Towns and cities have been a symbol of development, growth, and prosperity of modern society. However, life in some of them is long gone; their streets are empty and hostile. There are no citizens there. Meet the selection of the most fascinating abandoned cities of the world.
Oradour-Sur-Glane (France) - A Silent Witness of WWII
The village, invaded by mistake on June 10th, 1944, witnessed unspeakable horrors, and its ruins still stand as a memorial to all those who died in the German army raze during World War II. The Germans originally intended to hit Oradour-sur-Vayres. Despite their mistake, every man in the village was shot unmercifully. Women and children that tried to escape from the local church where they were held shared the same destiny. Altogether, 642 residents were shot, the rest taken as prisoners — all this as a vendetta to the French Resistance.
Kowloon Walled City (China) - The City Unmolested by Authorities
Originally established as a watch-post to prevent pirate ships from entering the area, the city of Kowloon started to grow rapidly during British rule and in the recent years that followed. Both China and Britain refused to take patronage over the city, so the city with no rules arose outside Hong Kong. Its citizens built a labyrinth of corridors so high that the bottom levels had to be lit with artificial lights all day long. The city, full of brothels, opium dens, casinos, drug dealers, and illegal factories, was torn down in 1993 after both governments reached the conclusion that the situation was no longer bearable.
Kolmanskop (Namibia) - Destroyed by a Desert
Kolmanskop lies few kilometres away from the port of Lüderitz, hidden in sands of southern Namibia. In the beginning of 20th century, the Namib desert was rumoured to hold vast amounts of diamonds, drawing the attention of treasure hunters from all over the world to the region. The fully functioning town of Kolmanskop arose in two years. After the drop in diamond prices in the 1950s, diggers began to move out, leaving the town deserted. Nowadays, most of the buildings are buried under the sand, except the theatre, which hasn’t succumbed to the sands of the Namib desert.
Prypiat (Ukraine) - A Nuclear Disaster Victim
Abandoned in 1986, immediately after the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant disaster, this northern Ukrainian town was once home to 50,000 workers. The only things residents were allowed to take with them during the evacuation were items not contaminated by radiation. Everything else, including valuables, clothing, books, newspapers, furniture — even children’s toys — had to be left behind. The buildings are not maintained, and the town is in desolate condition. The city is accessible only for a couple of hours and under very strict conditions. Visitors have to wear anti-radiation protective clothing and decontaminate afterwards. Despite the high danger of radiation, many of the buildings were looted over the years.
Craco (Italy) - A Medieval Jewel
The population of the town slowly began to deteriorate with the mass migration to North America in 1922. Earthquakes and landslides didn’t help to maintain the rest of the population of this medieval town, located on the border of the Matera and Basilicata regions, at the instep of the “boot” of Italy. Finally, the last 1,800 inhabitants were transferred to a neighbouring valley in 1963, escaping an increased number of earthquakes in the region. If you want to visit Craco and its medieval houses, you might want to hurry up, because it may collapse completely with the next landslide!