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Lost Places

Beautiful and scary: 15 lost places worldwide

Image: juerginho /

They are everywhere: abandoned buildings, old ruins of what used to be large estates, places and places where no one lives anymore and which eke out their lives as ghost towns. Lost places can be incredibly beautiful, but just as scary. They tell stories from days long past, when they were still alive.

The forgotten places are mostly visited only by amateur photographers, film directors or curious people, who might be looking for a little thrill. But they also harbor dangers. On the one hand, the risk of accidents in such places is very high, on the other hand, the places are often still owned by others, which is why entering the site is prohibited. We show you 15 of the most beautiful lost places worldwide. Get ready for an incredible and scary journey!

1. Bannerman Castle, New York, USA

Image: imago images / Design Pics

Our first lost place takes us to New York, to be precise on Pollepel Island, which is 80 kilometers north of New York City in the Hudson River. But it is also known under the name « Bannerman Island ». The castle was built by one in the early 20th century Gun dealer named Francis Bannermann.

The property served as a warehouse for the weapons, which Bannermann had acquired as a dealer over the course of various wars and also sold again. In 1969, a large part of the building was destroyed by fire and the island was closed to the public. Only the outer walls of the castle remain. Do you think that’s scary? Wait, because now we come to a ghost town in the desert!

2. Kolmannskuppe, Namibia

Image: imago images / Shotshop

Kolmannskuppe in Namibia is a ghost town in the middle of the desert. The settlement was once the center of the diamond industry and thus the richest city in Africa. About 400 German workers settled here despite the harsh circumstances, because there was no water, no rain, no earth and no infrastructure. There was only sand, sandstorms and relentless heat.

After the diamond fields in the area had been mined, the residents gradually left the settlement. The last person lived in this place until the 1960s. Over time, the desert of the abandoned city took on. The houses fell into ruins and were piled up with sand. Entering the area and thus the city is strictly prohibited. We are now going from the desert to the sea!

3. SS America, Fuerteventura

Image: imago images / Westend61

It gets scary: We are now coming from a ghost town to a ghost ship. The America was a passenger ship built in 1939 for the United States Lines. The steam turbine ship was to be used on the North Atlantic route. It was used as a military transporter but also as a cruise ship.

But then the accident happened in 1994: During a roaring storm off the Canary Islands, America broke free of its tug lines and was driven to a bay on the west coast of Fuerteventura. After that, the preserved bug served as a tourist attraction for a long time. At the end of November 2006 the majority of the superstructures collapsed into the sea and in 2007 the rest of the ship sank and the forecastle broke in two. The next ghost town is based on a cruel story!

4. Oradour-sur-Glane, France

Image: imago images / All Canada Photos

The French municipality of Oradour-sur-Glane is located 200 kilometers northeast of Bordeaux. This abandoned place, the crumbling buildings and ruins have seen terrible things, because the community was made famous by the Massacar of Oradoeur during the Second World War. On June 10, 1944, the site was completely destroyed by a war crime committed by the Waffen-SS. Almost all of its residents were murdered.

After the war became a new place built next to the ruined ruins of the old village. The crumbled buildings of the old place have become a memorial and memorial with a documentation center, the Center de la mémoire. Our next lost place is an entire island. Be curious!

5. Hashima, Japan

Image: imago images / Kyodo News

The Japanese island of Hashima is located 3 kilometers southwest of Takashima and belongs to the city of Nagasaki. The island is also called Gunkanjima, which means warship island in German. From 1887 to 1974 coal was mined from the island, but since then it has been uninhabited. In 1959, the island had 83476 inhabitants per square kilometer, one of the highest population densities, that have ever been found in the world.

Each worker had living space of around 9.9 square meters. Rooms that were twice as large were available for married men with families. Toilets, bathrooms and kitchens were shared. Now it has become a ghost island that just lies in the middle of the sea. Would you like to spend a night there? The next eerie lost place takes us to Germany!

6. Rangsdorf Imperial Sports Airport, Germany

Image: imago images / Gueffroy

The airfield Rangsdorf or Reichsflugplatz Rangsdorf is a former airfield in the municipality of Rangsdorf in the Brandenburg district of Teltow-Fläming. Most of its airfield and buildings are listed. On July 20, 1944 at 7:00 a.m. Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg started with his aide lieutenant Werner von Haeften from this airfield the assassination attempt on Hitler.

Almost a year later the airfield was taken over by the Red Army captured and occupied by various fighter pilot units of the Soviet Air Force until 1946. The area was used militarily by units of the 16th Air Army after the end of the war until the withdrawal of Soviet troops in 1994. The next Lost Place is not for scaredy rabbits. It’s getting scary!

7. Paratei prison, Estonia

Image: imago images / Hartenfelser

Patarei prison was the most cruel military prison in all of Estonia until 2002. It is impossible to say exactly how many people have been tortured and deported behind these walls in 80 years of prison history or even died.

This place surrounds something eerie and always gives goose bumps to its visitors, because since 2007 the place has been officially a cultural center and can be explored by the curious. But this place is not for the faint of heart: Some of the rusted beds are still made up today and notched lines can be seen in the cell walls of the inmates, who were counting their days. Would you dare to go to this place? Or maybe the next one?

8. Reinhardsbrunn Castle, Germany

Image: imago images / Panthermedia

Reinhardsbrunn Palace is a former Benedictine monastery dating from 1085. However, the monastery began to fall into disrepair in the 16th century. The reason for this is that the property was looted and destroyed in 1525 during the Peasant War. The ruins of the monastery were later converted into a castle in 1827. A landscaped park was built around the property in the 1850s.

After the castle was expropriated by the Soviet occupying powers in 1945, it later became a hotel for a travel agency in the GDR. After that, the castle became a cultural educational center. After the fall of the wall, the property was sold to several different people, but it fell into disrepair. Nowadays there is an association that tries to stop the castle from decaying. We now come from a castle to an old casino!

9. Constanta Casino, Romania

Image: imago images / ZUMA Press

The Constanța Casino was opened in 1910 on Bulevardul Regina Elisabeta and quickly became a symbol of Romania. Rich families from all over Europe traveled here to enjoy themselves, dance and celebrate. During the Second World War, the building was temporarily used as a hospital and during the socialist era, the former casino was even a restaurant.

But in 1990 the casino built in the Art Nouveau building had to close due to economic problems. Since then it has been empty and has not seen any guests, except for the tourists who walk on the promenade, stroll past and take a picture. This building would certainly have a lot of exciting stories to tell, as would the next village to which we are now going!

10. Malo Grablje, Croatia

Image: imago images / Pixsell

The abandoned village of Malo Grablje is only about half an hour from the lively center of Hvar. And so it seems as if you are diving into a completely different world in Malo Grablje. Until around 50 years ago, 180 people were still living in the village. But then people left the village because of a small pest, the phylloxera. This tiny one was already raging in the European wine fields since the end of the 19th century, destroying entire landscapes.

When the plague reached the village the 180 people were forced to move to nearby Milna. Although the new village was only two kilometers away, the residents never returned and Malo Grablje became a ghost village. We stay at a ghost village. It is uniquely beautiful and absolutely worth seeing!

11. Houtouwan, China

Image: imago images / VCG

This abandoned village is probably one of the most beautiful in the world. More specifically, Houtouwan is a Chinese fishing village on Shengshan Island in Shengsi County. Up to 2000 fishermen and their families lived here in more than 500 houses. In the 1990s, however, the village was abandoned and recaptured by nature, which makes the place a popular tourist attraction.

Wild wine overgrown the former family houses and the village seems like from a fairy tale book. In 2018, a few people actually still lived in the place. Who wouldn’t like to go exploring? Now let’s go back to Germany!

12. Grabowsee healing facility, Germany

Image: imago images / Rolf Kremming

The Grabowsee healing site is one of the most popular lost places in Germany. The former lung sanctuary is located about 30 kilometers north of Berlin in the Oberhavel district in Brandenburg. It was founded in 1896 as the first healing center for pulmonary tuberculosis in northern Germany. The area on which the spa is located consists of 34 hectares of land and is surrounded by forest on two sides.

Based on the results, extension buildings were erected after the First World War, so that over 400 sick people could be accommodated there. After the Second World War, the site was temporarily used as a Soviet military hospital. Since then the building has been falling into disrepair and has become a popular set for photo and film shoots. For several years, an association has been trying unsuccessfully to renovate the entire property. Would you risk a look there?

13. Pyramids (Spitsbergen), Norway

Image: imago images / CHROMORANGE

Whoever thinks of the pyramids in Egypt is wrong because this village has nothing to do with the monumental buildings in Giza. Pyramids is the name of a mining settlement on Spitsbergen, where more than 1000 people lived at the time. The village lies on the Billefjord and is so named the pyramid-like shape of the mountain of the same name.

After the place was left, many buildings were looted and destroyed in small parts. However, other buildings were destroyed by demolition before the site was abandoned. In the summer season, expedition cruise ships from various tour operators call on pyramids. So if you are interested, you can take a look at it yourself!

14th Buslujah Monument, Bulgaria

Image: imago images / viewpoint

The Busludscha monument was built in honor of Bulgaria’s socialist movement. It is right on the top of the mountain called Chadschi Dimitar. The monument was inaugurated in 1981. The reason for this was the 1300th anniversary of the Bulgarian state foundation. This monument is the largest ideologically motivated building in Bulgaria.

After the collapse of the socialist state in 1989 the building, which is reminiscent of a UFO, is in an ever deteriorating condition. Access to the interior was blocked and banned some time ago. The building has been under permanent surveillance since 2018. As the last lost place we show you a ghost town again, that arose due to tragic circumstances!

15. Prypiat, Ukraine

Image: imago images / Ukrinform

Prypiat is a ghost town in the Kiev Oblast in Ukraine. The place was founded in 1970 in connection with the construction of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. However, after the 1986 reactor accident, the site was completely cleared. When the accident occurred on April 26, 1986, approximately 49,360 people lived here, including approximately 15,500 children.

Many residents of the city were workers in the nuclear power plant. They lived there with their families. After the catastrophe, the new city of Slavutych was built as a replacement, and Prypiat became a ghost town. Which lost place would you like to visit? We hope you enjoyed our wonderful trip to the 15 deserted places!


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