Historic Sites

Haunted hotspots? The world’s coolest ghost towns

ghost town

 (Shuttertock)

Do you ever wonder what the world would look like if humans were gone? A

Abandoned places can be ghastly and charming at the same time. Rundown, frozen in time, and often hidden, uninhabited buildings and cities continue to fascinate. It doesn’t take a long time for nature to overtake manmade structures once they've been left for good. 

 

  • 1. Oradour-sur-Glane, France

    Oradour-sur-Glane, France

    Shutterstock

    Oradour-sur-Glane used to be a small farming village. During World War II, it was located in the German-occupied zone of France. On June 10, 1944, German troops killed 642 people, almost the entire population of the town, and then destroyed the village, according to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. After the war, Oradour-sur-Glane became an iconic symbol of German crimes against civilians.

  • 2. Bodie, California

    Bodie, California

    iStock

    This town east of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in Mono County is described as “a town frozen in time in a state of arrested decay.” Bodie was established in 1859 and people came for the gold. When they didn’t find as much as they were hoping, people left. The town is now a State Historic Park. Most of the ghost town has remained untouched. Tourists can walk down the deserted streets and feel as if they’re in an episode of "Westworld."

  • 3. Copehill Down, Wiltshire, England

    Copehill Down, Wiltshire, England

    Flickr/Richard Lewis/CC BY 4.0

    Copehill Down is actually a mock village built by the British army as a copy of a German town at the end of the Cold War to practice their urban warfare skills and close quarters fighting, according to Amusing Planet. Called a “FIBUA” (Fighting In Built-Up Areas) village, Copehill Down is just one of the handful of such villages scattered around the country.

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  • 4. Kolmanskop, Namibia

    Kolmanskop, Namibia

    Shutterstock

    Often referred to as Namibia’s Ghost Town, Kolmanskop was once the site of a diamond rush and a bustling city for German miners, according to Naminibian.org. Eventually, it peaked and saw its decline after World War I, when inhabitants left in search of new diamond deposits. Many of the buildings still stand, but much of the city has been claimed by sand. Today, it's been known to give off eerie vibes that attract curious souls — including ghost hunters — from all over the world.

  • 5. Novi Cidade de Kilamba (Kilamba New City), Angola

    Novi Cidade de Kilamba (Kilamba New City), Angola

    Kilamba/Wikimedia Commons

    Kilamba is the largest of several “satellite cities” being built by Chinese firms in Angola, according to news reports. But it has no residents, even though it was designed to house more than 500,000 people. Located in an isolated spot about 18 miles outside Angola’s capital, Luanda, Nova Cidade de Kilamba is a mixed residential development of 750 apartment buildings, several schools and more than 100 retail units. Building the city cost about $3.5 billion.

    Check out even more of the world's wildest ghost towns.