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Most people love the idea of exploring the
farthest corners of the Earth. Finding that little tropical spot of paradise
where you can sit back, relax and forget all about your worries for five
minutes. However not all of the world’s wonders are natural, in fact, humanity
has added a fair few mystical contributions to the sights of the world. From
the Eiffel Tower to the Great Wall of China, people will travel from far and
near to see both natural and man-made wonders.

But what about the wonders that man has forgotten
about? With so many different plans, projects and companies constantly being
founded and disbanded, it should come as no surprise that there are a huge
number of abandoned theme parks, company buildings and even entire cities
scattered across the globe. Not all of them are easily accessible, and some
have been lost to the wasteland but they are all wonderful.
We’ve listed 10 of our favourites. 
  1. Pripyat (Ukraine – Abandoned 1986)
Most people have heard of Chernobyl, but the name
Pripyat is perhaps not so often heard. The Ukrainian  city where the Chernobyl disaster occurred
was simply an ordinary city before the 26th April 1986, however the
events that were to follow would become the worst nuclear power plant accident
in history to date. Pripyat was evacuated in only two days and what remains,
even 30 years later, is still toxic. It serves as a constant reminder of the
effects of Nuclear disaster, and how we can learn from those mistakes.
  1. Gunkanjima Island (Japan – Abandoned 1974)
Also known as Hashima Island, this abandoned
island is located just nine miles from the city of Nagasaki, Japan. In fact it
is one of over 500 uninhabited islands around Nagasaki, but it is by far the
most famous. Hashima Island was well known for its undersea coal mines and
expansive concrete buildings, which operated during the industrialisation of
Japan from 1887. It was also known as a site of forced labour leading up to and
during the Second World War.
  1. Disney’s Discovery Island (Florida, USA –
    Abandoned 1999)
Even the big cheese Mickey Mouse himself has had
to abandon a few projects here and there, the most famous of which is known as
Discovery Island (formerly Treasure Island) in Bay Lake, Florida. The park was
originally pirate themed and housed over 600 native and tropical birds, a
variety of plants, flowers and trees. However because of this, the island’s
natural inhabitants quickly overpopulated the island and in 1989 Disney came
under fire from reports of hawks being shot by rifles, vultures beaten to death
and ibis eggs being destroyed by employees. 
Disney eventually settled by paying $95,000 in order to avoid court, but
the damage had already been done. The park slowly dwindled in popularity until
eventually the decision was made to close Discovery Island.
  1. Nara Dreamland (Japan – Abandoned  2006)
Disney has inspired many would-be theme park
makers, including the Nara Dreamland theme park near Nara, which was built and
opened in 1961. The theme park took a few of its ideas from Disney, such as
having park mascots, known as Ran-chan and Dori-chan, and a monorail
surrounding the park. The entrance to the park was also designed to look
practically identical to Disneyland, including its own train depot, Min Street
USA and the iconic Sleeping Beauty Castle. It closed due to consistently low
visitors, however the site is now a popular location for urban explorers (known
in Japan as ‘haikyoists’)
  1. Shi Cheng, Lion City (China – Abandoned 1961)
The city itself is over 1300 years old, and oddly
enough was only officially ‘abandoned’ after it was flooded in 1961 in order to
make way for a power station in the area. However, although it has been
completely submerged, the ancient city remains intact, with many of its
carvings and archways still plainly visible when diving in the area. If you
want to explore China’s own Atlantis, the Lion City is ideal.
  1. Beelitz-Heilstatten Military Hospital
    (Germany – Abandoned 2000)
The Beelitz-Heilstatten Military Hospital is
sometimes known as Hitler’s Hospital, as it was here where Hitler was treated
for injuries that he sustained during the First World War. The hospital was
originally built between 1898 and 1930, where it was partially turned into a
military hospital during and following the First World War. In 1945 the
hospital was occupied by Soviet forces, where it remained a Soviet Hospital
until 1990. After the Soviet Army withdrew in 1995, attempts were made to
privatise the hospital with little success. It was finally abandoned in 2000
and looks very much like the haunting hospital scenes found in many modern
horror video games.
  1. Kolmanskop (Namibia – Abandoned 1954)
Located in the Namib desert, Kolmanskop became
famous after a worker found a diamond on his shift in 1908 and showed it to his
supervisor. German settlers soon began to migrate to the area in order to mine
the diamond fields, where they built a village in the style of a traditional
German town, including a hospital, power station, school, theatre and casino
among other commercial buildings. However the diamond field trade declined
following the First World War and the town was abandoned after its ‘crop’
started to dry up. Nowadays the desert sands have reclaimed much of the town,
making it a popular photography spot.
  1. Willard Asylum (New York, USA – Abandoned
    1995)
Officially known as the Willard Asylum for the
Chronic Insane, this grisly sanatorium was built in 1869. Willard Asylum
managed to house over 4,000 patients at its peak, but over the years in which
it was operational, more than 50% of its total 50,000 patients died within the
asylum itself. It was said that in the early days of the asylum ‘people didn’t
leave unless it was in a box’ which makes visiting this site horrifying and
haunting. It was abandoned just over 20 years ago, although there has been an annual
tour for brave souls in the years between 2007 – 2015. It is not known whether
or not the tour will return for 2016/17.
  1. Mirny Diamond Mine (Siberia, Russia –
    Abandoned 2004)
The Mirny Diamond Mine is the second largest
man-made hole in the world and is located on the outskirts of Mirny, a small
town in Siberia. It was constructed under orders by Stalin in 1955, in order to
satisfy the Soviet Union’s growing need for industrial-grade diamonds after the
war. Unfortunately the Siberian weather and harsh landscape meant that progress
was slow, if any progress was made at all. However during the time it was open,
the Mirny Diamond Mine produced over 10 million carats of diamonds annually,
making it profitable, overall. The mine itself is a staggering 525 metres deep,
something that is incredibly hard to comprehend even when you are standing
right beside it.
  1. Dadipark (Belgium – Abandoned 2002)
Originally a playground for children, Dadipark in
Belgium was created after locals realised that Dadizele was already a popular
tourist destination at the time. The aim of the park was to provide fun and
affordable rides for small children. Unfortunately the park faced controversy
after a young boy lost his arm in an accident on one of the rides in 2000, but
Dadipark wasn’t officially closed until 2 years later, after guests complained
about safety procedures and visitors dwindled over all. Since the park’s
closure, it has been used by various graffiti artists and impromptu skaters,
however much of the park has been reclaimed by nature.
Lloyd Wells, working with Protect Vacant Property.