Nothing can quite intrigue and horrify us in equal parts like a town that was abandoned in its entirety.
And while ghost towns have captivated people for years, they’re becoming even more popular with time. According to Pinterest, users looking for unique day trips and vacation ideas are searching for “ghost towns” 181% more this year.
Whether you’re looking for a creepy, off-the-beaten-path way to spend a day or a backdrop for a chilling photo series, we’ve rounded up the 13 most photogenic and terrifying ghost towns around the world.
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This hillside ghost down was founded in the 8th century, and sits on a cliff that’s 1,312 feet off the ground. The city emptied due to various natural disasters. In 1963, many evacuated after a landslide; in 1972 a flood made conditions even more precarious; and in 1980 an earthquake caused the town to be abandoned in its entirety.
A locked gate surrounds the city, so visitors must book a guided tour. Thanks to a miraculously unscathed statue of the Virgin Mary, the town hosts various religious festivals throughout the year. And despite the fact that the area is a ticking time bomb, the city has been used for several films, including “Passion of the Christ.”
When the Chisos Mining Company opened in the mid 1800s, workers and their families quickly relocated to Terlingua, Texas. The population was around 3,000 at its peak in 1903, but, as of the last Census in 2010, only 58 people remain.
Those who still live there reside in “Terlingua Proper” and make good business off of the frequent tourists who stop by to see the abandoned churches and buildings that still stand, as well as visitors to the surrounding Big Bend parks.
This city in northern Ukraine is probably the most famous ghost town in the world. It was home to almost 50,000 people before everyone was evacuated in April 1986, when part of a nearby power plant — the Chernobyl Nuclear Station — exploded.
The Chernobyl disaster caused such high levels of radiation that people were forced to evacuate immediately and leave non-essentials behind. It’s those items, which include dolls, gas masks, clothes and furniture, that draw in photographers and thrill-seekers year after year.
The radiation levels have finally dropped enough for scientists to mark the area as safe to visit, meaning that you can explore the creepy town and its many schools, hospitals, stores, gyms, cinemas, factories, and even its amusement park to your heart’s content.