Macassar Beach Pavillion South Africa (Abandoned Places – Richard Happer)
Blog Words : Weird@Wanderlust | 16 October

12 abandoned places worth seeking out

Eerily beautiful places around the world that have been abandoned by humans – and they're all the better for it

Ani, Turkey (Abandoned Places – Richard Happer)

1. Ani, Turkey

A millennium ago this was the capital city of an empire that stretched for hundreds of kilometres across Eurasia. It survived violent centuries of clashing kings, only to be forgotten when those empires themselves faded. Now it lives on in ruins, far from the tourist attractions of Turkey, a gilded shadow of its former power and glory.

Kayak, Turkey (Abandoned Places – Richard Happer)  

2. Kayaköy, Turkey

Caught on the wrong side of a shifting border disputed by Turkey and Greece, the population of kayaköy was evicted wholesale and against their wishes in an act of ethnic cleansing.

Booker Hill Station, Cambodia (Abandoned Places – Richard Happer)  

3. Bokor Hill Station, Cambodia

Lost in the mountain mists is a hilltop refuge of Indochina’s colonial overlords. Its ruined casino, ballroom and apartments offer a glimpse back in time to a very different era of South-East Asia’s history.

 Chinguetti Mauritania (Abandoned Places – Richard Happer)

4. Chinguetti, Mauritania

Facing down the Saharan sands is a medieval trading town with a fascinating secret. Hidden among its deserted mud-brick huts is a once-great ancient realm of scholarship and wisdom.

 Can franc Station (Abandoned Places – Richard Happer)

5. Canfranc Station, France /Spain

Perched high in the Pyrenees is a miracle of glass and metal – the largest railway station in the world. Alas, this magnificent dream of international exchange was undone by a simple accident and political stagnation.

Buzluszha Monument Bulgaria (Abandoned Places – Richard Happer)  

6. Buzluszha Monument, Bulgaria

It was once a gathering place for influential communist figures, an ambitious symbol of nationalism and revolution that stood sentinel above the slopes where thousands of Bulgarians died for their country’s freedom. Now its creed and concrete are alike in ruins and the monument has become an unlikely tourist hotspot.

 Epecuén, Argentina (Abandoned Places – Richard Happer)

7. Epecuén, Argentina

It was a lakeside holiday town blessed with warm summers and an idyllic setting, until a catastrophic flood wiped it from the map. Then, after a quarter of a century spent slumbering in the depths, a dry spell saw its abandoned ruins revealed.

 Young Pioneers Camp Russia (Abandoned Places – Richard Happer)

8. Young Pioneer Camp, Russia

This bizarre camp in the Russian woods was designed to entertain, house and indoctrinate children in the ideals of communist life. It was one of thousands of such institutions that now stand abandoned – yet surely not forgotten by the youngsters who went there.

Juragua Cuba

9. Juragua, Cuba

Poking above the Cuban treetops are the concrete stumps of an atomic dream. From here was to flow limitless power to fuel the model communist society. Now it will never be finished, as the island leaves its Soviet era further and further behind.

 Rosario Island Villas Colombia (Abandoned Places – Richard Happer)

10. Rosario Island Villas, Colombia

It was the island holiday home of one of the richest men on the planet – who also happened to be a most notorious criminal. From here Pablo Escobar controlled a smuggling empire that shipped hundreds of tonnes of cocaine, murdered thousands of people and earned him uncountable billions of dollars.

 Macassar Beach Pavillion South Africa (Abandoned Places – Richard Happer)

11. Macassar Beach Pavilion, South Africa

Only sand whips down these waterslides now – the swimming pool itself hasn’t seen a drop in years. Welcome to the beach resort that’s being devoured by the very beach it was built on.

Kangbashi New Area China (Abandoned Places – Richard Happer) 

12. Kangbashi New Area, China

It was to be a Chinese Dubai: a brand new city with government offices, thriving businesses, schools, theatres and a million inhabitants deep in the arid Mongolian desert. But nearly ten years after the first structures rose from the sands, 98 per cent of Kangbashi stands empty. Welcome to the largest ghost city in the world.

Abandoned Places – Richard HapperRichard Happer tells the story of these places and 48 others where time has stood still in his book, Abandoned Places. You can order you copy on Amazon now.