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North Korea

The Most Awesome Abandoned Places in the Whole World


After the biggest nuclear catastrophe the world has ever seen, the small city of Pripyat god a nickname ‘the ghost city’. Built in 1970 to serve as a home for Chernobyl nuclear plant workers, this city lived only 16 years. In 1986, the evacuation order was given and over 40,000 people left their homes, not knowing that they’ll never return.

The life of Pripyat ended abruptly, leaving reminders of vibrancy all over the city. Today, almost 30 years later, at first glance the city looks like an ordinary one. Schools, taxi stations, hospitals, even buildings with laundry drying on their balconies, don’t give away the creepiness of this place. But then, you start noticing silence. Spooky silence overwhelms you, so it’s no surprise why the first tourists that came here left after only 15 minutes.

Pripyat is still an abandoned area and will be for a long, long time (scientist estimate that the city will be safe for humans in about 400 years!). However, tourists do come here. Solo East Travel offers Chernobyl and Pripyat tours on a daily basis.

The Solo East Travel is the company that can safely get you there. Their headquarters are at the Office 105, #10, Proreznaya St. in Kiev. If there are more than 30 people in your touring group a big bus (up to 45 seats or more) will easily be arranged from Kiev.

Mirny Diamond Mine

Mirny is a small town, with less than 40,000 citizens, but is one of the most famous in Russia. It is a fairly remote town, surrounded with cold and wild Siberian forests. But, once upon a time, Mirny was the center of world’s diamond production.

During the 60′, Mirny was the biggest diamond mine in the world. Its peak years of operation saw the Mirny mine producing over 10 million carats of diamonds, a good percentage of them were gem quality. But then, it started to dry out. Finally, in 2011, the site was closed. The workers went away, leaving the 2-nd biggest hole on Earth behind.

An interesting fact is that the airspace above the mine is closed even today, a few years after the mine was abandoned. The reason for that are alleged incidents involving several helicopters falling in the abyss, after being dragged down due to air temperature differences and unexpected currents.

According to the BBC, the town is strictly off limits to people without a special permit and the authorities regard any foreigners with considerable suspicion.

Ryugyong Hotel

The Ryugyong Hotel is a 105-story pyramid-shaped skyscraper still under construction, in Pyongyang, North Korea. Its name (“capital of willows”) is also one of the historical names for Pyongyang. The building is also known as the 105 building, a reference to its number of floors. It is, by far, the tallest building in North Korea.

Started as an ambitious pet project of Korea’s leader Kim Il-sung in the 90’s the Ryugyong hotel somehow proved to be a disaster. The construction turned to waste and the unfinished building now stands in the middle of Korea’s capital, Pyongyang.

The opening of the hotel was scheduled several times but postponed. The Ryugyong Hotel has been the subject of derision by international media, who have referred to the hotel as “The Worst Building in the History of Mankind” and the “Hotel of Doom.”

In 2010, the first Western reporters came to this hotel and the 1st photos were taken. Hopefully, North Korea will soon open their borders to the rest of the world and perhaps, with the help of others will complete this hotel. Or who knows, maybe this hotel will stay like this to serve as a reminder of one period in their history.

Unfortunately, you probably won’t be able to visit the hotel, nor the country, as a matter of fact. The borders of North Korea are still closed for the Westerners.

Chateau Miranda

This is a favorite place of European ghost hunters. The mere design of the Chateau Miranda gives away a creepy aura and on the top of that, this house’s history is chilling as well. In its long history, this building served for many purposes, of which the most hair-raising was an orphanage.

The castle was built in 1866 by the English architect Milner under commission from the Liedekerke-Beaufort family, who had fled from their previous home, Veves Castle, during the French Revolution. Their descendants remained in the castle until the outbreak of the World War II, when it was taken over by the government and turned into an orphanage. Then in the 80es, the castle got abandoned and returned to the Liedekerke-Beaufort family. They had no ambitions of renewing it, nor selling the castle, so Chateau Miranda turned into a major inspiration for horror story writers.

Chateau Miranda is a castle near the town of Celles in the Belgium region of the Ardennes. The town itself is a tourist attraction and is a must-visit on your way to the castle. Speaking of that, you better hurry up as the government is planning to bring it down very soon.

City Hall Station, New York

When it was made, in 1902 it was intended to be a pride of New York, but in a half a century, The City Hall station got closed, leaving marvelous structure for no one to enjoy it. Nowadays, it serves as a turning station for only one metro line. However, people have realized that this station is a gem of architecture and now thousands of tourists visit it every day.

The people visiting the former ‘Manhattan Main Line’ are stunned by the unusual elegance of the station’s platform and mezzanine. The lights, colored glass tilework and brass chandeliers are a masterpiece of the 20th-century design.

You can get to this station if you enter the metro at the Civic Center in Manhattan, New York. The ‘6’ train used to make all passengers leave the train at the Brooklyn Bridge stop, but that’s no longer a case. If you have a little extra time, you can stay on the train and have a look at the City Hall Station as the train makes its turnaround.

Salto Hotel

In 1923, the building was constructed as a luxury mansion by and had quickly become a symbol of the joy and elegance of the upper-class citizens of Colombia.

This spooky building seems like it came straight from a horror story. It is placed on a cliff, just above a vast abyss. It looks almost like its designers thought that wasn’t spooky enough – they decided to build it in a dark, gothic style.

The abandoned hotel became a suicide Mecca in the past quarter of the century, which largely added to its reputation. The ghost stories were made up, which attracted curious visitors from all over the world. That prompted the government to turn it into something much less scary – a museum of biodiversity and culture.

The hotel is located just about 30 km southwest of Bogotá, the capital city of Colombia and is easily accessible by local buses.

Hashima Island

Hashima Island is often called Gunkanjima, which translates as ‘Battleship Island’. The name has nothing to do with war, but with the shape of the island. It is a relatively small Iceland (6.3-hectare), so it’s no wonder it was the town with the highest population density in the world in the 50es. The reason why people came here in the first place was to work in a coal mining facility.

But in 1974, the factory got broke and the citizens of Hashima packed their things and moved forward looking for a better life. They left behind massive concrete apartment buildings and a huge surrounding sea wall, which became a never ending inspiration for artists and travel enthusiasts. Even the creators of the latest James Bond film, found Hashima interesting and used it as an inspiration for the home of the main villain.

Hashima is a totally abandoned island in Japan, near the coast of the city Nagasaki. As of April 22, 2009, the island is open once again for public visits, with two operators, Yamasa-Kaiun (from Nagasaki Port) and Kyodo Co. (from Nomo Island) providing boat trips.

Sunken Yacht

Mar Sem Fim (“Endless Sea” in English) is a Brazilian yacht that was shipwrecked, sunk and subsequently got frozen in ice. The yacht belonged to the famed Brazilian journalist and entrepreneur João Lara Mesquita Mar Sem Fim went on its last journey in 2012 when four adventurists went off the Antarctic coast to film a documentary.

The translucent waters of the Antarctica are the reason why the Sunken Yacht became known over the globe. The ship looks really amazing, when observed from the surface as the clear waters of the Ardley Bay allow exactly that. It looks really astonishing and we can enjoy in it without any guilt as no one was killed nor injured when the boat sank.

The Sunken Yacht is located about 1,200 kilometers south of the tip of South America, in Maxwell Bay of Ardley Cove, Antarctica. The only way to get there is with an organized expedition.

Michigan Central Station

Nothing symbolizes Detroit’s grandiose rise and spectacular fall like the Michigan Central Station. No other building exemplifies just how much the automotive industry gave to the city of Detroit – and how much it took away.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the Motown was the place to go in search for jobs. People from all around the world were coming to Detroit and the city grew rapidly. That is why in 1913, a monumental train station was built. Its purpose wasn’t to be just a passenger rail depot, but a major landmark of the city. When it was constructed, the Michigan Central Station was the tallest train station in the world.

But over the years, something went wrong and the station was abandoned in 1988. Nowadays the Michigan Central Station is a synonym for sad, ruined buildings that had seen much better days. However, it has become a top spot for graffiti artists, who made an urban monument out of this abandoned building.

The Michigan Central Railroad depot rises above the southwest Detroit with the Ambassador Bridge in the back. The station is easily accessible by public transportation system in this part of the city. The exact location is 2405 West Vernor Highway, Detroit, Michigan.

The Maunsell Sea Forts

During the WWII, British army built small fortified towers along the Thames and Mersey estuaries in order to protect the United Kingdom from the Nazis. These forts were the first line of defense – the Royal Navy used them to deter and report German air raids. But after the war ended, the Maunsell Forts lost their purpose.

The winds and waves did nothing to the forts as they were built to endure much harder conditions. Today, these, over 70-years- old structures, are a symbol of defiance to invaders. Many famous artists get their inspiration from the Maunsell forts. For example, the band ‘Prodigy’ featured them in the video for their hit ‘Invadors Must Die’.