There’s something hauntingly beautiful about places that used to teem with bustling populations but now sit long forgotten. Or glorious, but overzealous, attempts at architecture that never quite made it to fruition. Then there are some places that are just plain bizarre. Either way, here are 5 abandoned places that will shock you to know exist somewhere on our strange and wonderful planet.
1. The Maunsell Sea Forts, England
Originally constructed to protect England from Germain air raids in WWII, these giant metal towers still stand, protruding like strange aliens in the distance. There are variances between the two styles, depending on whether they were built for defending the army or the navy, but they were not long used. Deserted by the army in 1950, where they were recycled as pirate radio towers until 1958, and then finally abandoned completely. You can spot them if you’re taking a stroll down Shoebury East Beach on cloudless day, as they were built in the Thames and Mersey estuaries (although one has since crumbled).
2. Ponyhenge, Massachusetts
If you try to find Ponyhenge on a map you’ll be hard pressed, but you might stumble upon it along the way if you’re heading to Boston. A bizarre collection of plastic ponies and pony rockers, this intriguing spot may not be as old as some other abandoned locations (the ponies only started showing up in 2010) but it is definitely one of the weirdest. The assortment that now numbers in the double-digits started out as a meagre two, but the group of children’s toys has grown over the years. Not only that, they often change formation, like switching into rows from a circle. Who is the leader of this strange, vacant place?
3. The Great Train Graveyard, Bolivia
Glorious still in their time-worn decline, the antique trains just out from Uyuni in Bolivia have been lying there unused since the 1940s. The transportation project they were primarily built for was intended to extend Uyuni’s public transportation system throughout the city but was abandoned due to Aboriginal pushback and technical difficulties over 50 years ago. Now, they serve as a tourist attraction.
4. Power Plant IM, Belgium
Once one of the largest coal-burning power plants in all of Belgium supplying over 10% of the country’s total carbon emissions alone, the Power Plant IM in Charleroi had to be shut down in 2007 due to Green Peace calling it out. It still stands today, making for an incredible visual experience by looking like something out of a sci-fi movie with its giant abandoned towers and tunnel-like interior. At least it still provides an unbelievable view.
5. Hashima Island, Japan
Hashima Island, also known as “Battleship” Island (or Gunkanjima in Japanese) got its nickname from the giant seawall built to block its inhabitants off from the threat of typhoons – only now there’s nobody there to protect. In the 1950’s it was the most densely populated island in the world with swarms of workers heading over as soon as the presence of coal was discovered. It was purchased by Mitsubishi Motors in 1890 and rapidly developed, including the erection of Japan’s first tall, concrete buildings in order to make room for the miner influx. Once the mine shut down in 1974 however, it quickly emptied. As of 2009 visitors are allowed but most of the dilapidated island is off limits.
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