The Ghost Town Of Craco, Italy
Perched high in the craggy hills of Matera, in spectacular southern Italy, Craco is a ghostly place. This was once a thriving town, its location boasting strategic defensive benefits during times of strife, but whilst hostile raiders struggled to penetrate its walls, Mother Nature had no such issues.
Straddling various fault-lines, Craco was flawed from the beginning. The town having long been abandoned, coming here is a creepy experience. Craco was evacuated in 1963 following a devastating landslide and, although some residents did return once the danger had passed, their days here were numbered. Following an earthquake in 1980, the town was abandoned entirely.
These days, it is a place of ancient tombs and crumbling stonework, a ghost town of decaying buildings and empty streets, where tourists are drawn, but few come alone. Thinking about paying a visit to Craco? Be prepared to be unnerved.
Uyuni Train Cemetery, Bolivia
Cementerio de Trenes – aka the Great Train Graveyard – is a haunting place. Located on Bolivia’s desolate salt flats, countless locomotives litter the landscape here, rusted and decaying, and never to take to the tracks again.
This is a place for train buffs – although the sight that awaits can be distressing. Once-great engines have been allowed to rot beyond all recognition. It feels like such a waste. Uyuni – just three kilometres from here – was meant to be a major transportation hub linking South America’s great cities and connecting the continent.
Yet it never quite happened and the imported locomotives, many of them transported from Great Britain, were neglected and allowed to fall into disrepair. Long since stripped of all their valuable parts, vandalised and corroded by the salt winds, there’s something eerie about the hollow shells that remain.
The Dispaearing Rubjerg Knude Lighthouse
Thinking about paying a visit to Rubjerg Knude? You should hurry, for it isn’t expected to be around for much longer. Located in Jutland, on Denmark’s wild northern coast, this striking landmark has stood here since 1900.
Yet with the shifting sands and rapid erosion that continue to reshape the coastline here, the abandoned lighthouse is soon set to topple into the North Sea and disappear beneath the pounding waves forever. The other buildings that once stood here have long since been destroyed, Rubjerg Knude the last structure standing on a site that has eroded, on average, five feet a year since it was built at the turn of the last century.
The light hasn’t shone since 1968 and, the building having been abandoned in 2002, it’s only a matter of time now. Partially-buried beneath the sands, the lighthouse is getting ever closer to the edge. Before long, it too will be gone.
Eastern State Penitentiary Of Philadelphia
Located not far from downtown Philadelphia, ESP is a world away from the bustling city streets that lie just beyond its castle-like walls. Once renowned as the most expensive prison on Earth, the former ‘residents’ here include the infamous mob boss Al Capone.
Closed since 1971, it is a major tourist attraction and National Historic Landmark these days. Yet despite all those who head here to explore, the abandoned jailhouse remains a haunting place to visit.
Prisoners here were kept in complete isolation – eating and exercising alone and forced to exist in silence – leading countless criminals to be certified insane before their sentences had been completed. With its crumbling cell blocks and empty guard towers, ESP remains an eerie place. Take a tour – but be careful not to get locked in and left behind when the doors are closed and visiting time is over.
Nicosia International Airport, Cyprus
Once Cyprus’ main tourist hub, Nicosia International Airport has lain abandoned since 1974. Passengers once bustled through its state-of-the-art terminal building, but these days, it is desolate and decaying – a place of barbed wire and broken glass, where the silence is eerie, and where time has long stood still.
It was the Turkish invasion that put paid to the airport’s operation and, although the site was targeted for sustained bombing raids as conflict raged, much still remains here.
There’s a huge hangar, a long-abandoned lounge and even a rusting jet plane that still sits forgotten on the weed-strewn runway, never to depart an island that, to this day, remains divided. Stuck between the Turkish Cypriot North and the Greek Cypriot South, Nicosia International Airport is little more than a haunting no-man’s-land these days. It’s a curious location, but not a place to linger long.
The Decaying New Bedford’s Orpheum
Entering New Bedford’s imposing Orpheum is like taking a step back in time. This stylish theatre and movie house was opened in 1912 – on the same April day that Titanic sank, en route to the United States – but having closed its doors to customers in the 1950s, it has long been abandoned and decaying.
Located on Water Street in the small Massachusetts city, it is a significant local landmark. Yet few here get the chance to take a look behind the scenes.
Stepping inside is a haunting experience, the theatre seats empty, but much remaining from the building’s glorious hey-day. The paint is peeling and the plasterwork crumbling, yet the era’s fading grandeur still endures. The Orpheum also houses a gymnasium, shooting range and beautiful ballroom, and with much here still intact, goosebumps are guaranteed for those fortunate enough to catch a glimpse.
The Abandoned Spy Station In Berlin
The Cold War era lives on at eerie Teufelsberg – towering high over Berlin. The views here are to savour, but a mysterious mood persists, not surprising, perhaps, given the site’s dark past. Located in the scenic Grunewald, this is Berlin’s highest point, but despite appearances, it is not a natural hill.
Made from some 12 million cubic metres of rubble from the Second World War, the remains of 400,000 bombed German homes form the slopes here. Buried right at the bottom – gone, but not forgotten – is a former Nazi training school.
For a long time after the war, this was a US listening station and four imposing radomes still dot Teufelsberg’s unsettling summit. They’re decaying and, like the crumbling buildings that still stand, are covered in graffiti, with weeds sprouting from everywhere. Translated into English, Teufelsberg means Devil’s Mountain. Climb to the top and you’ll soon find out why.
The Hotel Of Doom In Pyongyang
Known to some here as the ‘Hotel of Doom’, Ryugyong towers over Pyongyang. It is the tallest building in North Korea. It is also – according to Guinness World Records adjudicators – the tallest unoccupied building on the planet.
Construction began in 1987, but ceased five years later due to an economic crisis in the secretive state. Sporadic work has been done since, but more than three decades on, the hotel remains empty. Ryugyong was supposed to signal North Korea’s status as a significant player on the world stage, but the failure to get it finished has become an embarrassment to a sensitive regime. The exterior was completed in 2011, but inside it is a different matter.
Rising 1,080 feet above the skyline, the hotel is twice the height of the Great Pyramids and can be seen from all points of Pyongyang. Bleak and unwelcoming, even by North Korean standards, don’t plan to ever stay here.
Sinister Power Station In Belgium
Image: Lennart Tange, Wikipedia Commons, Source: Flickr
Located in Monceau-sur-Sambre, the immense IM Plant once powered Charleroi and its surrounding towns and villages. Looming over all, the great tower here could cool 480,000 gallons of water per minute. It was a power station both efficient and mighty. The trouble was, it was also a major polluter.
Studies found that IM was responsible for 10% of all carbon dioxide emissions in Belgium – prompting protests from Greenpeace and the plant’s eventual closure in 2007. Since then, it has beckoned urban adventurers, keen to explore its dystopian structures.
The vast cooling tower is a big draw, although visits are not permitted and trespassing prohibited. This hasn’t stopped those determined to climb inside – and a visit here is guaranteed to give you goosebumps. Guards have been posted to keep the curious at bay, but with the IM site due to be demolished, there’s no stopping those determined to sneak a glimpse.
The Ghost Town Of Namibia
Located in the Namib desert, not far from Luderitz, Kolmanskop was once a thriving mining village. Precious diamonds were discovered here in 1908 – prompting a boom and a surging population of prospectors.
These days it is a ghost town, abandoned and being reclaimed, little by little, by the desert. The desolate buildings here being buried beneath the shifting sands, it is a haunting place. There was once a hospital, ballroom, school, theatre and casino here – as well as the first tram in Africa. But the diamond rush didn’t last long and, supplies depleted, people began to leave in order to seek their fortunes elsewhere.
The mass exodus began not long after World War Two, with Kolmanskop abandoned in 1956. The buildings remain, although most are partially-buried – a little more so each year. It’s quiet and eerie now, and walking the once-thriving streets can be an unsettling experience.
The Abandoned Olympic Village In Sarajevo
The former Yugoslavia became the first communist state to host the Winter Olympics in 1984. Less than a decade later, a divided nation being torn apart, the facilities had fallen into disrepair and decay, with conflict raging and violence all around.
Sarajevo’s bobsleigh track became a Bosnian-Serb stronghold, whilst the ski-jump was used as an important artillery position in the hills above the under-fire city. It’s all still here, covered in graffiti, with weeds sprouting everywhere and the tell-tale bullet holes pointing to a past that those who lived through it would prefer to forget.
There’s the Olympic Hotel (used as a prison during the conflict), the athletes’ accommodation and even a podium that was used as a place of execution. It’s distressing and disturbing, but serves as an important reminder of all that happened here in a land where tensions endure.
Pripyat’s Creepy Amusement Park
Built to serve Chernobyl and house those who worked there, Pripyat found itself on the front line in 1986, when disaster struck and a reactor at the doomed nuclear power plant exploded.
More than 49,000 people once lived here – and all were evacuated within 36 hours. More than 30 years on, the result couldn’t be more eerie. Homes, shops and schools stand empty, with Pripyat having been ruled unsafe for human habitation for the next 24,000 years. It is possible to visit these days, although strict conditions and guidelines must be followed, with not all areas considered safe.
Located in northern Ukraine, not far from the Belarus border, this is a place that calls to the curious, with interest in Chernobyl on the rise. The abandoned amusement part is especially unsettling and its rusting rides couldn’t be creepier. Harrowing, but forever fascinating, Pripyat is a place that must be seen to be believed.
The Sunken Ghost Yacht Of Antarctica
Mar Sem Fin has been rescued now, retrieved from the icy depths and towed away. But for a time, this submerged ghost ship could be seen quite clearly from the surface – haunting those who looked upon it and proving an unnerving experience for those aboard other vessels.
The 76-foot Brazilian yacht sank in 2012 after the crew got into difficulties in the frigid waters of Maxwell Bay, just off King George Island in Antarctica.
Battling gusting winds and huge ice floes, the outcome was soon inevitable and all on board were rescued, leaving Mar Sem Fin – which translates as Endless Sea – to sink to the seabed and serve as a warning to passing ships. The stricken vessel was retrieved using inflatable buoys some 12 months later, although the damage was so great it never sailed again. The ghost ship has gone, but the haunting image endures.
The Abandoned Military Hospital in Beelitz
The abandoned hospital at Beelitz Heilstatten is an unsettling place. These days it is decaying – the plaster peeling, the walls crumbling and weeds sprouting from the deep cracks and crevices.
But once it was a military hospital that, for a time, treated injured German soldiers and Nazi officials. For a short period, a wounded Adolf Hitler was amongst the patients here. Just thinking about it is unnerving.
Opened in 1898, Beelitz Heilstatten was a hectic place during the First World War, with battlefield injuries caused by machine guns and mustard gas commonplace. It was again called into action in World War Two, before Russian soldiers claimed it in 1945. It remained in service as a Soviet military hospital until 1995, when most of the buildings here were abandoned and allowed to fall into disrepair. This one-time Nazi stronghold beckons those with an interest in such things – and paying a visit is not recommended.
The Haunted Sanzhi Pod Village
Image: The Erica Chang, Wikipedia Commons
The site that once housed San Zhi’s mysterious pod homes is an eerie place. The space-age structures have been torn down now, but the haunting mood endures here. Thinking about paying a visit? Take our advice and don’t go alone.
The Futuro houses that used to stand here were never finished – the project jinxed from the start and abandoned long before completion. The site is believed to have once been a graveyard. It’s rumoured to be haunted and there’s no question that things didn’t proceed as planned.
This had been intended as a vacation resort for US soldiers, but problems beset the building work. Several people died here – some in car crashes, others committed suicide – and the project stalled, never to resume. Legend has it that the destruction of a giant dragon sculpture, cut apart to accommodate an access road, played a part, setting a curse that continues to haunt this troubled place.
Spooky Ho Thuy Tien Waterpark
It doesn’t feature on maps, but backpackers flock to Ho Thuy Tien, a short-lived waterpark that appears more popular now than it ever did during its brief heyday.
Opened in 2004 and closed soon afterwards, this was an ill-fated project from the start, its owners having decided to begin welcoming visitors before construction was complete. Its problems present from the get-go, it didn’t last long. These days, the park is overgrown and graffiti covered. There’s a lake and abandoned auditorium – an eerie sight, but most come here to see the huge dragon that stands guard over the park’s crumbling entrance.
You can climb the stairs into its mouth for a view over the entire park. Despite the crowds of the curious, visiting here is spooky, with the constant feeling that you’re being watched. Crocodiles once roamed here and, although they’re supposed to have been removed, it’s best not to take chances.
The Haunted Hotel Del Salto in Colombia
Located on a cliffside, opposite a spectacular waterfall and not far from Bogota in Colombia, the Salto Hotel boasts views that are to die for. Unfortunately, death is a common theme in these parts. Legend has it that in ancient times, indigenous people would jump from Tequendama Falls in order to avoid being captured by Spanish conquerors.
For a time, the hotel was a luxurious resort, where the rich and famous came to view the falls and explore the scenic local area. Yet its allure was lost when the river became polluted by industrial waste – the building falling into disrepair before being abandoned altogether. It’s said to be haunted and, although recent renovation work has seen a museum and tourist attraction open here, you wouldn’t want to stick around after nightfall.
The Decaying Dome Homes Near Marco Island
Marco Island’s long-abandoned Dome Homes look like a settlement from outer space. Yet this was once a luxurious coastal residence, built in 1980 and occupied until 1993.
These days, the decaying igloo-like structures are some 180 feet from the shore, but not long ago, the Cape Romano Dome House – to give it its proper title – sat on the island’s stunning southern edge, serving as the perfect Floridian retreat for its ambitious owners. Unfortunately, a combination of powerful hurricanes and rising ocean levels changed the landscape here beyond all recognition, leaving the Dome Homes stranded out at sea and prompting their abandonment. Eroding and unstable, the domes’ days are numbered.
Before much longer, it is thought, they’ll disappear beneath the surface, never to be seen again. No longer fit for human habitation, the Dome Homes do provide shelter for various wildlife species. Even from the fast-disappearing shoreline, they’re guaranteed to give you goosebumps.
Abandoned Balaklava Submarine Base
Balaklava is like a villain’s lair from a James Bond movie. Hidden deep beneath Mount Tavros in Crimea, this is no film set or fiction, however. This top-secret military facility was built during the Cold War, designed to withstand a nuclear attack and keep the Soviet Union’s soldiers safe.
Submarines were once docked here, far from prying eyes. The craft equipped and loaded with devastating weapons before being dispatched via hidden channels, this was once a bustling nerve centre in a long-running feud between warring superpowers.
These days, the feuding is done in-house, Crimea a disputed region between Russia and Ukraine, where tensions remain even if enemies have changed. In the midst of all this, it’s possible to visit Balaklava, with a museum here offering a peek behind the Iron Curtain and giving a glimpse of what Cold War living was like on the front line. With its cold concrete walls, not much has changed here since the base was abandoned in 1993. It makes for a chilling place to visit.
The Ghost Town Of Bodie, California
Forever frozen in time, Bodie is a classic ghost town – its decaying buildings and deserted streets unnerving those who head here to poke around in the past.
It’s hard to believe that several thousand residents once lived here, some 75 miles from Lake Tahoe, with the imposing Sierra Nevada mountain range providing a spectacular backdrop. Bodie’s boom – which peaked in 1876 – was due to California’s gold rush and, although the last mine to close here remained in operation until the 1940s, the decline set in long before. Less than 700 people remained by 1910, whilst just five years later, the ghost town tag was used for the first time.
These days, the town exists in a state of ‘arrested decay’, meaning that, whilst the dilapidated buildings here are preserved, they’re not going to be restored. The effect is haunting, and those who do visit often find it an unsettling experience.
The Flooded Village Of South Tyrol, Italy
Submerged deep beneath beautiful Lake Reschen, high in the Italian Alps, lies Graun, an abandoned village that was flooded in 1950, along with parts of neighbouring Reschen.
There are 163 buildings beneath the waters, the only clue that the lake hasn’t always been here the upper reaches of the village church’s bell tower, which protrudes from the surface and is a significant local landmark.
The artificial lake was formed as part of a plan to build a dam in order to provide electricity to the local area, close to the Austrian border in the tranquil South Tyrol. Legend has it that, although the bells were removed just prior to the lake’s construction, they can sometimes still be heard ringing during wintertime. When Lake Reschen freezes over, it’s possible to walk across and take a closer look at the exposed campanile. Very haunting, yet this is a place that demands a visit.
Nagasaki Old Labour Camp
You might recognise Hashima Island from the James Bond movie Skyfall. It makes for a great film location, but the events that make this such a grim place to visit are all too real.
Located nine miles from Nagasaki, this was once a forced labour camp, where prisoners – prior to and during the Second World War – were brought to work in the offshore coal mines. Conditions were brutal and deaths common. The mines were closed in the 1970s, but the dark mood endures.
Gunkanjima, or Battleship Island, is a bleak place, all crumbling concrete and broken glass, with weeds growing everywhere. Parts of the island are open to visitors, although much is off-limits, due to the dangers posed by the decaying structures. Hashima has an apocalyptic feel – nowhere more so than at the infamous Stairway to Hell. Dark and disturbing, visiting here is an unnerving experience.
The Spooky Haludovo Palace Hotel
It’s hard to believe that this was once the height of luxury, a high-end resort on a blissful island, where the rich and famous could relax and enjoy every amenity imaginable.
Built in the 1970s, the Haludovo Palace was funded, in part, by the founder of Penthouse magazine, housing a top-class casino, cocktail bar, tennis courts, sauna and swimming pool. These days it is crumbling, all broken glass and abandoned rooms, with weeds growing from each crack and crevice.
Located on the Croatian island Kirk, the hotel fell victim to the brutal Yugoslav wars, falling into disrepair as the Balkan conflict raged, and never recovering its former glories. Refugees sheltered from the fighting here and, although the hotel did reopen once peace returned to the region, it proved to be short-lived. The last guests stayed here in 2001 and, the building abandoned soon after, these days it is a spooky place.
The Dark Buzludzha Monument
Perched on a historic hillside close to Kazanlak, Buzludzha looks like a flying saucer, just arrived from Outer Space. Built by the Bulgarian Communist Party to celebrate communism in the 1970s, the imposing monument has stood empty since 1989, abandoned following the regime’s dramatic fall from power.
In the decades that have passed, Buzludzha has been vandalised and allowed to fall into disrepair. Crumbling and cold, it makes for a haunting place to visit. Located in the scenic Central Balkan Mountains, the site was once a battleground, where Bulgarian rebels fought the forces of the Ottoman Empire. It is a place rich in historic significance – a fact that just adds to the dark mood that prevails here.
Efforts are at last being made to preserve the decaying monument, with guards posted to keep the vandals at bay. It’s no longer possible to set foot inside as a result, yet even from the exterior, bleak Buzludzha is bound to give you goosebumps.
The Dangerous Bannerman Castle In New York
Bannerman Castle is crumbling, fire-damaged and decaying. Perched on Pollepel Island, some 50 miles from New York City, on the scenic Hudson River, it is an arresting sight. Thinking about paying a visit? Take our advice and keep your distance.
This was once a well-stocked arsenal, home to a thriving military surplus business, with weapons stored inside its tall walls. Yet since becoming vacant in the 1950s, Bannerman has fallen into disrepair, with vandals, trespassers and neglect all contributing to the castle’s dramatic decline, which is clear to see from a distance.
Fire weakened the structure prior to a partial collapse in 2009 and, such is the building’s poor condition, authorities here have ruled that Pollepel Island is off-limits to all visitors. Still the curious come here, however, ignoring the warning signs about unexploded ordnance and the dark mood that endures in the shadows that the castle casts.
China’s Empty City
Kangbashi – aka China’s ‘Empty City’ – is an eerie place. It feels a lot like a ghost town. It isn’t that the residents left, however, more that no-one ever lived here in the first place.
Constructed in a remote region in Inner Mongolia, work began to build a new metropolis in 2003, with a 137-square-mile site earmarked for an ambitious development that would provide housing and jobs for one million people. The trouble is, no-one came. Still the work continued, with countless skyscrapers and tower blocks built, alongside museums and galleries, theatres, sports grounds and all imaginable amenities.
These days, several thousand people do live in Kangbashi – around 16 miles from Dongsheng – although such is the city’s size, spotting them can be quite a challenge. On the plus side, there’s little traffic here and you’ll never need to queue. Yet so quiet are Kangbashi’s streets, you’ll be certain to find this rather creepy.
Spooky Six Flags Amusement Park
There can be little more unnerving than an abandoned amusement park – and for those seeking the spooky, Six Flags doesn’t disappoint.
Opened in 2000, when it was called Jazzland, this 140-acre site has been desolate since Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, leaving much of New Orleans under water and devastating all that stood in its path. Much here was destroyed, with the park submerged beneath 20 feet of water and the floods taking more than a month to drain.
What still stands couldn’t be creepier, with rusting rides and roller-coasters remaining, beckoning urban adventurers determined to defy orders to keep out, and forever trying to dodge the NOPD patrols. These days, it’s a place of weeds, broken glass and graffiti, with alligators prowling the waterways, and stern guards stalking what feels like a ghost town. Thinking about taking a look? Six Flags is guaranteed to give you goosebumps.
Abandoned City Hall Subway Stop in New York
Opened in 1904, City Hall was the original southern terminal station of the New York Subway’s first line. No expense was spared here, with beautiful tiles lining the curved walls, chandeliers hanging from the ceilings and ornate skylights helping to illuminate the picturesque platforms.
It’s a sight to behold, although the station didn’t remain in service for long. Impractical due to curved platforms not long enough to accommodate trains of increasing size, passenger service here ceased in the 1940s. In subsequent years, it has become a ghost station. There are no passengers these days, but the station remains (behind doors that have long been locked), with the original fixtures and fittings still in place. The New York Transit Museum organises occasional tours for members, although these sell out fast.
Like to catch a glimpse? Take a 6 train – heading Downtown – and remain onboard beyond the terminal stop. The train must turn, following a loop that runs through the abandoned station, before heading north once again.
Deception Island, Antarctica
Harsh and cold, the weather wild and the bombardment constant, Deception Island is a brutal place. Formed from the caldera of an active volcano that first erupted some 10,000 years ago, this is an unforgiving environment.
The lava still bubbles, not far beneath the surface, but for the few who do step foot on this South Shetland archipelago, there are more pressing matters to consider. The freezing temperatures and pounding winds don’t make the island conducive to human habitation, although people have lived here down the years.
For a time, this was an important whaling station, home to several hundred men, with its own cemetery, radio station and hand-operated railway, whilst various research facilities have been housed here in more recent times. Remnants remain, for those hardy enough to explore. In the main, though, the island is the domain of penguins and countless sea-bird colonies, making this a haunting place for those seeking an Antarctic adventure.
The Weird Paris Replica In Hangzhou, China
Tianducheng is a bizarre destination. Everything here is Parisian in style, with classic French architecture, statues and fountains all around. There’s even an ‘Eiffel Tower’ – albeit a scaled down version, this one standing a little over 108 metres tall.
Yet this is China, not France. This is a replica Paris that must be seen to be believed. Thinking about paying a visit? Be prepared to be unnerved. There are no crowds here and the traffic is scarce. That might seem like a positive, given the real French capital’s ever-bustling boulevards, but so deserted are the streets here, the effect is eerie.
This 32-square-kilometre site – plonked amidst the Zhejiang farmlands, not far from Hangzhou – was designed to house 10,000 people when work began in 2007. Yet just 2,000 have chosen to live here and it feels like a ghost town. Haunting in the extreme, you’ll be relieved to leave.
The Island of the Dolls, Xochimilco, Mexico
Dark and disturbing, La Isla de las Munecas is no place to visit alone. Located not far from the pulsing heart of chaotic Mexico City, the island couldn’t be more eerie.
Dismembered dolls hang from the trees here and the feeling that you’re being watched is impossible to shake. It’s hard to believe that people choose to travel here. It’s not a tourist attraction that we’d recommend. The dolls were first hung here by Julian Santana Barrera, the island’s troubled former caretaker. Legend has it that he discovered a girl, drowned in the canals of Xochimico, a doll floating alongside her, prompting him to preserve it in order to appease her spirit.
He dedicated the remainder of his life to salvaging discarded and damaged dolls and hanging them from the trees – a practice he continued until he too drowned. Since then, unknown individuals have continued his work and severed limbs are all around. Planning a visit? Be sure to take a friend.
The Haunting Valley of the Mills
There is a great deal to see in spectacular Sorrento, but not much captures the imagination quite like haunting Valle dei Mulini. Deep in a great ravine – not far from bustling Naples – nature is reclaiming the long-abandoned buildings.
Here, in the historic Valley of the Mills, all is calm and quiet. It is sometimes rather creepy, but don’t let that put you off. In the area? Be sure to check it out. The crumbling buildings here once housed thriving flour mills that dated back to the 13th century. For more than 600 years, the flour produced here was sent to Naples and the surrounding towns and cities.
Methods changed in the 1940s, with production moved elsewhere and the mills allowed to fall into disrepair. Yet they’ve survived earthquakes and great volcanic eruptions and, although the rampant plant life here has taken hold, the buildings are still standing. Valle dei Mulini serves as an important reminder of Sorrento’s past – even if it is a little eerie.
The Flooded City Of Shicheng
Long forgotten, Shicheng has been dubbed the ‘Atlantis of the East’. Dating back more than 600 years, stone architecture from the ancient Ming and Qing dynasties can be seen here, deep below Qiandao Lake in China’s Zhejiang province.
Since it was rediscovered in 2001, divers have flocked to explore this fascinating underwater city. Hidden some 40 metres beneath the lake’s shimmering surface, paying a visit is an eerie experience. Some 30,000 residents were relocated in the 1950s following the decision to flood Shicheng – aka the Lion City – in order to build the vast Xin’an Dam and create the huge hydroelectric station that these days provides power to the region.
Ironically, the waters have helped to preserve the ancient structures – making this one of the best places to revisit Imperial China’s remarkable past. See paved roads, intricate carvings and entire buildings up close – and be prepared to get goosebumps in the process.
Sydney’s 102-Year-Old Floating Forest
Sydney’s so-called ‘Floating Forest’ makes for a strange tourist attraction. Located in Homebush Bay, just outside the city’s bustling centre, this is a remnant from Australia’s past that has survived the area’s dramatic regeneration.
Lush green mangrove trees protrude from the great rusting hull of SS Ayrfield, brought here in 1972 to be dismantled, but still afloat in the peaceful waters of the scenic bay.
Built in the UK, this massive steel beast saw service in the Second World War, when it was used to transport supplies to US soldiers stationed in the Pacific. Having been decommissioned, it was brought to Homebush – like countless other vessels – to be stripped down and taken apart. Yet still it survives, claimed by nature and calling to the curious.