In every touristy destination there are certain locations and attractions that you simply must see, but many times magic resides elsewhere. There have been numerous documentaries on those places that remain from past times, scarred by battles, left to the elements and disuse and almost forgotten. It is precisely these abandoned constructions, amusement parks and even entire cities which dress the horizon with a touch of beauty and old age. Some may be a bit difficult to reach and may require a certain skill to do so, but they are most certainly worth the trouble.
St. Nicholas Church, Macedonia
St. Nicholas Church was built in the mid-1800s and has a fascinating singularity: it was left half submerged in lake Mavrovo after the building of a dam. Since there were only few occasions in which it was completely uncovered, another church had to be built in the town to replace it.
Hotel del Salto, Colombia
This hotel, located in the vicinity of the Tequendama Falls, was built in 1924, but closed its doors around 1990. There are different theories as to why it was closed, although many affirm that it was haunted. Nevertheless, this spot continues to provide a wonderful view of the waterfalls.
Car graveyard, Belgium
Chatillon was selected by a group of soldiers from one of the U.S. military bases in Europe as the dumpster for around 500 cars they used during the military effort. After WWII was over, the soldiers returned to their homes but couldn’t take their vehicles, and thus left them among the weeds in Belgium.
This mining city was built in 1908 by Germans who intended to establish themselves there and carry out an intense exploration in the search of diamonds. After WWI, the gem grew scarce in the area and the people living in Kolmanskop abandoned the location, leaving behind a ghost town that was slowly covered by sand.
SS Ayrfield, Australia
On Homebush Bay, west of Sydney, lies this abandoned ship that belonged to the UK in 1911 and was active until 1972, when it became part of this sea graveyard. Since then, it can be seen only metres away from the coast with a very particular feature: it has become a floating forest.
Wonderland Amusement Park, China
This amusement park located near Beijing promised to be the greatest in all Asia. However, it had to be abandoned in 1988 due to real estate problems. There was an attempt to resume construction ten years later, though, again, there was no agreement and today it is merely part of the landscape.
Methodist Church in Gary, United States
This church, located in Gary, Indiana, was abandoned in 1975 after the steel crisis hit the area. Since then, it has been one of the favourite scenarios of Hollywood films such as Transformers 3, low budget films and even gothic weddings.
Bobsleigh track, Sarajevo
The Winter Olympic Games of 1984 were carried out in what we now know as Bosnia-Herzegovina, but was then called Yugoslavia. There are still traces of this event and one of the most fascinating is the bobsleigh track, surrounded by trees, moss and weeds.
Michigan Central Station, United States
With its 70 metre tall ceilings, this building was recognised as one of the highest train stations in the world at the time of its construction in 1913. After a significant reduction in the amount of passengers who made use of it, the property was sold and in 1988 it saw its last train depart.
Lawndale Theatre, Chicago
This American theatre opened in 1927 and was destined mainly to be the local cinema. In time, this 2000 seat building also served as the stage for burlesque plays. In its last years it had started to feature films again and changed its name. It was finally closed in 1963.
Communist Party Headquarters, Bulgaria
After seven years of construction work, Todor Zhivkov, the country’s communist leader, presented this monument as a commemoration of the 90th anniversary of the Buzludzha Congress. Its walls were covered in marble and glass which, after the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989, became the target of thieves and scavengers.
Bokor Hill Station, Cambodia
Abandoned in Bokor National Park, this town was built by the French in 1925 and was intended as a centre for tourism. Nevertheless, it was abandoned for the first time during the 1940’s, and afterwards populated again by the Cambodian high class. The Khmer Rouge invasion during the Vietnam War lead to its final abandonment.
Hafodunos Hall, Wales
This gothic style house located in Llangernyw was built between 1861 and 1866. This astounding building, brilliantly designed, went through several stages: first it was the home of the Sandbach family, then it was a school and later, until 1993, a nursing home. It fell victim to a devastating fire, and was finally abandoned.
North Brother Island, New York
This small island is located more precisely between the Bronx and Rikers Island. Towards 1850, it housed Riverside Hospital, which treated patients with highly contagious diseases. After WWII, it sheltered veterans and it became a rehabilitation centre in the 1950s. Later it was turned into a bird sanctuary.
Christ of the Abyss, Italy
This bronze statue of Christ is found in the depth of San Fruttuoso bay, Italy, since 1954. The idea for the statue was provided by Duilio Marcante and it was sculpted by Guido Galletti. It was installed 17 metres deep and is one of the scuba divers’ favourite attractions.
Old Mill in Sorrento, Italy
One of the areas of Sorrento, Valley of the Mills, owes its name to this abandoned mill. It was constructed during the 10th century and by the end of the 19th century it was abandoned. It can still be perfectly seen from a surrounding cliff which allows to appreciate the vegetation growing on it.
International Station of Canfranc, Spain
Constructed with the purpose of joining Spain and France, and providing international travels, this station fell victim to fires, the Civil War and WWII. In 1970 it was definitely closed after the destruction of L’Estanguet bridge. Nowadays, only middle distance trains operate in a small portion of the station.
Opened in 1914, this store was the first and only branch office of the English store in Buenos Aires. Harrods managed to remain in the country for 84 years, until the economical fluctuations turned against it and it had to shut its doors. Currently, this fancy building is used sporadically as an art gallery.
Also known as Kulturpark Plänterwald, this amusement park, located on a bank of river Spree, opened its gates in 1969, being the only permanent attraction of its sort in East Germany. It outlasted the German Democratic Republic and kept operating even after the fall of the Wall in 1990. Its owners acquired new attractions, but the costs were such that they had to close it for good in 2002.
City Hall Underground Station, New York
This elegant underground station was opened in 1904 and intended to be the last in the “Manhattan Main Line”. With blue Guastavino tiles and matching vitraux, it was active only until 1945 due to the increase in passenger flow that required larger trains, which didn’t fit through the well known City Hall Loop.