Haunting Images of the World’s Abandoned Sites

Shannon Quinn - April 15, 2022
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All over the world, there are abandoned places. There is something haunting about places that were once buzzing with life, but now they have gone completely silent. Brave urban explorers have gone to these places to take photographs of the abandoned locations, even though they may be dangerous or even haunted. Here at Home Addict, we’ve pulled together a list of some of the most stunning abandoned places on the planet.

Credit: Behind Closed Doors

20. Alienworks Power Plant in France

The Alienworks Power Plant in France originally dates back to the 1930’s. The plant still has five turbines that are still standing, but they have been covered with graffiti. These five turbines were most likely added at different times to improve the productivity of the plant. Long ago, the plant was part of a busy iron works. Today, most of the plant has been demolished or repurposed into something else. For example, the blast furnace is now used as a museum.

The abandoned City Methodist Church. Credit: Freaktography

19. City Methodist Church in Gary, Indiana 

The City Methodist Church in Gary, Indiana has been abandoned since 1975. During its heyday, it was the largest church in the Midwest, but it only serviced the community for 50 years. When it was first built in 1925, it took 21 months and cost $800,000. At one point, the church had over 3,000 people visiting their church every Sunday. But crime rates began to climb in the area, and many white people moved away from Gary, Indiana. By 1973 there were only 320 members of the church. The church could not sustain itself with those numbers, and it became abandoned in 1975. If you want to know more, check out Freaktography.

The abandoned Barber Paper Mill. Credit: Freaktography

18. Barber Paper Mill

The Barber Paper Mill in Georgetown, Ontario was built in 1854. It was the very first electric plant in North America. During its heyday, the mill was the biggest industry in Halton, Ontario. In 2008, the property was protected under the Ontario Heritage Act. They’re trying to redevelop the property into a hotel, commercial space, or condos. Rumor has it that John Barber, the original owner of the paper mill, still haunts the abandoned property today. Even though the town has plans to redevelop the property, it still remains neglected and vandalized by locals to this day.

The abandoned Laplace Castle in Poland. Credit: Global Entrepreneur

17. Lapalice Castle in Poland

There are few things as stunning as an abandoned castle. Lapalice Castle was originally built in 1979, so it’s relatively new. It was originally built as a studio for an artist named Piotr Kazimierczak. He built a swimming pool, ballroom, dozens of towers, and so much more. However, he unfortunately didn’t have the right permits to build the property, and he also ran out of money. So he had to abandon the castle in the middle of construction. Now, it’s simply the shell, and it’s crumbling. As you can see from the photos, explorers visit the castle, and there is graffiti all over the walls. Vegetation has overgrown on the bottom floor, and the forest is beginning to reclaim that land.

An abandoned airforce base. Credit: Atlas Obscura

16. Abandoned Airforce Base in Illinois

The Chanute Air Force Base in Illinois was in operation from 1917 to 1993. Over 75 years, it lived through two World Wars. During its heyday, it served as an Airforce technical training center. When it closed, it was the third-oldest active base in the country. Now, unfortunately, it stands abandoned and in ruin. The once lively location is now filled with crumbling asbestos and mold. The city plans to tear the building down. So if you happen to be in the area, don’t try to do any urban exploring any time soon. A photographer named Walter Arnold explored the property, and there is a full interview with him on Atlas Obscura, if you are interested to know more about this location.

This abandoned village in China has become a popular tourist attraction. Credit: CNN

15. China’s Ghost Village

The village of Houtouwan on Shengshan Island is off the coast of China, and has recently become a popular travel spot to explore, because it’s completely abandoned. Back in the 1980’s, the village had over 3,000 residents. Unfortunately, because of its remoteness, people started to move in the 1990’s. By 2002, there were so few people, they had to merge with a nearby village. Now, it has been sitting for 20 years. In 2015, photos of the village went online, and it went viral. Houtouwan has become a popular tourist destination because people want to see this overgrown and abandoned village. Now, the local government is ready to welcome tourists, and visitors can hike the village for $8 apiece.

Power Plant IM Was closed down when it was discovered that it was hurting the environment. Credit: Atlas Obscura

14. Power Plant IM

The Power Plant IM was originally built in 1921 in a town called Charleroi in Belgium. It was one of the largest coal burning plants in all of Belgium. By the 1970’s, it was responsible for creating nearly all of the power in the Charleroi area. However, their days were numbered. It turns out that Power Plant IM alone emitted 10% of the total CO2 emissions in all of Belgium. Greenpeace protested the plant in 2006, and it was closed in 2007. The plant is set to be demolished, but a lot of looters sneak in to see the abandoned power plant. Security guards are hired to look after the place, so it’s recommended to stay away.

An abandoned Russian rocket from the Soviet era. Credit: Popular Mechanics

13. Russian Rocket

Technically, the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan is still in use as a launch facility, but there are huge parts of it that are abandoned. One of the biggest secrets kept there is the Energia M Rocket, a Soviet space shuttle that was never used. It was discontinued in 1993, because other designs were already way ahead, and made the Energia M out of date. In reality, the Energia M was a “structural test article” of the rocket, so it couldn’t actually be used as a real thing without doing major modifications.

The Hellingly Hospital was once an insane asylum. Credit: Abandoned Creepy Places

12. Hellingly Hospital

Hellingly Hospital in East Sussex, England, was once an insane asylum. It was designed by an architect named G.T. Hine and built in the late Victorian era. At the time, doctors believed that isolating patients and giving them relaxing views would help aid in their recovery. So this building is quite isolated in the middle of the countryside. Both patients and staff used to live in this building. The capacity was originally 700 patients, but they packed in 1,250 people by 1955. Its overcrowded conditions led to people being put in beds in the hallway, and in general, people were not receiving the proper quality of care. 

In 1959, they passed the Mental Health Act, and it gave the patients more rights. By the mid 1980’s, the main campus slowly began to close and lose its patients. It was completely closed in 1994. Today, the building has suffered from vandalism, including an arsonist who tried to set the building on fire. The building is still standing to this day.

The remains of the Haludovo Palace Hotel. Credit: Kathmandu and Beyond

11. The Penthouse Hotel

After officially opening its doors in 1972, the Haludovo Palace Hotel and the Penthouse Adriatic Club Casino were opened on the Croatian Island of Krk. It was designed by an architect named Boris Magas. The casino was staffed with Penthouse Pet hostesses who were scantily dressed. Just one year later, the casino went bankrupt and had to close down. Even though the Penthouse idea flopped, it still continued to be a luxury hotel until the start of the Balkan Wars in 1991. During that time, it was a shelter for refugees. By 1995, the war was over, but many people were reluctant to leave. The owners managed to turn it into a hotel again for a few more years, until 2002 when it finally closed. Now, the building is abandoned, and its future is unknown. 

The Ta Prohm Temple is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Angkor. Credit: PH Hotels

10. Ta Prohm Temple

The Ta Prohm Temple in Angkor has just barely survived being completely smothered by the jungle. When you visit this temple, you feel as though you’re in the middle of an Indiana Jones movie. It brings you back to ancient times when Ta Prohm was a monastery. This dates all the way back to the 12th century. Back then, thousands of people used the grounds every single day. The temple is a 600 room structure with courtyards and galleries. In 1860, a French explorer named Henri Mouhot discovered the temple ruins, which is when people from around the world began to visit this place as a tourist attraction.

The Chateau Miranda before it was burned to the ground. Credit: Messy Nessy Chic

9. Chateau Miranda

The Chateau Miranda was once one of Belgium’s grandest castles.  But in 2017, the Count de Liedekerke-Beaufort set the castle on fire, and burned it all to the ground. A year before, the Count was interviewed in a magazine called Le Figaro and explained that he wanted to demolish the home because he wants his descendents to have peace from the burden of taking care of a crumbling chateau. Owning a castle seems glamorous, but the reality is that it’s a never-ending money pit. A castle like this would cost millions of dollars to restore, and even more to upkeep from generation to generation. Locals signed a petition to try to save the castle, and it received over 5,000 signatures. Obviously, that wasn’t enough to save it. Before the fire, though, urban explorers and photographers managed to get pictures of the abandoned castle.

This hospital was once used to treat wounded Nazi soldiers. Credit: Popular Mechanics

8. Nazi Hospital

The Beelitz-Heilstätten Hospital was built in 1898 as a sanatorium to treat people with lung diseases like tuberculosis. During World Was I, it was used as a military field hospital. Even Adolf Hitler himself was admitted to the hospital when he was wounded during WWI. As you can imagine, the hospital was used again for the Nazis during World War II. It remained a Soviet military hospital until 1994. Today, certain sections of the hospital complex are still used for neurological rehabilitation and research. But the vast majority of the facility is now abandoned. You might recognize The Beelitz-Heilstätten Hospital, because it was used as sets in the movies The Pianist and Valkyrie.

Nara Dreamland was a theme park that was abandoned for 10 years. Credit: Dezeen

7. Deserted Japanese Theme Park

Nara Dreamland in Japan was originally built in Nara Prefecture in 1961.  In the beginning, the founder actually worked together with Walt Disney to make this location into Nara Disneyland. When they couldn’t come to an agreement, it was renamed “Dreamland”. When it first opened, it was popular, and the owners believed that it could be truly succeed. Admission was free, and visitors had to pay for tickets to use the rides and attractions. Disney and Universal Studios both eventually opened up their own theme parks in Japan in Tokyo and Osaka.

Dreamland couldn’t shape up to the competition, so it closed in the summer of 2006. For ten years, the park remained in place with all of its attractions abandoned. It attracted explorers who went there to take photographs and perhaps remember better times from their childhood when the park was still open. Nara Dreamland was eventually demolished in 2016. If you want to know more about Nara Dreamland, check out the documentary by Defunctland on YouTube.

This abandoned mill in Sorrento, Italy, is a tourist attraction. Credit: Deserted Places

6. The Abandoned Mill in Sorrento, Italy

In Sorrento, Italy, there is a place called the ‘valley of the mills’. The name comes from the thick vegetation covering an old mill, which had been used to produce flour for the local area beginning in the year 900. Eventually, the mill had to be abandoned in 1866, because there was a rise in humidity from the sea. Today, the abandoned mill is considered to be a tourist attraction in Sorrento. Since this location is near Tuscany, there are plenty of tourists who will stop by this nearby town for a day to explore the ruins. Throughout Europe, there are plenty of abandoned mills just like this. Many of them are so covered in vegetation that you could never be able to find them amidst the greenery. 

Credit: Sometimes Interesting

5. Detroit School Book Repository 

Built in the early 1900’s, the Detroit School Book Repository was used as a post office before it was transformed to hold the city’s public school books, records, and supplies. In 1987, the building was set on fire, and it destroyed most of the contents inside. The owners left everything behind. In 1995, the property was purchased by Manuel Moroun, who made a fortune in the trucking and real estate industries. However, the building still remained abandoned. A permit to destroy the property was acquired in 2001, but it never happened. One of the most tragic stories linked to the Detroit School Repository is when a man named Johnnie Redding was trapped at the bottom of the flooded elevator shaft. The water froze, and he became stuck in the solid ice. His body was discovered by kids playing ice hockey on the frozen floor of the building.

In 2018, the building was purchased by the Ford Motor Company. They finally closed off access points to the building, to make sure homeless people and kids can no longer get inside. There is only one entrance to the building, but Ford is guarding the place, so we don’t recommend that any urban explorers tries to go inside. When searching online, we can’t tell if Ford is using the damaged facility as a factory, or if it still remains abandoned to this very day.

The creepy halls of the Eastern State Penitentiary. Credit: WHYY

4. Eastern State Penitentiary

One of the most famous haunted attractions in America is the Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It originally opened its doors as a prison in 1829. The prison was meant to reform, rather than to intimidate the prisoners. However, when Charles Dickens visited the prison in 1842, he wrote that tactics like solitary confinement was torturing the prisoners. There were multiple riots by the prisoners, and eventually, there were more prisoners than the system could handle. In 1970, the Eastern State Penitentiary closed its doors. Several suggestions were made on what to do with the building, like creating a criminal justice center, a shopping center, or apartments. However, none of those plans ever happened.

Once it closed, the building was dubbed a historic landmark, so it can never be demolished. Since its abandonment, the Eastern State Penitentiary is still full of life. It has been used for art installations, films, and even one wedding. Now, during Halloween, the building is used as a haunted house filled with actors whose job it is to scare the heck out of you.

Locals want to bring the Orpheum Theater back to life. Credit: Abandoned Spaces

3. Orpheum Theater

The Orpheum Theater opened its doors in New Bedford, Massachusetts, on April 15, 1912. If that date sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the same day that the Titanic sank. The building was designed by an architect named Louis Destremps, who made sure the theater included a large ballroom shooting range, office, meeting rooms, a gym, and shops. There were 1,500 seats in the theater. During its heyday, there were several performances on stage, but they also showed movies like Citizen Kane and King Kong. The theater was very profitable, and it brought a lot of joy and excitement to the town of New Bedford. At one time, it was the second-largest theater in the entire country, and it made the town proud.

Sadly, the joy the theater brought to the community wasn’t meant to last forever. By 1958, the theater was closed, and only opened periodically to host special events. In 1962, the building was officially sold to a tobacco company who used the beautiful theater as a storage warehouse for their products. Even then, the owner of the tobacco company didn’t like how the building was falling apart and in poor condition. So it went up for sale yet again. Today, the building is owned by a nonprofit organization called Orpheu, Rising Project Helpers who are trying to restore the theater back to its former glory.

A hallways of the abandoned Willard Asylum. Credit: Freaktography

2. The Willard Asylum

The Willard Asylum for the Chronic Insane in New York was originally built in the 1800’s. Many of the patients died in the hospital, and were buried on the property. Rather than their names, the graves are marked with their patient number. In 1970, a man named Geraldo Riveria wrote an expose about the hospital and exposed the poor conditions of the facility. This began the downfall of the hospital, and eventually led to its closure in 1995. One of the spookiest stories about the Willard Asylum is the suitcases. When the building closed in 1995, workers discovered hundreds of suitcases in the attic that belonged to patients who brought their belongings to the hospital over the years. Each suitcase is like a time capsule of the person’s life, and says so much about the people who once lived there.

The remains of a hotel in the middle of a rainforest. Credit: Culture Trip

1. Esqueleto Hotel

In 1953, the Gavea Tourist Hotel was built in the Gavea area of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Unfortunately, the construction was halted due to bankruptcy.  So only a skeleton of a hotel was left behind. Now, it sits abandoned among the plants of the Atlantic Forest. It has been empty for decades, and now people call it the “Esqueleto Hotel” which translates to the Skeleton Hotel. Since it’s deserted in the middle of a rainforest, street people and criminals began to use the hotel as a place to stay. It also attracts adventurous people looking to explore an abandoned structure.

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