The Most Famous Ghost Towns Around the World

Staying in a ‘haunted manor’ is one thing, but visiting an abandoned town, which is at the same time morbidly well-preserved, is totally another. We present you with the most incredible ghost towns, where you can still feel the presence of the former residents.

St. Elmo (USA) – St. Elmo is an abandoned town in Chaffee County in Colorado. It was established by gold and silver diggers at the end of the 19th century. However, the gold and silver reserves were exhausted by 1922, when it was completely depopulated.

St. Elmo (USA) -01 via flickr by Pam Morris licensed CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Chaco Canyon (USA) – Between 900 and 1150 AD Chaco Canyon was the cultural center of the ancient Pueblos. They built fifteen elaborate complexes that up until the 19th century were the biggest buildings in North America.

Chaco Canyon (USA)-02 via flickr by John licensed CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Bodie (USA) – Bodie is an abandoned town in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. It was turned into a historical park in 1962 and is visited by almost 200.000 tourists every year. Like most American ghost towns, Bodie was established during the California Gold Rush, and was depopulated when the reserves were exhausted.

Bodie-03 via flickr by Steve Rotman licensed CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Humberstone and Santa Laura (Chile) – Humberstone and Santa Laura is a complex of 200 saltworks, where a large number of immigrants from Peru and Bolivia worked. Both of them are situated in the Atacama Desert, one of the most inhospitable grounds in the world, and were abandoned in the 1960s, when the salt industry completely collapsed. In 2005 they were added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

Humberstone and Santa Laura -04 via flickr by Carlos Varela licensed CC BY 2.0

Bhangarh (India) – Bhangarh is a ghost town in Rajasthan, India, famous for its unusual ruins. There were speculations that the town was haunted, but it is more likely that it was a part of an ancient military zone. Today Bhangarh is a popular weekend destination.

Kayakoy (Turkey) – Kayakoy is a village in Anatolia, which used to be home to Orthodox Christians up until 1923. This abandoned settlement was turned into a museum on the open, featuring hundreds of Greek-style houses and churches visited by thousands of tourists every year.

Herculaneum (Italy) – Herculaneum is an ancient Roman holiday resort which was devastated after an eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD. Together with Pompey it was buried under piles of volcanic dust which, ironically, saved it from decay.

Belchite (Spain) – Belchite was a fort established in 1122, which was devastated in the Spanish Civil War. There is a new town bearing the same name nearby, while the old one attracts tourists with the stories of long forgotten past.

Kolmanskop (Namibia) – Kolmanskop is an abandoned town in the Namib Desert, named after driver Johnny Coleman. This small but very rich settlement was abandoned after the mineral resources in its vicinity were exhausted.

Pyramiden (Norway) – Pyramiden is a Russian settlement and a mining area, located in present-day Norway. It was established by Swedes in 1910, and the town was sold to the Soviet Union in 1927. The settlement which in its best days had around 1.000 inhabitants was completely abandoned during the 1990s.

Volubilis (Morocco) – Volubilis is an archaeological site in Morocco representing the best preserved remains of Roman architecture in North Africa. Since 1997 it was put under the protection of UNESCO.

Goreme (Turkey) – Goreme is a ghost town with more than 30 chapels and churches carved in stone. Some of them are decorated with beautiful frescos, dating from 9th-11th centuries. Today Goreme is a museum on the open visited by thousands of tourists.

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