Weird Ghost Towns and Deserted Villages
An abandoned city, town or villages is called “Ghost Towns”. There are many reasons why a city or town was abandoned or deserted. When I was younger, I thought a deserted town maybe named a ghost town, the town is manifested by ghosts. The town or city was abandoned maybe because of declined economic activities that failed due to natural or human-made calamities like floods, earthquakes, volcano eruption, war or nuclear disasters, plague or famine, climate change and environmental destruction. There are ghost towns with remaining residents but unpopulated. Some ghost towns today turned into tourists destination and attractions.Here are some ghost towns and would like to share with you.
1) Kolmanskop Ghost Town, Namibia
In the Namibia desert in southern Namibia is once a diamond mining town, found and occupied by German miners. But after the World War l, the diamond mining was bankrupt and was abandoned in 1954 and now famously called as the Kolmanskop Ghost Town in Namibia.
Elizabeth Bay Ghost town, Namibia
Elizabeth Bay was a former mining town in Namibia which was first discovered in 1908, and in 1989 the government of Namibia spent $53 million for exploring a new mining diamond site. But the mine stopped operating in 1998 due to declined economy. Today Elizabeth Bay is a tourist destination and famous for Cape Fur Seals or Brown Fur seal.
2) Bakerville Ghost Town, British Columbia
Barkerville in British Columbia, Canada became a ghost town, was the main town of the Cariboo Gold Rush and is preserved as a historic town. Barkerville, once the largest city north of San Francisco and west of Chicago, was situated on the western edge of the Cariboo Mountains. In 1958, Barkerville became a park, but has never been a ghost town as people were living in Barkerville, however it became a ghost town, when the Great Depression caused widespread unemployment, and the price of gold went down. But soon the depression turned for the better, Barkerville fell back into an abandoned state.
3) Bodie Ghost Town, California
Bodie is an original mining town from the late 1800’s, and what’s left today stands in a state of “arrested decay” and is maintained by the California State Parks System, who took over the town in 1962 to make it a State Historic Park. Bodie is the best preserved ghost town in California. Perhaps the country! Bodie was once a thriving gold mining town with 10,000 residents in 1879.
5) Ghost Towns in Japan
In March this year explosions ripped the roofs and walls off three reactors in Fukushima, Japan, damaging their cooling systems and caused them to overheat. It is now six months after the devastating earthquake and tsunami, but the Fukushima plant is still leaking low-level radiation and authorities say it could be 20 years before residents are able to return to their homes and property, thus the government ordered forced evacuation over 80,000 residents of Fukushima. According to some reports, the Fukushima disaster was even worst nuclear incident than the 1986’s Chernobyl disaster.
Hashima Island or correctly Hashima, as -shima is Japanese for island, commonly called Gunkanjima meaning Battleship Island, is one among 505 uninhabited islands in the Nagasaki Prefecture about 15 kilometers from Nagasaki City. In 1974, the Mitsubishi announced the closing of the coal mine officially, and was left empty and abandoned and became a ghost town or ghost island. After 35 years of closure, Hashima Island was re-opened for tourists as a travel destination.
6) China Ghost Town
Kangbashi is a district of the Ordos, Inner Mongolia located in Northern China. In November 2009, the AlJazeera world news reported the Kangbashi picked up and expanded for having few residents but massive amounts of “empty residential housing” with high tech projects from public works, through Time Magazine article in April 2010. Kangbashi claims there are around 20, 000 to 30,000 residents occupants.
Dhanushkodi is a small beach town located on the southern tip of holy town Rameshwaram. This hamlet is reached at a distance of 15 km from Rameshwaram. It was once served as wonderful tourist spot and famous temple town but the entire town was washed away on 1964 by severe cyclone. It is declared as ghost town by Government of India. There are very few fishermen lives here with their family.
Numerous cities in India have become ghost towns due to various factors. The medieval town of Milakpur Kohi near Sultan Ghari in Delhi, is one of the oldest ghost towns in northern India. The medieval Mughal Empire towns of Fatehpur Sikri and Bhangarh in northern India and the medieval Vijaynagar Empire town of southern India’s Vijaynagar, are some of the most prominent historical ghost towns in India.
Bhangarh is a historical town and one of the most prominent places in India, located between Alwar and Jaipur, Rajasthan, which is famous, rather infamous for its paranormal activities. As per the history of the place goes, it was established by Madho Singh, the younger sibling of Akbar’s general Man Singh. The haunted town gives an impression that it was deserted overnight in a hurry. Not a single form of life is found in this deserted town now except for the wild vegetation. People believe that it is cursed and nobody has the guts to stay there after sunset. One who dares to stay overnight is found dead, the following morning. Even the archeological department of India did not dare to open an office in this historical town. So, the question remains a mystery as to what happens there during the wee hours of night.
9) Kampung Kepayang Ghost Town, Malaysia
Kampung Kepayang in Perak state, is almost uninhabited, with only 2 or 3 shop houses being in use. This is a result of the widening of the main road, thus making it difficult to park a vehicle, and result in loss of business of the shops. However, there are still Malay residents residing in the village houses behind the shop houses, and the addresses in Simpang Pulai are still written as “Kampung Kepayang.”
10) Sap Bani Khamis Ghost Town, Oman
Sap Bani Khamis, an abandoned village halfway up a canyon was, is accessible by only a narrow path.
Al Jumail Ghost Village Qatar
Al Arish is an old fishing village on the Northern coast of Qatar in the Middle East. Situated on the Persian Gulf, it was abandoned in the early 1970s and has since become a ghost town.
Al Ula Ghost Town, Saudia Arabia
The old village of Al Ula and Al Ula Castle, or known as Al-Deera, is now all but a ghost town. It consists of a walled village of about 800 dwellings around the perimeter of the more ancient castle with narrow winding alleys, many of which covered to shield the people from the heat of the sun. Most of the foundations of the buildings are stone, but the upper floors are made from mud bricks, while palm leaves and wood are used for the ceilings.
11) Neo Tiew Abandoned HDB Flats, Singapore
The Neo Tiew Estate (or Lim Chu Kang Rural Centre) was built in 1979, but was vacated in 2002 under the Selective En Bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS) in 2002 nad left it as ghost HDB building. Residents were moved to Blocks 268A-268C Boon Lay Drive in Jurong West. The estate is now being used as SAF’s training facility similar to Murai Urban Training Facility.
12) Quneitra Ghost Town, Syria
Quneitra also Al Qunaytirah, Qunaitira, or Kuneitra is a town in Syria are in ruins and a few serve as tourist attractions. In addition, the Quneitra in Syria city has become a ghost town after the 1967 Six Day War and subsequent Yom Kippur war in 1973. As of today, the Quneitra city remains destroyed and now a ghost town. Syria has left the ruins in place and built a museum to memorialize the destruction. It maintains billboards at the ruins of many buildings and effectively preserves it in the condition that the Israeli army left it in.
13) Ghost Towns in Turkey
Kayaköy is a village 8 km south of Fethiye in southwestern Turkey where Anatolian Greek speaking Christians lived until approximately 1923. The ghost town, now preserved as a museum village, consists of hundreds of rundown but still mostly intact Greek-style houses and churches which cover a small mountainside and serve as a stopping place for tourists visiting Fethiye and nearby Oludeniz.
Çökene town in Buyukorhan district was a village until 2008. It is a site of empty houses after immigration to big cities due to money shortage and unemployment, and became a ghost town.
The Sazak town near Karaburun, a district of Izmir Province on the Aegean (western) coast of Turkey, was also inhabited by Greeks, which left the area according to the population exchange treaty, that makes Sazak is a total ghost town.
14) Ghost Towns in Europe
The original village of Oradour-sur-Glane was destroyed on June 10, 1944, when 642 of its inhabitants, including women and children, were massacred by a German Waffen-SS company. A new village was built after the war on a nearby site but on the orders of the then French president, Charles De Gaulle, the original has been maintained as a permanent memorial.
In Europe, many villages were abandoned and became ghost towns over the ages for many different reasons. Sometimes, wars and genocide end a town’s life, and it is never resettled. This happened to the Swedish town Sjöstad,Narke in 1260, when the town’s 700 merchants crossed the ice of Lake Vattern and were cut down by the Danes. The Danes then proceeded to the town, ravaging and burning it, and the town was never resettled. In a farm town named Skyrstad, ruins and a silver treasure which yielded 4000 coins are all that testify to its existence. The same happened in the French village in 1944, the Oradour-sur-Glane, when occupying German Waffen-SS troops murdered the village’s population. Industrialization is another factor. for example, the village of Etzweiler in northwestern Germany was abandoned in the 1990s to make way for a coal mine. While Etzweiler disappeared in 2006, neighbouring Pesch and Holz have become near-deserted ghost towns. All that is left of Otzenrath are the remains of the village’s church, where archeologists excavate remains of sacred buildings from medieval and potentially Roman times.
15) Azerbaijan Ghost Town
Ağdam (also, Agdam and Aghdam) is a ghost town in the southwestern part of Azerbaijan and the capital of its Agdam Rayon. In July 1993, after heavy fighting, Agdam was captured by the forces of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic, during its 1993 summer offensives, and as the town fell, its entire population were forced to evacuate and flee eastwards. Many were killed by Armenian forces, and soldiers decided to destroy much of Agdam to prevent its recapture by Azerbaijan. More damages occurred in the following decades when the deserted town was looted for building materials. Agdam is currently a ruinous, uninhabited ghost town, and only the large mosque was left intact but in abandoned condition.
16)Ilha dos Tigres Ghost Town, Angola, Africa
Ilha dos Tigres (“Island of the Tigers”) became deserted when it was cut off from the mainland by the rising sea level, which lies in a zone which is ideally suited for ecological projects.The island was mentioned in the BBC documentary “Unknown Africa: Angola”.
Cote d’Ivoire Grand Bassam Ghost Town
Grand Bassam was the French Colonial capital of Côte d’Ivoire until 1896, when it was abandoned by the French Colonial Government. Commercial activity gradually weakened until the city became a virtual ghost town in 1960, the same year Côte d’Ivoire became independent. Today the city has revived somewhat as a tourist center, but it still has the aura of a ghost town.
Dallol Ghost Town, Ethiopia
Dallol is a former mining town in Ethiopia, located in the Dallol crater, where the temperature can rise as high as 104° Fahrenheit (40 °C). Dallol is now a ghost island.
Chinguetti Ghost Town, Mauritania
Chinguetti ghost town, is a ksar or medieval trading centre in northern Mauritania, lying on the Adrar Plateau east of Atar. Though not completely abandoned, Chinguetti could be considered a ghost town. The city is seriously threatened by the encroaching desert; high sand dunes mark the western boundary and several houses have been abandoned to the encroaching sand.
17) Ghost Towns in Brazil
Fordlandia was established in 1928 by American industrialist Henry Ford, near Santarem. This was done to mass-produce natural rubber. Built in inadequate terrain, designed with no knowledge of tropical agriculture, and managed with little regard for local culture, but the enterprise failed, thus, in 1934, the Ford factory was relocated to Belterra , but ultimately closed down in 1945. The project was a total failure, in spite of the residents invitations and periodic promises, Henry Ford never visited the “ill fate jungle city” and became a ghost town.
Itacarambi, Caraibas Village (ghost Village)
The small village of Caraíbas, in the municipality of Itacarambi, suffered a rare earthquake in the early morning of December 9, 2007. It measured 4.9 on the Richter scale, located over a geological fault, the village of 76 families was evacuated and has been abandoned ever since, and became a ghost village.
18) Ghost Town in Chile
The Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works ghost towns in the middle of the Atacama Desert were declared in 2005 as the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The Sewell copper mining camp, high up in the Andes of Central Chile, was named in 2006 as UNESCO World Heritage Site. Despite protection laws, this ghost town suffers “tourist looting”.
Chaitén Ghost Town
Chaitén is a town in Chile, a community and former capital of the Palena Province in Los Lagos Region. The town is located north of the mouth of Yelcho River, on the east coast of the Gulf of Corcovado. The town is strategically located close to the northern end of the Carretera Austral where the highway goes inland. In May 2008 when the Chaiten volcano erupted for the first time in more than 9,000 years, the small city of Chaiten in southern Chile that was heavily damaged by a volcanic eruption, and was abandoned totally by the residents.
Port Famine, Chile
Puerto Hambre, originally Ciudad del Rey Don Felipe, also known as Puerto del Hambre and at one time as Port Famine, is the oldest ghost town, is a historic settlement site at Buena Bay (locally known as Mansa Bay) on the west side of the Strait of Magellan approximately 58 km south of Punta Arenas ,Patagonia, Chile in the Region of Magallanes y la Antartica Chilena.Starvation and the cold climate killed all of the inhabitants. The English navigator Sir Thomas Cavendish landed at the site in 1587, but he found only ruins of the settlement, and renamed the place “Port Famine.”
19) Ghost Town in Colombia
Bojayá is a town in Choco Department, Colombia, where the Bojaya massacre occurred in May 2, 2002 when the FARC attacked Bojaya town killing estimated 140 people including 4o children. Many ghost towns in this country are the result of ongoing violence by guerrilla groups such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Most of the inhabitants hid in the church; FARC members threw a bomb into the building, killing approximately 140 people, including 40 children. Today, Bojayá is a ghost town and though plans have been made to rebuild it, it will not be on the exact location of the massacre.
Armero Ghost Town
The Armero ghost town, left in ruins by a volcanic eruption in 1985 that killing over 20,000 inhabitants. Survivors of the tragedy left for other towns, and Armero is currently unpopulated.
Jonestown Massacre, Guyana
Jonestown was the informal name for the Peoples Temple Agricultural Project, an intentional community in northwestern Guyana formed by the People’s Temple led by Jim Jones. In November 18, 1978, Jonestown became internationally notorious when 918 people died in the settlement as well as in a nearby airstrip and in Guyana’s capital, Georgetown. The name of the settlement became synonymous with the incidents at those locations. A total of 909 Temple members died in Jonestown, all but two from apparent cyanide poisoning, in an event termed “revolutionary suicide” by Jones and some members on an audio tape of the event and in prior discussions. This includes over 200 murdered children. The poisonings in Jonestown followed the murder of five others by Temple members at a nearby the Port Kaituma airstrip. The victims included United States Congressman Leo Ryan and four other Temple members died in Georgetown at the command of Jim Jones.
Ghost Towns in Mexico
The Ojuela ghost town was a former mining town near Durango, was abandoned when the area’s ore supply was exhausted.
Real de Catorce Village
The Real de Catorce ghost town was once a flourishing silver mining town in northern Mexico. Its dramatic landscapes and buildings have been used by Hollywood for movies such as 2001 The Mexican with Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts. Recent efforts to adapt the town to tourism have created a mixture of ghost town and heritage tourist site adapted to visitors in search of interesting history in the country.
20) Ghost Towns
Lost Cove ghost town in Yancey County, North Carolina. Located on the gorge above the Nolichucky River on the Tennessee and North Carolina border, a boundary dispute and its isolation reportedly made it attractive to moonshiners in the 19th century. It was settled shortly before the Civil War and the last family left in 1958.
St. Elmo Ghost Town, Colorado
St. Elmo ghost town in Chaffee County, Colorado, United States, was founded in 1880, St. Elmo lies in the heart of the Sawatch Range, 20 miles southwest of Buena Vista. Almost 2,000 people settled in this town when mining for silver and gold became popular. The St. Elmo Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and one of Colorado’s preserved ghost towns.
Calico Ghost Town, California
Medicine Mound Ghost Town, Texas
Medicine Mound ghost town in southeastern Hardeman County in West Texas. It consists of two buildings, the former general store Hicks-Cobb and the W.W. Cole Building, a combination bank, drugstore, post office and the gasoline station,with still standing rusty pumps.
Centralia Ghost Town Pennsylvania
Centralia is a borough and ghost town in Columbia County, Pennsylvania in the United States. The Centralia’s population has dwindled from over 1,000 residents in 1981 to 12 in 2005, 9 in 2007, and 10 in 2010, as a result of amine fire burning beneath the borough since 1962. Centralia is one of the least-populated municipalities in Pennsylvania.