The Coolest Abandoned Places Around the World

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As time goes on, some places stay in use, but some get left behind—due to unforeseen circumstances, changing times or other reasons. These abandoned places immediately evoke feelings of eeriness and curiosity, no matter where they are. Their remains are testaments to their fascinating histories, and they are perfect destinations for those who love history, adventure and even stories of the supernatural. From old mining tunnels covered in glow worms to haunted prisons to '70s movie sets decaying in the desert, here are some of the most fascinating abandoned sites to explore around the world.

Newnes Glow Worm Tunnel
New South Wales, Australia

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In the early 1900s, this 1,312-foot-long tunnel was built as part of a railway used by miners. Now, the long-abandoned tunnel in Wollemi National Park a few hours outside Sydney is a damp and dark footpath, and it is illuminated by the magical green-blue light of countless glow worms.

Maunsell Army Sea Forts

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These forts on stilt off England's east coast were originally World
War II gun towers to defend against German aircraft. Now rusted out and decaying, they were decommissioned in the 1950s and have not been used since. They hark back to some of the darkest days of the war, and what is left of them can still be viewed today from passing boats.

Wanli UFO Village

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These pod-shaped rooms, originally designed as ski chalets, were once destined to be part of a cheerful beachside vacation resort. However, after financial struggles, the project made of lightweight fiberglass Futuro houses was abandoned. Today, rather than a relaxing vacation destination, the combination of whimsical architecture, pastel coloring and decades of decay is unsettling.

The Great Train Graveyard
Uyuni, Bolivia

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In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, transportation was a major industry in the region. But by the 1940s, these windy salt flats were where trains went to die. The area's harsh conditions deteriorated the trains rapidly, quickly giving them the haunting appearance of ancient relics—albeit ones that visitors can climb on for share-worthy photos.

Eastern State Penitentiary

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This prison operated from 1829 to 1971, and when it was first built, it was the largest building in the country. Notoriously, inmates were often tortured there. Now the deserted penitentiary is considered one of the most haunted places in the world; reported sightings of figures and the sounds of footsteps, crying and screaming abound.

Star Wars Sets
Tozeur Desert, Tunisia


The majority of filming for the planet of Tatooine took place in Tunisia, and several sets were abandoned deep in the Sahara Desert after production, including Luke Skywalker's iconic childhood home from Star Wars Episode 4: A New Hope. Now, some of the sets are deteriorating and becoming buried beneath the sand.

City Hall Station
New York

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This beautiful subway station was in use until 1945, but it closed down because the curve of the platform was too sharp for newer, longer trains. Decorated with stained glass skylights, colorful tile and brickwork and chandeliers, this work of art is sadly no longer accessible to commuters and passersby, but the New York Transit Museum does offer tours to this underground treasure box.

Whaler's Bay
South Shetland Islands, Antarctica

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Daring whalers first settled in this community on Deception Island as early as 1906, but the harsh conditions were no longer profitable when oil prices plummeted during the Great Depression. All that remains are rusted pieces of equipment, rotting boats and buildings buried almost entirely under snow.

Gunkanjima Island
Nagasaki, Japan

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Less than one square kilometer of rock sits on top of a massive, 1950s undersea coal mine. The miners needed a place to live, so an entire city arose on the tiny island. Nearly 6,000 people lived there—the world's highest population density. But when the coal ran out, the micro-city was deserted.