The Most Beautiful Abandoned Places In The World

They're hauntingly stunning.

Kilchurn castle loch awe
Getty ImagesKENNETHBARKER

There's something simultaneously eerie and beautiful about abandoned places. You almost feel voyeuristic in a sense—like you're witnessing a very intimate piece of someone else's life. Though abandoned buildings and towns can often turn decrepit, the following spots (albeit somewhat weathered over time), are some of the most striking we've ever seen.

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INSTAGRAM/EXPLORINGCHIAPAS
Temple of Santiago

A drought in south Mexico has caused water levels surrounding this to drop approximately 80 feet. Though the circumstances aren't exactly something to celebrate, they've allowed that's usually hidden below the water to emerge—a stunning-yet-eerie reminder of how things are not always what they seem.

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Craco, Italy

Despite being in existence since 540, much of this town's population evacuated during the 20th century due to poor agriculture, a landslide in 1963, and a flood in 1972. Now it's an ancient site so striking that is even that has served as the set for movies like The Passion of the Christ.

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Saint Nicholas Church

This flooded church of sits in the Mavorvo Lake in Macedonia. The destruction was actually intentional. The lake was created to support a power plant, and the church and surrounding village were merely caught in the wake of progress. What's left is an eerie juxtaposition of the dilapidated building against the lovely landscape.

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Jane Qing
Gougi Island

This on China's Yangtze River isn't your average forgotten town — its lush buildings covered in ivy and greenery is surprisingly tranquil and striking. The Chinese website where they first surfaced called the area the "."

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Bryan Sansivero
Miranda Castle

Built in 1866, this fairytale-like structure in Belgium was intended to be a summer home, but the designer died before its completion in 1907. Afterwards, it was taken over by Nazis during World War II, served as a summer camp for 20 years, and finally, in 1991, was abandoned because it was too costly to maintain.

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Ruins of British building on Ross Island
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Ross Island

Located in South Andaman, India, this island was once a British administrative center for the Indian Penal Settlement. However, after it was abandoned it became overgrown with and now it has a stunning Jungle Book vibe.

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Six Flags in New Orleans

This theme park was destroyed by in 2005. Murky water rose as high as six feet and salt water damaged 80 percent of the rides, leaving it too expensive to restore. What's left behind is like the funhouse version of a theme park — and a strangely beautiful monument to the vibrant city once destroyed by tragedy.

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Hirta, Scotland

While this was once a lush island occupied by many people, in the 1930s it was evacuated because of the . Now, abandoned stone structures are speckled across the fields.

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Dome Homes in Florida

Just off of the coast of in Cape Romano, Florida, is a structure that looks like an abandoned alien space craft, but in reality it was once a vacation home that has since been destroyed by hurricanes. Now, the declining coastline makes it unsalvageable.

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Berlin, Nevada

The Berlin Historic District was founded in 1897 as part of the mining boom, but never saw the success of other nearby towns and was largely abandoned by 1911. It's now part of a Nevada State Park.

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A view of a room in a derelict building full of sand.
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Kolmanskop, Namibia

This town was founded in the Namib desert in 1908 when a man found a diamond in the area, but was abandoned in 1954 after resources were exhausted. The homes that were left are now filled high with sand — a strange, yet striking, sight to behold.

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Kilchurn Castle
Julien Chaudet
Kilchurn Castle

This Scottish castle was built in the mid-1400s and housed some of the most powerful people in the country. However, it was abandoned in the 1700s, and is now one of the most photographed castles, because of it's (obviously) striking location.

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Framed View of Ruins at Kayakoy
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Kayakoy, Turkey

A town nestled in the Taurus Mountains was deserted in the 1920s because of a political . Today, there are around 350 abandoned homes in the city.

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Shipwreck in Sydney
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The Floating Forest

This was built in 1911 and retired in 1972 in the Homebush Bay, which is west of Sydney and basically a ship graveyard. But it's unique to the other abandoned vessels, because it's since sprouted majestic mangrove trees and greenery.

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Flickr/jeff kerwin
Villa in Lake Como

While the history of this decrepit mansion nestled in the mountains of Lake Como is not certain, locals believe it was built in the 1800s, and according to rumors, it was abandoned after a murder or suicide.

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The ruine of the monastery All Saints Allerheiligen in Oppenau
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Allerheiligen Monastery

Located in the , this church was first built in 1192 and has been struck by lightening and burnt up to three times since—which is why it was eventually left in its current form as ruins.

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Giant tree is grappling with the temple Ta Prohm
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Ta Prohm Temple

This famous temple in Angkor Wat, Cambodia, was abandoned after the fall of the empire in the 17th century and—after hundreds of years of neglect—became one with the jungle. Today, the ruins are looked after in order to stabilize and maintain the temple.

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Maunsell Army Sea Forts

These forts were created to protect the Kent, England shores from a German attack during . Afterward, they were decommissioned in 1950, briefly served as radio stations for pirates, and are now abandoned completely.

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Flickr/Forsaken Fotos
Dundas Castle

This Roscoe, New York castle was designed by architect Bradford L. Gilbert for his Scottish wife, Anna Dundas. However, Gilbert died and Dundas was committed to a sanatorium before its completion, so they never got a chance to live in it—but some say still roams the halls.

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Bodiam Castle
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Bodiam Castle

This moated castle was built in the 14th century in East Sussex, England by a knight looking to protect the area against the French in the Hundred Years' War. But after surviving several wars, it was abandoned, and today it serves as a tourist attraction that's open to the public.

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Methodist Church

You might be surprised by the location of this gorgeous church: . It cost $1 million to build in 1926 and once had a congregation of more than 3,000, thanks to the booming steel town, but as employment declined and crime rose, the church dwindled and was abandoned in 1980.

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Flickr Creative Commons/MeryemFisch
Hotel de Salto

Opened in 1928, this Colombian hotel catered to tourists visiting the nearby waterfall. It was closed down in the early 90s, and today stands abandoned. Many people believe it to be haunted.

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Michigan Central Station

Recognize this gorgeous building? That's because it was used in Eminen's movie, 8 Mile. The Detroit train station, built in 1913, ultimately closed up shop in 1988.

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City Hall Subway Stop

It's a rare sight to find NYC subways empty, so this abandoned City Hall stop proves how beautiful they actually are when not swarmed by masses of people. Since this stations curve made it unsafe for newer, longer trains, it was closed in 1945.

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Holland Island

This house was all that's left of what was once a small island colony in the Chesapeake Bay. Thanks to erosion of the island's coast, inhabitants were pushed off the island. This house ultimately collapsed as well in 2010.

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Bodie

Often said to be the best ghost town in the West, the former mining town in the Sierra Nevadas feels frozen in time. Visitors can stroll the deserted streets, peek in the windows of the church, schoolhouse, barbershop, and saloon, and scope out the several old relics that still remain in tact today.

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Aniva Rock Lighthouse

This now-abandoned lighthouse in Russia was built by the Japanese in 1939. After much conflict, the Russians annexed it during World War 2.

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Canfranc Rail Station

The former international railway station in the Spanish Pyrenees was overtaken by warfare, the Nazis, and ultimately, a train accident, which led to its abandonment in 1970.

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Bannerman Castle

This castle was intended to be used as storage for American military supplies after the war with the Spanish, but in 1920, 200 pounds of ammunition went off, leaving it mostly destroyed.

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The Great Wall

Due to its immense size and cost of upkeep, parts of the Great Wall of China have fallen into disrepair. Wild overgrowths now fill the walkways with thick shrubs, grass, and weeds.

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