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Ghost Towns Around the World

By Edited Feb 2, 2016 6 23

Skeleton Towns

There are many ghost towns around the world and most are fascinating places. What led to such places being abandoned however is variable. Some towns were boom towns in their time, perhaps because of a gold rush and when the gold petted out, so did the town; the people moved away, leaving the town to fall into decay. Other places may have been abandoned after catastrophic natural disasters like earthquakes, because war swept through the region, or even because a highway, or railroad bypassed the town taking away business and visitors and sources of money. Here is but a small selection:

Alberta, Canada


Miners Dugout

The Canadian province of Alberta has quite a few ghost towns, perhaps hundreds, which were once thriving coal mining villages and agricultural centers.

Cambria- Which lies between Drumheller and East Coulee, was once home to the Cambrian Coal Company Mine. The mine operated from 1936-1942, but work ground to a halt as "there was too much bone in the coal.” The bone came from dinosaurs, which can now be found at a nearby museum. Today there are a few stray homes, meandering footpaths and miners dugouts left.

The Last hance Saloon

Frank- This coal mining town located on the Crowsnest Highway, was the scene of a huge landslide on April 29, 1903, when 76 people disappeared. Millions of  tons of rock and dirt covered approximately three square kilometres of the valley floor, wiped out part of the town and etched the terrible event in the minds of survivors.

Wayne- The Red Deer Coal Company, introduced the first mine in 1912 and within a short amount of time, the population grew to 10,000. Today there is very few people left, but you can have a gander at some nice old buildings, like the Rosedeer Hotel and Last Chance Saloon.


Armero, Colombia

Armero Volcano

In 1985 after being dormant for 69 years, the volcano, Nevado del Ruiz erupted, activating mudslides and landslides which travelled down its slopes at 60 kilometers per hour. The town of Armero was engulfed and 20,000 of almost 29,000 inhabitants were killed. There were also deaths in other towns and the death toll came to a staggering 23,000. The scenes which met relief workers were horrific and yet rescue efforts were severely hampered  by the mud. Research showed that survivors of this traumatic event, later suffered from anxiety and depression.


Bannack, Montana U.S.A

Bannack Masonic Lodge

There are many ghost towns in America, especially on the Great Plains.The ghost town of Bannack, Montana, which is named after the local Bannock Indians, was founded in 1862 when gold was discovered. The town served as the capital of the Montana Territory briefly in 1864, before the capital was moved to Virginia City. By the 1950s, the gold had almost run out and people moved away. There are however, over 60 unique buildings that can be explored in this area. Many of theses towns in this rural area, have lost about a third of their population since 1920.



Hashima Island, Japan

Hashima Island which is commonly called Gunkanjima, meaning 'Battleship Island' is one among 505 uninhabited island not far from Nagasaki, Japan. This island was a coal mining facility between 1887 to 1974, with multi story, concrete apartment blocks  to accommodate workers, many whom were believed to have been forced into labour. The island is now called 'Ghost Island', as the coal industry was scaled back from the 1960s, when petroleum replaced coal. As can be imagined, the buildings are falling into ruin and it would take a lot of money to restore things to the way they once were, or even to a safe level. This island has been shown in many films including, Battle Royale II: Requiem (2003).

The block 65 on Gunkanjima.


Kayaköy, Turkey

Kayaköy Bekir Topuz

Until 1923, Anatolian Greek speaking Christians lived in Kayaköy, Turkey, but the village was abandoned after a population exchange agreement was signed by the Turkish and the Greek governments in 1923. There were around 2000 Greeks who lived in this area, but the place is now empty and only visited by the occasional tour group.



Gaur, India

Gour, or Gaur is a ruined city in West Bengal, India. The story goes, that the town was founded by the mythic figure Lakshmana, under the rule of famous Bengali kings. The downfall of the city began during the 16th century, when there was an outbreak of plague and a change in the course of the Ganges River. The ruined buildings are slowly becoming covered by the encroaching jungle.

Entry gate to Gaur

Hill End, Australia

Hill End
Hill End located in New South Wales, was established during the 1850's gold rush. Located at the top of a hill and reached by a bone jarring gravel road, the town had a population of 8,000 in the 1870s. In its heyday, the town had five banks, eight churches, and twenty-eight pubs. The people left as the gold ran out. Today there is only a handfull of residents and the odd tourist who blows in.
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Kayaköy, Turkey



Jul 15, 2012 9:12am
Aurelia, another really interesting article. When you think about ghost towns its more the old gold rush times that come to mind rather than more moden places like Hashima Island you mention.
Jul 15, 2012 2:10pm
Hashima Island sounds intriguing. I find it sad that many ghost towns are just left to decay, until nothing remains. They are in many ways important bits of history. Thanks for commenting.
Jul 18, 2012 4:10am
In view of your article on "introverts" it seems a ghost town would be ideal for those of us when fed up with interruptions!Enjoyed reading this and also like the Freisian(?) on your icon. Attending a Freisian Show in Topsfield this weekend. Thanks for the article...
Jul 18, 2012 4:14am
Sorry, Freisian belonged to Girlibird. Still liked the article!
Aug 25, 2012 3:58pm
Sorry I missed you somehow. I like your point about introverts and ghost towns, a good fit together.
Aug 11, 2012 8:28pm
This was an amazing piece, and I'm sorry I'm just now getting to it. Excellent subject, and good selection of venues. A thumb.
Aug 12, 2012 1:55am
Thank you very much, your praise is a high compliment!
Aug 25, 2012 10:03am
We have a ghost town on Salisbury Plain which is a military training ground. The village was taken over by the military for operations training and it has since lay empty but not quite derelict.

Once a year there are tours arranged to the village under agreement from the Ministry of Defence to pay homage.
Aug 25, 2012 4:00pm
How intriguing, I must get myself over there! I haven't been to Stonehenge for ages, so I may drop off at the village -if I can. Lovely!
Aug 30, 2012 12:45pm
Great piece...I used to live in Calgary, Canada and have to say that Frank is one of the creepiest places I have ever been. Walking across the rock slide is just weird, knowing what lies below.
Aug 30, 2012 2:03pm
Fabulous! I love that creepy feeling and visit ghost towns whenever I can.
Aug 30, 2012 2:09pm
Top 3 creepy places that I've visited are Dumbarton castle in Scotland, Savannah, GA., and Frank....goosebump central, all 3
Aug 30, 2012 8:22pm
Dumbarton castle in Scotland is very creepy, that is for sure; but I just love those kind of places.
Aug 30, 2012 6:59pm
Loved this article--well done and quite amazingly thought-provoking. I have been to a few "ghost towns" in my life and they have never failed to stir the imgination. 2 big thumbs up for U
Aug 30, 2012 8:20pm
Thank you very much for your kind words. You are exactly right, ghost towns do "stir the Imagination"!
Aug 31, 2012 2:08am
Also there's a future ghost town: Ordos in China. Great article. That ghost town in Japan seems to be good for ghost hunting.
Aug 31, 2012 4:54pm
Yes, that is an intriguing and very modern ghost town, but at the same time very spooky. Thank you for commenting, much appreciated.
Oct 1, 2012 8:26am
Aurelia, I loved finding out about these places. Really great article.
Oct 1, 2012 8:17pm
Thank you very much for reading.
Oct 6, 2012 6:44pm
Great article!
I would love to see these different Ghost Town places - on day!
Feb 6, 2013 12:25pm
I for one, love to visit ghost towns and there are quite a few about the place hiding. Thanks for reading.
Jan 30, 2013 6:04pm
Nice collection of ghost towns.
Feb 6, 2013 12:27pm
Thanks for the comment. We are both aficionados of ghost towns.
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