There is a certain kind of beauty in forgotten places—the kind that invites our imagination to wander and leaves us awestruck with its endlessly fascinating history. Close your eyes and imagine the decay of gilt paint and pastel wallpaper curling in on itself in an abandoned mansion, a deserted roller-coaster or carousel erect in the wilderness, entire ghost towns left eerily in-tact, a glass still on the dining room table though no one has actually sat there in decades… These places that were once sites of community, opulence, or joy only exist in fragments. They remind us that things fall apart in the ordinary instant when disaster strikes and that even the sweetest things will rot when not lovingly tended to.
To get a glimpse inside these forgotten places with unforgettable histories, we're highlighting 13 abandoned places around the world that are chillingly beautiful, even in neglect (or perhaps even by neglect). From defunct hospitals and train stations, empty vacation homes in the middle of the sea, deserted resorts and hotels, and even floating amusement parks, these 13 abandoned places around the world will blow your mind. Seriously, not even a gothic novel of epic proportions could make this stuff up. In fact, they're better since they actually exist in real life. So without further ado, step inside the wreckage of what used to magnificence incarnate.
Grossinger's Resort in the Catskills
Grossinger's was an upscale resort in the Catskill Mountains in upstate New York back in the day, dating all the way back to the early 1900s. Rumor has it that this is the summer resort that inspired Dirty Dancing. As you can see above, it's now in disrepair. It was one of the Borscht Belt hotels and shut down along with many other landmarks in the town of Liberty. It's in foreclosure now and has been abandoned since the '80s.
Abandoned In: 1986
Abandoned Structure in Kolmanskop, Namibia
This sand-filled room in the ghost town of Kolmanskop in the Namibian desert. It was once a bustling town, thanks to the diamond boom. Though not necessarily beautiful in the classic sense of the word, the bones of the town are pretty breathtaking, with the soft billowing sand dunes that stretch out around the town and inside the chipped pastel buildings. The town was deserted when the resources began to deplete.
Abandoned In: 1930s
Six Flags Jazzland in New Orleans
The Six Flags theme park in New Orleans, Jazz World, had to be closed when it was struck by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. It was only open for five years because it suffered colossal flooding in the aftermath of the hurricane. Today, the theme parks attractions, like the Mardi Gras Madness roller coaster and the Gator Bait ride in Cajun Country, look like something out of a Stephen King novel.
Abandoned In: August 21, 2005
Eilean Donan Castle in the Highlands of Scotland
This 13th-century castle on a small tidal island in the Highlands of Scotland isn't completely abandoned like some of the other places on this list, but it definitely still boasts that unique, otherworldly aura. Surrounded by breathtaking valleys and green hills, the ruins of the castle make this landscape even more stunning.
Abandoned In: Eilean Donan castle in northeast Scotland
Abandoned Home in Florida
These cool dome-like vacation homes in Cape Romano Florida were destroyed by a series of two hurricanes, which also destroyed a lot more on the island. Slowly, once the fishbowl-esque homes were abandoned, they started drifting away from the tip of Marcos Island and into the Gulf of Mexico. For a while, there were rumors that this little cluster of buildings was home to a satanic cult (though that's almost definitely not true). You can see how stunning they looked like back in the day here.
Abandoned In: 1990s
Bays of Abandoned Hotels in Kupari, Croatia
This old building in Kupari, Croatia, used to be in a luxe hotel in a Yugoslavian military resort. As you can see, the windows used to look out onto sweeping views of the Adriatic Sea. Though Hotel Goricina is just a shell now, it still boasts a distinct beauty, thanks to the locale's seaside views and the gorgeous blooms distinct to the locale. There's such a large string of abandoned hotels in this area that were casualties in the Croatian War for Independence that it's dubbed the "Bay of Abandoned Hotels."
Abandoned In: 1992
Kennecott Mining Camp in Alaska
The Kennecott mining camp and the town of Kennecott, Alaska, itself have been completely abandoned, but it used to be a bustling place during the mine's peak. Built in 1911, it was a lucrative copper mine (it was even rumored to have the richest concentration of copper in the world during the time). By the late 1930s, it was almost completely deserted when the ores were tapped out, save a three-person family that was keeping watch over the mining camp.
Abandoned In: 1930s
Canfranc Railway Station in Huesca, Spain
The Canfranc railway station was an international stop that opened in 1928 in Huesca, Spain, though part of the building was considered to be in French territory. It was known as the "Titanic of the Mountains" since it was the second-largest railway station at the time. It was closed in 1970 when a train derailed as a result of a bridge collapsing on the French side of the border. They decided not to rebuild it, and thus, closed down the station. The surrounding village's population plummeted as a result, too.
Abandoned In: 1970
The Town of Pripyat in Ukraine
You've likely heard of Chernobyl, which was a catastrophic nuclear explosion in the Soviet Union (now Ukraine). The nearby town of Pripyat, which housed about 49,000 families and workers of the nuclear plant, had to be evacuated within two days of the explosion. They thought they'd be returning within a few days, but after they evacuated, they learned that the town was declared unsafe for the next 24,000 years.
Abandoned On: April 27, 1986
Abandoned Hospital Complex in Beelitz, Germany
Built in the late 1800s in Beelitz Heilstaetten, Germany, this abandoned hospital was once a sprawling complex that lived many different lives. It functioned as a military hospital during WWI and again in 1995, though it was occupied by Soviet forces. Once they withdrew, many of the wings fell into disrepair.
Abandoned In: 1995
Victoria Baths in Manchester, England
The Victoria Baths in Manchester, England, opened to the public in 1906. Though they were publically funded, the baths were actually quite luxe, with a steam room, Turkish baths, and private bathing areas in addition to the larger lap pools. The whimsical tiles that line every room in the building are still pretty much intact, and the building re-opens to the public for occasional movie showings and private events.
Abandoned In: 1996
Castello Doria in Portovenere, Italy
These bones of an old building in Portovenere, Italy, are truly stunning. Looking out onto the sea and surrounded by centuries-old olive trees, you'll want to explore these cliffside ruins all afternoon, imagining what it must have been like when it was still a usable space. This particular lookout is from Castello Doria, which was once a magnificent castle and the oldest surviving fortification in Cinque Terre.
Abandoned In: Unknown
Houtouwan Village in Shengshan Island
Houtouwan is an abandoned fishing village in Shengshan Island. Abandoned in the early 1900s, it used to be a thriving community. There are still about four families living there, but otherwise, it's been totally deserted, which is why the lush greenery is overtaking the hillside homes and shops.
Abandoned In: 1900s