Top Ghost towns in the World

There is something undeniably intriguing about ghost towns. Perhaps it is seeing these large man-made infrastructures made for inhabitation and industry with no person in sight. Or maybe it is the inevitable questions that arise when viewing abandoned homes and shops. Whatever the reason, they are fascinating, some more than others. Here are 4 of the top ghost towns in the world.

    Jez Arnold - Wikimedia

Located 16km from Nagasaki lies the desolate and abandoned Hashima Island. In 1890, Mitsubishi bought this island in order to start extracting coal from undersea mines. They built infrastructure on the 16 acres of land such as concrete apartment complexes which were even typhoon resistant. The coal mining industry on the island quickly grew and by 1959 there were 5,259 inhabitants. In the 1960's, Japan was starting to use petroleum in place of coal forcing many coalmines to shut down, including Hashima Island. By 1974, the island was abandoned and became known as the Ghost Island.

Nova Cidade de Kilamba in Angola is a city built by state-owned China International Trust and Investment Corporation that could potentially become the most expensive ghost town ever. Costing a reported 3.5 billion US Dollars, 750 colourful eight-story apartments were constructed along with 12 schools, a five star hotel and a shopping mall. Due to the increase in urbanisation and population growth, this city was built to house 500,000 people. According to Wikipedia, as of September of 2013 there were only 40,000 registered residents in town. Houses weren't being sold because of the difficulty in attaing mortgage loans. Slowly, it is growing thanks to new legislation that was recently passed making the purchase of housing more accessible.

The first diamond in Komanskop, Namibia was found in 1908 which transformed this area. Once word spread, German miners came and settled here along with local Owambo contract workers. While the harsh environment in the Namib desert wasn't very inviting, the Germans still found a way to make it a flourishing city. Not only did they build houses, a hospital and a school but they also found a way to create the first x-ray station in the southern hemisphere, build a railway line to the local city, and create the first tram in Africa. Oh, and of course, they also managed to build a swimming pool and an ice factory. After World War I there was a massive drop in diamond sales and the city became deserted. What was once home to 300 Germans and 800 Owambo workers is now a popular and eerie tourist destination.

Bodie, California, east of Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, was another vibrant mining town. Gold was discovered here in 1859 but the town did not really flourish though until 1876 when gold-bearing ore was discovered. By 1879, there were somewhere between 5,000 to 7,000 inhabitants in the town and it was one of California's largest towns with over 2,000 buildings. By 1880 however, prospectors found other mines more appealing and duly moved on. Families stayed for a while, but eventually in 1913 the Standard Consolidated Mine closed completely. In 1962, this area officially became a California Historical Landmark and sees over 200,000 visitors stop by annually.

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