bouro, at Braga District was a village with unique rules and way of life. It was abandoned and submerged in 1972 due to the building of Vilarinho das Furnas hydroelectric dam. When the lagoon water level is low the remains of the buildings can be seen.
- Aldeia de Broas , at Mafra Municipality, was officially considered abandoned when the last inhabitant died in late 1960 after being populated for centuries.
126 localities in Romania are "fictitious".  They either have no inhabitants according to the last census, or they are actually in the bottom of an accumulation lake or have completely disappeared from the face of the earth. Some villages have no construction, no access roads, but they continue to remain in the official data bases of the Romanian state.  Some of the localities that did not have any inhabitants at the 2011 census are:
- , 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, 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. , Extremadura , Soria , Valencia , near El Pont de Suert, Catalonia , near El Pont de Suert, Catalonia , Fiscal , Fiscal in the Vall de Gallinera, Alacant , Condado de Treviño, Burgos, Castille and Leon , near El Pont de Suert, Catalonia in Sort, Lleida, Catalonia , near El Pont de Suert, Catalonia
After the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986, hundreds of settlements within the exclusion zone were evacuated. Some have remained abandoned ever since, including:
10 Craco, Italy - Original Population: 1,800
Dating back to 1060, and located at what would be the instep of the famous country shaped like a boot, Craco was once a thriving medieval town. This Italian city had a strong relationship with the Church - it was owned by the Archbishop Arnaldo, Bishop of Tricarico - which meant that the Church had a marked influence over the population. In the late 1800’s, Craco boomed to a population of over 2,000 people. However, agricultural problems brought on desperate times for the city, and over a thousand of its residents relocated to North America between 1892 and 1922. Then came an onslaught of earthquakes, war, and landslides, causing the departure of even more of the town's residents. In 1963, the 1,800 residents left in Craco were relocated (due to the continuing landslides and quakes) to another valley called Craco Peschiera. Craco to this day remains spookily abandoned and in a state of ruin and decay.
Ghost Cities Are Nothing New
Guillaume Payen/LightRocket/Getty Images Inhabitants of Tianducheng playing basketball in front of an Eiffel Tower replica.
Most countries have experienced a similar development phase at some point where roads and buildings for new cities were being built in locations that lacked the population to fill them.
The difference, however, is that modern urban developments in China have an unprecedented scale and speed. Just how fast is China going? The country has used more cement in its construction of new cities between 2011 to 2013 than the entirety of the United States in the 20th century.
According to statistics reported by the Beijing Morning Post, the number of empty apartment properties that are sitting in these Chinese ghost cities may be as high as 50 million.
This estimate was supplied by the State Grid Corporation of China, based on the number of apartment buildings that have been completed but have not used electricity for six straight months in 2010. That number could very well double by 2020.
Despite these staggering numbers, some believe that the Chinese ghost cities that have sprung from the overzealousness of its government are temporary. They maintain that this overload of construction will pay off for China in the long run, as the country continues to experience economic growth.
Ghost towns in New Hampshire
What is the most haunted place in New Hampshire?
Behind the charming ski town veneer of Henniker, fans of the paranormal will discover eerie tales of a sordid past. Widely considered one of the most haunted places in New Hampshire, the Ocean-Born Mary House is a hotbed of ghoulish activity. As seafare folklore goes, an infamous pirate by the name of Don Pedro commandeered a ship in 1720 and discovered a newborn baby on board. Don Pedro swore to spare the lives of the passengers if the child was given the name of his mother, Mary Wallace. Don Pedro later married “Ocean Born” Mary and took up residence in a mansion overlooking Henniker. One day Mary found him murdered and buried his body under a kitchen hearthstone. Today, visitors to the property report the spirit of Mary haunts the grounds, protecting it from her husband’s murderers.
Can I visit any abandoned places in New Hampshire?
With a history dating back to early colonial days, long abandoned places can be found all across New Hampshire. The tiny town of Dublin is home to Beech Hill Estate, a massive Georgian Revival manor house that has been uninhabited since the 1980s. This impeccable example of grand Victorian architecture was built by architect Charles Platt in 1902 and served as a vacation home to a wealthy family from Baltimore who retreated to Dublin Lake during the summer months. Today, the property is privately owned but the years of neglect have deteriorated its original splendor.
What are the most popular ghost stories in New Hampshire?
One of the most bone-chilling ghost stories in New Hampshire is the terrifying tale from Mount Washington. One spring, a member of the Appalachian Mountain Club was sent out to prepare the cabins for hikers and backpackers in the area. When the man failed to radio in his safe arrival, a team was sent out on the slopes and found the cabin was still boarded up. After searching the grounds, they discovered the man cowering in a sink cabinet, frozen in fear. He was immediately taken to a nearby hospital to recover but was unable to recall what had happened, only remembering sensing an eerie presence in the cabin and seeing a gruesome face that appeared in the boarded up windows.
18 of the Spookiest Ghost Towns in America
Old mines, abandoned buildings, and ghostly orbs: These are a few of the most haunted locales in the country.
Though there are some seriously spooky haunted hotels out there, these ghost towns are almost more frightening. The abandoned cities stretch all throughout America, and are rumored to be extra eerie. But they weren&rsquot always that way. Most of them were once prosperous mining towns filled with people hoping to make it rich by discovering gold or silver. Now, many have been untouched for over a hundred years (yet some still have a ton of historic buildings somehow still standing).
There are ghost towns all over the U.S., if you&rsquore brave enough for a visit. They&rsquore located in Pennsylvania, Wyoming, Montana, Alaska, New Mexico, New York, West Virginia, and more. Not all of them are rumored to actually be haunted places, but some do have spirits of former business owners or residents wandering around the general stores or old jails.
Not all of them are totally defunct, either. One even apparently has an &ldquointernationally acclaimed&rdquo restaurant! Ready to plan your trip, or take a virtual one? Check out this roundup of the best ghost towns America has to offer.
Although you probably won't find any silver in this one-time mining hot spot, you can experience a goldmine of activities in this ghost town turned tourist attraction. At Calico Ghost Town&mdashnow a California historical landmark&mdashyou can explore Maggie Mine, the only formerly used mine in the area that's safe for guests to see. You can also take a ride on Calico Odessa Railroad to see all of the sights. If you're really feeling daring, you can even participate in one of the spooky ghost tours!
On the eastern edge of Death Valley sits Rhyolite, a former mining hub. At its peak in 1907, this town boasted a hospital, an opera house, and a stock exchange. The area seemed so promising that even Charles M. Schwab invested and bought one of the mines. Unfortunately, it didn't take long for the thousands of people to scatter: A financial crises, natural disasters, and the loss of funding caused nearly every resident to leave the Nevada spot by 1920.
Aptly named, Goldfield was swarming with miners hopeful for gold in the late 1800s, but was dried up by 1898. The area was inhabited and renamed Youngsberg in 1921, but was abandoned once again in 1926. In 1988, the defunct city took the route of a few other ghost towns and became a tourist attraction with a handful of activities including a zipline, a reptile exhibit, and horseback rides. There's also a museum, a saloon, and other different merchants.
Formerly named Forest City, St. Elmo was once a bustling mining center with a population of 2,000 at its peak. By 1930, though, only seven people reportedly resided there, including the family who ran the general store and the hotel&mdashone who is rumored to haunt the place to this day. Now privately owned and maintained, visitors can still swing by the small city, which is said to have some of the most paranormal activity in the state.
Though most of its residents fled after the market for mercury crashed, Terlingua actually remains fairly bustling. Visitors can snack on chili at the "internationally acclaimed" restaurant, grab a drink at the saloon, explore the ruins, and wander the halls of the old jail during their time at the historic hotspot.
Interested in experiencing the mortal fear of trying to stay alive in the gun-slinging Old West? The former residence of Calamity Jane, Virginia City has resisted change since 1863, with hundreds of historic buildings still standing. One mile down the road on Alder Gulch is Nevada City, another town that boomed and busted thanks to the Gold Rush. Ride a train between the two cities where you can witness early settlers struggle to survive and actual historic events through living history shows (the hanging of Red Yeager, anyone?). The reality of life in a Gold Rush town is likely to leave you shaking in your (cowboy) boots.
Abandoned by the discouraged gold rushers who followed William Bodie to the town to try&mdashbut not succeed&mdashto find more of the precious metal he had discovered in 1859, this well-known ghost town in California has been left eerily untouched for more than 150 years. Shacks still stand with tables set, waiting for their long-gone residents to return, while shops and restaurants are still stocked up with some supplies, prepared to service customers who will never arrive. If that isn't spooky, what is?
Southwest of Selma lies "Alabama's most famous ghost town." As the state's first permanent capital from 1820 to 1825, a bustling center for the trading and transport of cotton before the Civil War, and a village for freed slaves after the war, this town at the confluence of the Alabama and Cahaba Rivers made several comebacks after floods and yellow fever epidemics. Unfortunately, its residents all drifted away for good by 1900. Now known as Old Cahawba Archaeological Park, the town and its abandoned streets, cemeteries and ruins have been the setting for many ghost stories, including one about a ghostly orb appearing in a now-vanished garden maze at the home of C. C. Pegues.
Considered the best remaining example of early 20th-century copper mining, this mill town is at the end of a 60-mile dirt road in the middle of Alaska's massive Wrangell&ndashSt. Elias National Park. From 1911 to 1938, Kennecott employed as many as 300 people in the mill town and 300 in the mines, processing nearly $200 million worth of copper. As a company town, it included a hospital, general store, school, skating rink, tennis court, recreation hall, and dairy. By 1938, however, the copper ore was tapped out, and the Kennecott Copper Corporation abruptly abandoned the town, leaving behind their equipment, their buildings, and their personal belongings.The National Park Service and tour operators offer guided access to the 14-story concentration mill and several other historic buildings, telling tales of lucky fortunes, tenacious frontiersmen, and tragic endings in the remote wilderness.
This desolate former mining town in Montana is so riddled with paranormal activity it was featured in an episode of the Travel Channel's Ghost Adventures. Founded in 1862 when John White discovered gold on Grasshopper Creek, Bannack was a typical gold rush town in the Wild West. After gold was discovered in nearby Virginia City, many prospectors moved there and the road between the two towns became the scene of more holdups, robberies and murders than almost any other stagecoach route&mdashwith the leader of the outlaw gang later discovered to be Bannack's very own sheriff. The mining town lasted longer than most, with its population finally petering out between 1930 and 1950, at which point the state of Montana made the well-preserved town a state park. Today, over sixty structures are still standing, most of which can be explored.
Another well-preserved mining town in the American West, South Pass City was founded in 1867 when the large Carissa gold deposit was discovered near the Sweetwater River. Located about 10 miles north of the Oregon Trail on the Continental Divide in the Rocky Mountains, throngs of prospectors soon descended on the area despite the severe conditions, hoping to also strike it rich. Within a year, the population had swelled to about 2,000 people, mostly men, and saloons, brothels, and the boisterous and dangerous life of a frontier town were in full swing. Despite throwing themselves into the back-breaking work, the prospectors didn't find more large gold deposits, so by the mid 1870s, only 100 people remained. Homes, stores, hotels and saloons fell into disrepair, with the last of the pioneer families moving away in 1949. Today, a handful of residents have returned to live in South Pass City, and the South Pass City State Historic Site features more than 30 preserved historic structures dating from the city's heyday.
With smoke and noxious gases escaping from every nook and cranny, this Pennsylvania town has been smoldering since 1962&mdashand its underground fire is expected to burn for 250 more years. A landfill burn gone awry sparked the fire in an abandoned coal mine, which quickly spread into the veins of the coal deposits that had once been the key to Centralia's prosperity. When the initial damage was done, the catastrophe had scorched 140 acres of the town and the surrounding area. Residents evacuated, homes were leveled, and the highway was closed down as the massive fire caused gaping sinkholes spewing fumes. Of the nearly 2,000 Centralia residents who were there when the mines caught fire, only six still remain, determined to make the few streets and buildings in this doomed town their home until they die.
Thurmond's empty downtown belies the fact that five people still actually live in this West Virginia town, now a ghost of the thriving community it used to be. Once a big stop on the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway, the invention of the diesel locomotive in the 1950s rendered its coal-run railroad obsolete. The train depot is now a museum, Amtrak station, and visitors' center for travelers who come to the region to raft on the New River Gorge National River, and the quaint Thurmond Historic District is on the National Register of Historic Places. Surprisingly untouched by modern development, Thurmond is a throwback to an American town of the past, an unsettling reminder of how prosperity can be fleeting.
During the 1940s, 50s, and 60s, travelers packed Route 66, sending tens of thousands of people through Glenrio, a tiny town on the border of Texas and New Mexico that offered motorists a road stop with gas stations, diners, bars, western-themed motels, and even a dance hall. When I-40 was built in the 1970s, however, drivers now bypassed the former overnight desert oasis. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Glenrio Historic District includes the old Route 66 roadbed and 17 abandoned buildings, like the Little Juarez Diner, the State Line bar, and the State Line Motel, its now-broken signs announcing to nonexistent motorists that it's the "last in Texas"&mdashor the "first" depending on your direction of travel through the American West.
Cleared of its natural forest in 1821 by Charles Bulow to establish a 2,200-acre plantation to grow sugar cane, cotton, indigo, and rice, this East Florida land soon also housed the area's largest sugar mill, built by Bulow's son, John. Its title didn't last long, however, as the Seminole Indians set fire to the plantation and mill in 1836 during the Second Seminole War. Built of hardy local coquina rock, the mill's massive ruins now rise eerily among the large oak trees that have reclaimed the land in the 150-acre Bulow Plantation Ruins Historic State Park, while the crumbling foundations of the plantation house and slave cabins show the volatility of Florida frontier life.
A prison is always haunting, but an abandoned one exudes an even creepier feeling, especially the austere Victorian-style Essex County Jail Annex in New Jersey. First built in 1873 and expanded over the years to include an auditorium, hospital, and cafeteria, much of the facility was closed down in the 1970s and it was abandoned for good in the late 1990s. Left to decay and vandalism by thrill-seekers, inmates' files filled with mugshots and rap sheets soon covered the floor of the auditorium, while shotgun ports and tear gas modules on the ceilings of the mess hall remain to remind trespassers of their potential harrowing fate should they be judged criminals.
In its heyday, the Grossinger's Catskill Resort was the sort of seasonal retreat featured in Dirty Dancing, where well-to-do families in the 1950s spent their summers lounging by its two massive swimming pools, playing golf or tennis, and enjoying the lush 1,200-acre surroundings just two hours north of New York City. In the winters, it offered theatre and skiing, the first place in the world to use artificial snow on its slopes. Of the cabins, cottages, hotel, landing strip, post office and more that served the resort's hundreds of thousands of guests until it closed in the mid 1980s, a few exquisite places still remain undemolished or horribly vandalized. One is the stately natatorium, gorgeously overgrown with moss and ferns, with sunlight streaming through its windows and skylights onto the graffitied pool and abandoned lounge chairs. The other is the hotel's lobby and ballroom where the twin staircases, massive fireplaces and a checkerboard ceiling suggest its former glory. If you listen hard enough, you might still hear the tinkling of cocktail glasses or the clicks of heels dancing the foxtrot.
Built in 1975 and expanded several times, the Rolling Acres Mall once housed more than 140 stores, a movie theater and a food court. In 2008, the mall was closed and only two large retailers continued to operate, with all stores finally closing in 2013. Having changed owners several times and currently in the process of foreclosure, the once-bustling mall will likely be demolished. Until then, the 1,300,000-square-foot space remains an eerily empty relic of modern civilization, with its cracked glass ceilings letting in snow during winter storms as if the structure stands alone in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.
Incredible ghost towns and abandoned cities
Perhaps, there is nothing more intimidating and creepy than the haunted town. The houses are intact, and the architecture remains the same, but you cannot escape the impression that something is wrong, and the place makes a negative impression. Here is a collection of scariest ghost towns around the world.
Initially, the town of Pripyat was built to host the plant’s workers. Constructed in the 1970s, it was a well off town, even judging by the Soviet level of income. However, when the accident occurred, its 50, 000 inhabitants were immediately evacuated by the special forces of the country to the safer regions. Now, Pripyat is a symbol of an abandoned place, with chilling landscapes and signs of the people’s speedy departure. You can see trees, growing through the roofs of schools, and there are children’s dolls found in what used to be kindergartens. Nature slowly claims its right to the town: once a beautiful living area, it is now nothing more than an eerie sight with scattered belongings and not a soul around.
Pomona in Namibia used to be one of the richest cities in the world, with diamond mines so numerous that people came here, obsessed with the desire to find treasures at any rate. In the 20 th century, however, the German-controlled territories were named a forbidden zone, and no one was allowed to enter. Today, Pomona is in a state of slow decay, with its ghost streets and bars being gradually swallowed by the desert, and the site is definitely scary and romantic.
It is nothing more than a few houses now, but before, Pegrema was considered to be one of the most breathtaking examples of wooden architecture in the region. In the times of the Russian Revolution, when there were military uprisings around the area, most of the buildings were destroyed and people left to seek for shelter. Nowadays, however, only the church is left intact, and the beautiful site on the lake Onega is completely abandoned.
This ghost town inspired film directors to create one of the most popular horror films in history, called Silent Hill. It sits atop the coal mine, and there have been fires burning underground for centuries.
In the 1990s, scientists predicted there may be an eruption going on around the area, and most of the inhabitants were evacuated from the place. However, there are still holdouts who refuse to leave, and the toxic smoke is rising from the ground as the days pass.
Most ghost cities do not have a tragic history behind them, but this abandoned town, located in France, can tell a lot about its inhabitants, and that is an unhappy story. In June of 1944 there was a huge massacre of the locals, initiated by the Germans, and 642 of the town’s residents were locked in a church and then burned alive.
The ones, who managed to escape, said that Nazis aimed to level the town with the ground and were nearly successful. Now the site serves as a tragic and memorable reminder of the horrors of war, and the tourists are shocked to discover abandoned buildings and half-burnt houses together with cars and walls.
This ghostly place was made as a replica of the famous Eiffel Tower. We have to admit it looks strange, located in the suburbs of the Chinese city of Hangzhou. Originally, it meant to host thousands of people, but somehow ended up to become home to barely fifth of that number. We don’t know the reason this site is so unpopular with the locals, but it indeed produces a surreal and almost alien impression.
Due to the worsening of the agricultural conditions and the general misfortunes that occurred to town, including a landslide and an earthquake, this once popular place, flooded with tourists, now stays deserted.
We cannot say much about the future of the Italian abandoned places, but this one has definitely got its charm: one of the Bond’s movies was filmed here, and the directors love the spot for its surreal atmosphere and excellent movie locations.
Craco is one of those ghostly towns you wish to visit in your lifetime, and it definitely leaves a lot to the imagination with its towering walls and half-shattered buildings, damaged by the landslide and the climate conditions that brought the city to the decadent state.
The definition of a ghost town varies between individuals, and between cultures. Some writers discount settlements that were abandoned as a result of a natural or human-made disaster or other causes using the term only to describe settlements that were deserted because they were no longer economically viable T. Lindsey Baker, author of Ghost Towns of Texas, defines a ghost town as "a town for which the reason for being no longer exists".  Some believe that any settlement with visible tangible remains should not be called a ghost town  others say, conversely, that a ghost town should contain the tangible remains of buildings.  Whether or not the settlement must be completely deserted, or may contain a small population, is also a matter for debate.  Generally, though, the term is used in a looser sense, encompassing any and all of these definitions. American author Lambert Florin's defined a ghost town as "a shadowy semblance of a former self". 
Factors leading to the abandonment of towns include depleted natural resources, economic activity shifting elsewhere, railroads and roads bypassing or no longer accessing the town, human intervention, disasters, massacres, wars, and the shifting of politics or fall of empires.  A town can also be abandoned when it is part of an exclusion zone due to natural or man-made causes.
Economic activity shifting elsewhere Edit
Ghost towns may result when the single activity or resource that created a boomtown (e.g., nearby mine, mill or resort) is depleted or the resource economy undergoes a "bust" (e.g., catastrophic resource price collapse). Boomtowns can often decrease in size as fast as they initially grew. Sometimes, all or nearly the entire population can desert the town, resulting in a ghost town.
The dismantling of a boomtown can often occur on a planned basis. Mining companies nowadays will create a temporary community to service a mine site, building all the accommodations, shops and services required, and then remove them once the resource has been extracted. Modular buildings can be used to facilitate the process. A gold rush would often bring intensive but short-lived economic activity to a remote village, only to leave a ghost town once the resource was depleted.
In some cases, multiple factors may remove the economic basis for a community some former mining towns on U.S. Route 66 suffered both mine closures when the resources were depleted and loss of highway traffic as US 66 was diverted away from places like Oatman, Arizona onto a more direct path. Mine and pulp mill closures have led to many ghost towns in British Columbia, Canada including several relatively recent ones: Ocean Falls which closed in 1973 after the pulp mill was decommissioned, Kitsault B.C. whose molybdenum mine shut down after only 18 months in 1982, and Cassiar whose asbestos mine operated from 1952 to 1992.
In other cases, the reason for abandonment can arise from a town's intended economic function shifting to another, nearby place. This happened to Collingwood, Queensland in Outback Australia when nearby Winton outperformed Collingwood as a regional centre for the livestock-raising industry. The railway reached Winton in 1899, linking it with the rest of Queensland, and Collingwood was a ghost town by the following year.
The Middle East has many ghost towns that were created when the shifting of politics or the fall of empires caused capital cities to be socially or economically unviable, such as Ctesiphon.
The rise of condominium investment and a resulting real estate bubble may also lead to a ghost town, as real estate prices rise and affordable housing becomes less available. Such examples include China and Canada, where housing is often used as an investment rather than for habitation.
Human intervention Edit
Railroads and roads bypassing or no longer reaching a town can also create a ghost town. This was the case in many of the ghost towns along Ontario's historic Opeongo Line, and along U.S. Route 66 after motorists bypassed the latter on the faster moving highways I-44 and I-40. Some ghost towns were founded along railways where steam trains would stop at periodic intervals to take on water. Amboy, California was part of one such series of villages along the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad across the Mojave Desert.
River re-routing is another factor, one example being the towns along the Aral Sea.
Ghost towns may be created when land is expropriated by a government, and residents are required to relocate. One example is the village of Tyneham in Dorset, England, acquired during World War II to build an artillery range.
A similar situation occurred in the U.S. when NASA acquired land to construct the John C. Stennis Space Center (SSC), a rocket testing facility in Hancock County, Mississippi (on the Mississippi side of the Pearl River, which is the Mississippi–Louisiana state line). This required NASA to acquire a large (approximately 34-square-mile (88 km 2 )) buffer zone because of the loud noise and potential dangers associated with testing such rockets. Five thinly populated rural Mississippi communities (Gainesville, Logtown, Napoleon, Santa Rosa, and Westonia), plus the northern portion of a sixth (Pearlington), along with 700 families in residence, had to be completely relocated away from the facility.
Sometimes the town might cease to officially exist, but the physical infrastructure remains. For example, the five Mississippi communities that had to be abandoned to build SSC still have remnants of those communities within the facility itself. These include city streets, now overgrown with forest flora and fauna, and a one-room schoolhouse. Another example of infrastructure remaining is the former town of Weston, Illinois, that voted itself out of existence and turned the land over for construction of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. Many houses and even a few barns remain, used for housing visiting scientists and storing maintenance equipment, while roads that used to cross through the site have been blocked off at the edges of the property, with gatehouses or barricades to prevent unsupervised access.
Flooding by dams Edit
Construction of dams has produced ghost towns that have been left underwater. Examples include the settlement of Loyston, Tennessee, U.S., inundated by the creation of Norris Dam. The town was reorganised and reconstructed on nearby higher ground. Other examples are The Lost Villages of Ontario flooded by Saint Lawrence Seaway construction in 1958, the hamlets of Nether Hambleton and Middle Hambleton in Rutland, England, which were flooded to create Rutland Water, and the villages of Ashopton and Derwent, England, flooded during the construction of the Ladybower Reservoir. Mologa in Russia was flooded by the creation of Rybinsk reservoir, and in France the Tignes Dam flooded the village of Tignes, displacing 78 families. [ citation needed ] Many ancient villages had to be abandoned during construction of the Three Gorges Dam in China, leading to the displacement of many rural people. In the Costa Rican province of Guanacaste, the town of Arenal was rebuilt to make room for the man-made Lake Arenal. The old town now lies submerged below the lake. Old Adaminaby was flooded by a dam of the Snowy River Scheme. Construction of the Aswan High Dam on the Nile River in Egypt submerged archaeological sites and ancient settlements such as Buhen under Lake Nasser. Another example of towns left underwater is Tehri by the construction of the Tehri Dam in the Indian state of Uttarakhand.
Some towns become deserted when their populations are massacred. The original French village at Oradour-sur-Glane was destroyed on 10 June 1944 when 642 of its 663 inhabitants were killed by a German Waffen-SS company. A new village was built after the war on a nearby site, and the ruins of the original have been maintained as a memorial. Another example is Agdam, a city in Azerbaijan. Armenian forces occupied Agdam in July 1993 during the First Nagorno-Karabakh War. The heavy fighting forced the entire population to flee. Upon seizing the city, Armenian forces destroyed much of the town to discourage Azerbaijanis from returning. More damage occurred in the following decades when locals looted the abandoned town for building materials. It is currently almost entirely ruined and uninhabited.
Disasters, actual and anticipated Edit
Natural and man-made disasters can create ghost towns. For example, after being flooded more than 30 times since their town was founded in 1845, residents of Pattonsburg, Missouri, decided to relocate after two floods in 1993. With government help, the whole town was rebuilt 3 miles (5 km) away.
Craco, a medieval village in the Italian region of Basilicata, was evacuated after a landslide in 1963. Nowadays it is a famous filming location for many movies, including The Passion of The Christ by Mel Gibson, Christ Stopped at Eboli by Francesco Rosi, The Nativity Story by Catherine Hardwicke and Quantum of Solace by Marc Forster. 
In 1984, Centralia, Pennsylvania was abandoned due to an uncontainable mine fire, which began in 1962 and still rages to this day eventually the fire reached an abandoned mine underneath the nearby town of Byrnesville, Pennsylvania, which caused that mine to catch on fire too and forced the evacuation of that town as well.
Ghost towns may also occasionally come into being due to an anticipated natural disaster – for example, the Canadian town of Lemieux, Ontario was abandoned in 1991 after soil testing revealed that the community was built on an unstable bed of Leda clay. Two years after the last building in Lemieux was demolished, a landslide swept part of the former town-site into the South Nation River. Two decades earlier, the Canadian town of Saint-Jean-Vianney, Québec, also constructed on a Leda clay base, had been abandoned after a landslide on 4 May 1971, which swept away 41 homes, killing 31 people.
Following the Chernobyl disaster of 1986, dangerously high levels of nuclear contamination escaped into the surrounding area, and nearly 200 towns and villages in Ukraine and neighbouring Belarus were evacuated, including the cities of Pripyat and Chernobyl. The area was so contaminated that many of the evacuees were never permitted to return to their homes. Pripyat is the most famous of these abandoned towns it was built for the workers of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant and had a population of almost 50,000 at the time of the disaster. 
Disease and contamination Edit
Significant fatality rates from epidemics have produced ghost towns. Some places in eastern Arkansas were abandoned after more than 7,000 Arkansans died during the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918 and 1919.   Several communities in Ireland, particularly in the west of the country, were wiped out due to the Great Famine in the latter half of the 19th century, and the years of economic decline that followed.
Catastrophic environmental damage caused by long-term contamination can also create a ghost town. Some notable examples are Times Beach, Missouri, whose residents were exposed to a high level of dioxins, and Wittenoom, Western Australia, which was once Australia's largest source of blue asbestos, but was shut down in 1966 due to health concerns. Treece and Picher, twin communities straddling the Kansas–Oklahoma border, were once one of the United States' largest sources of zinc and lead, but over a century of unregulated disposal of mine tailings led to groundwater contamination and lead poisoning in the town's children, eventually resulting in a mandatory Environmental Protection Agency buyout and evacuation. Contamination due to ammunition caused by military use may also lead to the development of ghost towns. Tyneham, in Dorset, was requisitioned for military exercises during the Second World War, and remains unpopulated, being littered with unexploded munitions from regular shelling.
A few ghost towns have gotten a second life, and this happens through a variety of reasons. One of these reasons is heritage tourism generating a new economy able to support residents.
For example, Walhalla, Victoria, Australia, became almost deserted  after its gold mine ceased operation in 1914, but owing to its accessibility and proximity to other attractive locations, it has had a recent economic and holiday population surge. Another town, Sungai Lembing, Malaysia, was almost deserted due to closure of a tin mine in 1986 was revived on 2001 and has become a tourist destination since then. 
Foncebadón, a village in León, Spain that was mostly abandoned and only inhabited by a mother and son, is slowly being revived owing to the ever-increasing stream of pilgrims on the road to Santiago de Compostela.
Some ghost towns (i.e. Riace, Muñotello) are being repopulated by respectively refugees and homeless people. In Riace, this was accomplished by a scheme funded by the Italian government which offers the housing to refugees and in Muñotello it was accomplished through an NGO (Madrina Foundation).  
In Algeria, many cities became hamlets after the end of Late Antiquity. They were revived with shifts in population during and after French colonization of Algeria. Oran, currently the nation's second-largest city with 1 million people, was a village of only a few thousand people before colonization.
Alexandria, the second-largest city of Egypt, was a flourishing city in the Ancient era, but declined during the Middle Ages. It underwent a dramatic revival during the 19th century from a population of 5,000 in 1806, it grew into a city of more than 200,000 inhabitants by 1882,  and is now home to more than four million people. 
Wars and rebellions in some African countries have left many towns and villages deserted. Since 2003, when President François Bozizé came to power, thousands of citizens of the Central African Republic have been forced to flee their homes as a result of the escalating conflict between armed rebels and government troops. Villages accused of supporting the rebels, such as Beogombo Deux near Paoua, are ransacked by government soldiers. Those who are not killed have no choice but to escape to refugee camps.  The instability in the region also leaves organized and well-equipped bandits free to terrorize the populace, often leaving villages abandoned in their wake.  Elsewhere in Africa, the town of Lukangol was burnt to the ground during tribal clashes in South Sudan. Before its destruction, the town had a population of 20,000.  The Libyan town of Tawergha had a population of around 25,000 before it was abandoned during the 2011 civil war, and it has remained empty since.
Many of the ghost towns in mineral-rich Africa are former mining towns. Shortly after the start of the 1908 diamond rush in German South-West Africa, now known as Namibia, the German Imperial government claimed sole mining rights by creating the Sperrgebiet (forbidden zone),  effectively criminalizing new settlement. The small mining towns of this area, among them Pomona, Elizabeth Bay and Kolmanskop, were exempt from this ban, but the denial of new land claims soon rendered all of them ghost towns.
China has many large urban property developments, sometimes referred to as "ghost cities", that have remained mostly unoccupied since they were built.  The town of Dhanushkodi, India is a ghost town. It was destroyed during the 1964 Rameswaram cyclone and remains uninhabited in the aftermath. 
Many abandoned towns and settlements in the former Soviet Union were established near Gulag concentration camps to supply necessary services. Since most of these camps were abandoned in the 1950s, the towns were abandoned as well. One such town is located near the former Gulag camp called Butugychag (also called Lower Butugychag). Other towns were deserted due to deindustrialisation and the economic crises of the early 1990s attributed to post-Soviet conflicts – one example being Tkvarcheli in Georgia, a coal mining town that suffered a drastic population decline as a result of the War in Abkhazia in the early 1990s.
The oldest ghost town in Antarctica is on Deception Island, where in 1906, a Norwegian-Chilean company set up a whaling station at Whalers Bay, which they used as a base for their factory ship, the Gobernador Bories. Other whaling operations followed suit, and by 1914 there were thirteen factory ships based there. The station ceased to be profitable during the Great Depression, and was abandoned in 1931. In 1969, the station was partially destroyed by a volcanic eruption. There are also many abandoned scientific and military bases in Antarctica, especially in the Antarctic Peninsula.
The Antarctic island of South Georgia used to have several thriving whaling settlements during the first half of the 20th century, with a combined population exceeding 2,000 in some years. These included Grytviken (operating 1904–64), Leith Harbour (1909–65), Ocean Harbour (1909–20), Husvik (1910–60), Stromness (1912–61) and Prince Olav Harbour (1917–34). The abandoned settlements have become increasingly dilapidated, and remain uninhabited nowadays except for the Museum curator's family at Grytviken. The jetty, the church, dwellings and industrial buildings at Grytviken have recently been renovated by the South Georgian Government, becoming a popular tourist destination. Some historical buildings in the other settlements are being restored as well.
Urbanization – the migration of a country's rural population into the cities – has left many European towns and villages deserted. An increasing number of settlements in Bulgaria are becoming ghost towns for this reason at the time of the 2011 census, the country had 181 uninhabited settlements.  In Hungary, dozens of villages are also threatened with abandonment. The first village officially declared as "dead" was Gyűrűfű in the late 1970s, but later it was repopulated as an eco-village. Some other depopulated villages were successfully saved as small rural resorts, such as Kán, Tornakápolna, Szanticska, Gorica, and Révfalu.
In Spain, large zones of the mountainous Iberian System and the Pyrenees have undergone heavy depopulation since the early 20th century, leaving a string of ghost towns in areas such as the Solana Valley. Traditional agricultural practices such as sheep and goat rearing, on which the mountain village economy was based, were not taken over by the local youth, especially after the lifestyle changes that swept over rural Spain during the second half of the 20th century. 
Examples for ghost towns in Italy include the medieval village of Fabbriche di Careggine near Lago di Vagli, Tuscany,  the deserted mountain village Craco located in Basilicata, which has served as a filming location.  and the ghost village or Roveraia, in the municipality of Loro Ciuffenna, in province of Arezzo, situated near Pratovalle. During World War II it was an important partisan base and it was definitively abandoned in the 1980's, when the last family who lived here, left the village.
In the United Kingdom, thousands of villages were abandoned during the Middle Ages, as a result of Black Death, climate change, revolts, and enclosure, the process by which vast amounts of farmland became privately owned. Since there are rarely any visible remains of these settlements, they are not generally considered ghost towns instead, they are referred to in archaeological circles as deserted medieval villages.
Sometimes, wars and genocide end a town's life. In 1944, occupying German Waffen-SS troops murdered almost the entire population of the French village Oradour-sur-Glane. A new settlement was built nearby after the war, but the old town was left depopulated on the orders of President Charles de Gaulle, as a permanent memorial. In Germany, numerous smaller towns and villages in the former eastern territories were completely destroyed in the last two years of the war. These territories later became part of Poland and the Soviet Union, and many of the smaller settlements were never rebuilt or repopulated, for example Kłomino (Westfalenhof), Pstrąże (Pstransse), and Janowa Góra (Johannesberg). Some villages in England were also abandoned during the war, but for different reasons. Imber, on Salisbury Plain, and several villages in the Stanford Battle Area, were commandeered by the War Office for use as training grounds for British and US troops. Although this was intended to be a temporary measure, the residents were never allowed to return, and the villages have been used for military training ever since. Three miles (5 km) southeast of Imber is Copehill Down, a deserted village purpose-built for training in urban warfare.
Disasters have played a part in the abandonment of settlements within Europe. After the Chernobyl disaster of 1986, the cities of Pripyat and Chernobyl were evacuated due to dangerous radiation levels within the area. As of today, Pripyat remains completely abandoned, and Chernobyl has around 500 remaining inhabitants.
An example in the UK of a ghost village which was abandoned before it was ever occupied is at Polphail, Argyll and Bute. The planned development of an oil rig construction facility nearby never materialised, and a village built to house the workers and their families became deserted the moment the building contractors finished their work.
North America Edit
There are ghost towns in parts of British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Quebec. Some were logging towns or dual mining and logging sites, often developed at the behest of the company. In Alberta and Saskatchewan, most ghost towns were once farming communities that have since died off due to the removal of the railway through the town or the bypass of a highway. The ghost towns in British Columbia were predominantly mining towns and prospecting camps as well as canneries and, in one or two cases, large smelter and pulp mill towns. British Columbia has more ghost towns than any other jurisdiction on the North American continent, with one estimate at the number of abandoned and semi-abandoned towns and localities upwards of 1500.  Among the most notable are Anyox, Kitsault, and Ocean Falls.
Some ghost towns have revived their economies and populations due to historical and eco-tourism, such as Barkerville. Barkerville, once the largest town north of Kamloops, is now a year-round provincial museum. In Quebec, Val-Jalbert is a well-known tourist ghost town founded in 1901 around a mechanical pulp mill that became obsolete when paper mills began to break down wood fibre by chemical means, it was abandoned when the mill closed in 1927 and re-opened as a park in 1960.
United States Edit
Many ghost towns or abandoned communities exist in the American Great Plains, the rural areas of which have lost a third of their population since 1920. Thousands of communities in the northern plains states of Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota became railroad ghost towns when a rail line failed to materialize. Hundreds of towns were abandoned as the Interstate highway system replaced the railroads as the favored means of transportation. Ghost towns are common in mining or mill towns in all the western states, and many eastern and southern states as well. Residents are compelled to leave in search of more productive areas when the resources that had created an employment boom in these towns were eventually exhausted. Some unincorporated towns become ghost towns due to flooding caused by dam projects that created man–made lakes, such as Oketeyeconne. [ citation needed ]
Sometimes a ghost town consists of many abandoned buildings as in Bodie, California, or standing ruins as in Rhyolite, Nevada, while elsewhere only the foundations of former buildings remain as in Graysonia, Arkansas. Old mining camps that have lost most of their population at some stage of their history such as Aspen, Deadwood, Oatman, Tombstone and Virginia City are sometimes referred to as ghost towns although they are presently active towns and cities. [ citation needed ] Many U.S. ghost towns, such as South Pass City in Wyoming  are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 
Some of the earliest settlements in the US, though they no longer exist in any tangible sense, once had the characteristics of a ghost town. In 1590, mapmaker John White arrived at the Roanoke Colony, North Carolina to find it deserted, its inhabitants having vanished without a trace. The Zwaanendael Colony became a ghost town when every one of the colonists was massacred by Indians in 1632. Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in the Americas, was abandoned when Williamsburg became the new capital of the colony in 1699. [ citation needed ]
Starting in 2002, an attempt to declare an official ghost town in California stalled when the adherents of the town of Bodie and those of Calico, in Southern California, could not agree on the most deserving settlement for the recognition. A compromise was eventually reached—Bodie became the official state gold rush ghost town, while Calico was named the official state silver rush ghost town. 
Another former mining town, Real de Catorce in Mexico, has been used as a backdrop for Hollywood movies such as The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948),  The Mexican (2001), and Bandidas (2006). 
South America Edit
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a wave of European immigrants arrived in Brazil and settled in the cities, which offered jobs, education, and other opportunities that enabled newcomers to enter the middle class. Many also settled in the growing small towns along the expanding railway system. Since the 1930s, many rural workers have moved to the big cities. Other ghost towns were created in the aftermath of dinosaur fossil rushes. [ citation needed ]
In Colombia, a volcano erupted in 1985, where the city of Armero was engulfed by lahars, which killed approximately 23,000 people in total.  Armero was never rebuilt (its inhabitants being diverted to nearby cities, and thus becoming a ghost town), but still stands today as "holy land", as dictated by Pope John Paul II. 
A number of ghost towns throughout South America were once mining camps or lumber mills, such as the many saltpeter mining camps that prospered in Chile from the end of the Saltpeter War until the invention of synthetic saltpeter during World War I. Some of these towns, such as the Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works in the Atacama Desert, have been declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites. 
The boom and bust of gold rushes and the mining of other ores has led to a number of ghost towns in both Australia and New Zealand. Other towns have become abandoned whether due to natural disasters, the weather, or the drowning of valleys to increase the size of lakes.
In Australia, the Victoria gold rush led to numerous ghost towns (such as Cassilis and Moliagul), as did the hunt for gold in Western Australia (for example, the towns of Ora Banda and Kanowna). The mining of iron and other ores has also led to towns thriving briefly before dwindling.
In New Zealand, the Otago gold rush similarly led to several ghost towns (such as Macetown). New Zealand's ghost towns also include numerous coal mining areas in the South Island's West Coast Region, including Denniston and Stockton. Natural disasters have also led to the loss of some towns, notably Te Wairoa, "The Buried Village", destroyed in the 1886 eruption of Mount Tarawera, and the Otago town of Kelso, abandoned after it was flooded repeatedly after heavy rainstorms. Early settlements on the rugged southwest coast of the South Island at Martins Bay and Port Craig were also abandoned, mainly due to the inhospitable terrain.
Some cities are sacrificed for economic reasons. Tell us about Tignes in your native France and Shi Cheng in China.
In 1952, Tignes, an adorable little mountain village in the French Alps, with traditional wooden chalets, was engulfed within the space of a few minutes by the waters of a dam designed to power a hydroelectric plant.
The same thing happened in 1959 in China to the city of Shi Cheng. There, however, a city more than a thousand years old disappeared beneath the waters of an artificial lake. For almost 40 years, nothing more was heard of Shi Cheng until one day divers rediscovered its magnificent and, most importantly, well-preserved remains almost 40 meters below the surface. I would love to have been that first diver to have seen the city. [Laughs] Today, you can go on scuba excursions to the submerged ruins.
Minersville is a ghost town located near the modern day Dodgeville in Iowa County. Minersville was established in the 1840s following the opening of the Dodgeville Mine which attracted many immigrants to this area. The town also served as a station on the local railroad.
At its peak, Minersville had a post office, a school, a church, saloons, general stores, a gambling house and a host of other businesses that served its growing population. The town depended on the mine for its economic survival.
When the Dodge Mine was completely mine out, many of the towns inhabitants begun to move away in search of new employment. This marked the beginning of the town’s decline. Eventually, the town was completely abandoned leaving everything at the mercy of nature. Today not much of the town remains of this once thriving town.
Six Pine Barrens Ghost Towns to explore!
South Jersey Trails is four years old! In celebration, I highlight an area I’ve been blessed enough to spend the last 24 years exploring – the Pine Barrens. I started with a post on the Best Hikes in the Pine Barrens. But hiking isn’t what hooked me on the pine barrens all those years ago (and boy, what great hiking there is there), it was the history.
So when you think of ghost towns, you probably think like me: cowboys, swinging doors, tumbleweeds…
You know, this. (Note – Bodie State Park in California).
But the pine barrens have dozens of ghost towns of their own. Sure, there weren’t many shootouts in the pine barrens (except Hampton Bogs that one time). And they are definitely short on tumbleweeds. But they all have their own, fascinating history.
Note before we start, all of these are state or county parks and nearly all are manned continuously by park employees. You won’t need dirt roads to get to any of these, or need to venture deep into the woods where your car will get stuck. So don’t let those worries get in the way of exploring!
Without further ado, here are SIX ghost towns you can go explore!
Weymouth – Weymouth Furnace County Park
Weymouth Road near the intersection with the Black Horse Pike
Hamilton Township, NJ
Weymouth is the site of an old iron works. A furnace and a forge were both in operation here by 1802, and were taken over by Samuel Richards (remember that name, it’ll be back a lot this post) early in the 19th century. After the furnace and forge closed down, a pair of paper mills was established here. The remains visible today are the remains of those two paper mills. With the stack sitting by the Great Egg Harbor River, this is perhaps the most picturesque of the pine barrens ghost towns on this list.
You can also explore the John’s Woods Preserve across the way, which has some more of the remains of Weymouth.
Belcoville – Estell Manor County Park
Estell Manor, NJ
Sure, there are eighteen miles of hiking trails here, but forget looking for nature and start looking for a munitions factory. That’s right, this whole park was part of a massive ammunition factory complex during The Great War (aka World War I). You can’t wander more than a hundred feet in this park without running into the remains of one of these old buildings, many of which are still pretty intact for being 100 years old.
As a bonus, the Estell Glass Works remains are also in the park. Drive right up to the parking area on the park loop and take a walk around. The glassworks come complete with explanatory signs to help you understand the glass blowing process!
Atsion – Wharton State Forest
Route 206 and Quaker Bridge Road
Another old furnace town, this one was started by Charles Read before the War for Independence. Like most iron towns in the pines, it was later acquired by the Richards family. The centerpiece of the village is the 1824 Richards mansion, which has an imposing location on the dirt Quaker Bridge Road, which would have been the highway through the area at the time and not Route 206. After the iron era, there was a shortlived farming community here called Fruitland, followed up by a cotton mill here, and finally the purchase of the property by financier Joseph Wharton, who used it for various enterprises.
Even during my lifetime, the village has been disappearing, but you can still see the concrete Wharton era barn, the old church, the schoolhouse, and the remains of the cotton mill here. One of the improvements that has come to Atsion of that period is that the old Richards Mansion is open for tours now, which is a great way to spend an hour if you can make one of the correct times during the season.
Wharton Era concrete barn.
Smithville – Historic Smithville Park
801 Smithville Rd
Mt Holly, NJ
Q: What does a bicycle factory, a moose-drawn carriage, and a bicycle railroad have in common?
A: Hezekiah Smith and his model village in Burlington County.
Before Mr. Smith, there were mills here and well as a cotton cloth manufacturing center named Shrevesville. But it was when Hezekiah Smith brought his company here at the end of the Civil War, a company who was here late into the 20th Century, the whole area was renamed in his honor. While his machine works were very successful at this location, the most famous product made here was the Star Bicycle, a successful early model of that contraption.
A Star Bicycle going down the steps at the capital building. Because public domain.
Now a county park, you can wander past the remains of the various factory buildings here, check out the Worker’s House Museum, and take a tour of the Smith Mansion.
Hiking trails of Smithville – which will get you to the historic buildings
Whitesbog Village – Brendan Bryne State Forest
120 W Whites Bogs Rd #34
Browns Mills, NJ
This was the site of one the earliest cranberry operations in the area, going back to almost the Civil War. However, it’s true claim to fame came when Elizabeth White developed the commercially viable blueberry here. Now part of Brendan Bryne State Forest and run by the Whitesbog Preservation Trust. This village is different from our other ghost towns, in that several of the buildings are leased as private residences, even if the old workers homes, schoolhouse, and collapsed cranberry packing house are vacant of residents, children, or cranberries. When you are tired of looking at old buildings, make sure to take the self-guided driving tour of the bogs.
A great time to visit in during the Annual Blueberry Festival held each June.
Batsto Village – Wharton State Forest
31 Batsto Road
Washington Township, NJ
As author Barbara Solem states right in the title of her book on Batsto, this is the “Jewel of the Pines”. A New Jersey Colonial Williamsburg, this old iron/glassmaking town goes back to the pre-Revolutionary War days. It made canonballs for George Washington’s army during the War for Independence and throughout its history produced iron slag that was later made into stoves and other products in the early days of the United States (including the fireplace backs for Washington’s home at Mt. Vernon). When bog iron was no longer as profitable, the Richards family (of course the Richards family) started making glass, which extended the life of this pine barrens town. The whole complex found a new life as the home base for Joseph Wharton’s pine barrens business empire, at which time the mansion was used as a summer home by the Wharton family.
Today, Batsto is the best preserved of the old pine barrens towns, a place where you can visit the Richards/Wharton mansion, walk through the blacksmith shop, or wander through the old sawmill (which still functions) or gristmill. The visitors center features a beautiful museum that was redone a few years ago, which explains the history of Batsto and the pine barrens.
General store from the mill.
Batsto also features one of favorite events – the Batsto Country Living Fair – each October, which is well worth attending for the antique engines alone.
Want to learn more about the history of the pine barrens and its ghost towns? Check out some of these great books:
If you are like us and you LOVE bookstores, some great ones to check out for these and other fine books on South Jersey history are:
Old Book Shop of Bordentown – Bordentown, NJ
Second Time Books – Mt. Laurel, NJ
Batsto Museum Shop – Batsto, NJ
Pinelands Preservation Alliance Bookstore – Southampton, NJ
And, of course, the annual Lines on the Pines event
RIP to our favorite local history bookstore – the Cheshire Cat at Buzby’s Chatsworth General Store.
Unless someone wants to give me enough money to buy and run it, which would be amazing.