1. Kolmanskop, Namib Desert, Southern Africa
Situated in the middle of the South African desert, it is fascinating to see an abandoned town made up of houses, schools, a hospital, and even a casino fashioned after the German architecture. Around the 1900s, German miners began settling in the area due to its abundance in diamonds. Most of the residents enjoyed great wealth and lived comfortably despite the harsh conditions of the desert. Some even kept lush gardens as supplies of fresh water were made available through the railway and then stored into large tanks. However in 1956, it was completely abandoned as the last of its residents decided to transfer to neighboring towns with much richer diamond deposits. Nowadays, the empty rooms which were once bustling with activity and decorated with such opulence are being reclaimed by the desert and are slowly being filled up with sand.
2. Hashima Island, Nagasaki, Japan
Hashima Island used to be one of the densest place in the world reaching more than 5,200 residents living in such a small area at a time. The island was a coal-mining facility, jam-packed with concrete residential building blocks and was even mistaken for a battleship from afar thanks to its impressive concrete sea walls. But Hashima had a bitter history of forced labor. It was said that thousands of Korean and Chinese prisoners were forced to mine coal in the island during the World War II. But several years later, as petroleum replaced coal in Japan, the facility was shut down and the residents were mandated to leave. Today, the island is completely deserted and only the debris of the enormous concrete buildings remain.
3. Kayakoy, Turkey
Greek Orthodox Christians and Anatolian Muslims lived harmoniously side by side in this once thriving town nestled beneath the Taurus Mountains. But nowadays, the houses where weddings and such other festivities were held sat empty and were gradually deteriorating; the fountains and reservoirs which provided the whole town with water were dried up; and the roofs which sheltered the residents caved in. The World War I, the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the Greco-Turkish War, and even a strong earthquake all factored in for the residents leaving the town for good. The ruins of this abandoned town continue to stand to this day as some sort of reminder that we can live in harmony amidst diversity.
4. Hirta, Scotland
Hirta is the main island of the Scottish archipelago of St. Kilda. The landscape of this lonely island is breathtaking, with barren high slopes only covered in grass and devoid of trees. Very little architecture is present due to its openness. Some of the islanders claimed to have never even seen a tree that is until they saw one in the mainland! Living in Hirta can be hard, what with the limited resources found in the island, its tempestuous and unpredictable weather, and its inaccessibility from the mainland. The seas are turbulent even during the summer so booking a boat to get to the island is quite an uncertainty. No wonder that on 1930, the last of the inhabitants petitioned to evacuate the island and be relocated in the Fiunary Forest, where there were plenty of trees as far as the eye could see.
5. Gouqi Island, China
Gouqi Island, which forms part of the Zhoushan Archipelago in China, is now gaining interest among the tourists. The town used to have a thriving fishing industry but because it was more economical for the fishermen to work and sell their catch in the mainland, the town was left behind in the early 1990s and was completely forgotten. However, nature seemed to have embraced the ghost town as vines and moss grew in the abandoned buildings, covering the architectural structures and creating such a marvelous and picturesque scene.
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