15 Largest Abandoned Cities In The World

If you are looking for the largest abandoned cities in the world. You are in the right place. Hey everyone, and welcome to Knowledge World. Today, we will learn about the 15 largest abandoned cities in the world.

There are nearly 4,000 ghost towns in the United States alone and many more dotted around the world. There’s a good chance that wherever you are you can live rent-free in one of these dilapidated towns free of noisy neighbors. But while most of these places are small some are pretty big abandoned places. Join me as we take a look at the 15 biggest abandoned cities in the world.

15. Ordos City – China

largest abandoned cities in the world

largest abandoned cities in the world

China has been through a lot in the last few decades. Much of the population has seen incredible economic leaps forward in short periods of time. But unfortunately, not everyone was brought up to speed and that includes some cities and towns as well. China’s Ordos City was an entire city built in the early 2000s to hold just over 1 million residents. But if you were to drive down the streets tonight, instead of seeing a bright and sprawling cityscape.

You’d be greeted with utter darkness. Because in the nearly two decades ordos city has existed. It houses just one-tenth of the intended population. Needless to say, the project undertaken by the Chinese government was a complete and abysmal failure. That cost them more than a billion dollars to construct. The city spans 137 miles of dead quiet space with many visitors saying that it feels like a post-apocalyptic city.

Condo complexes and high-rises go on for as far as the eye can see and there are still plenty of buildings that they started to build but just gave up on halfway through the process. Being in a country with nearly one and a half billion people. Ordos City may be one of the few places you can come to for some peace and quiet though. As long as you don’t mind being the only person for miles and miles in an urban environment.

14. Hashima – Japan

Battle Ship Island Nagasaki Japan

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Also known as Battleship Island. japan’s Hashima island was once the most densely populated place on Earth. But now seeing as how it’s on this list it’s totally abandoned. Home only to the sea birds who come to roost there. A ghost town for more than 40 years now. Hashima sits off the coast of Nagasaki and was built at the turn of the 19th century by the Mitsubishi Corporation.

Japan had only opened its doors to outsiders in the the1840s. This allowed for all sorts of foreign trade inspiration and innovation. The Mitsubishi Corporation wanted to be a part of it. Hashimas was built close to the coal miners and their families as it was believed that the island was sitting on a rich coal deposit. They quickly erected 10-story apartment buildings, courtyards, restaurants and schools.

Everything a community would need to thrive on its own. At first, business was booming. Moving more than 400,000 metric tons of coal a year. But with all natural resources, the area’s coal was finite, and when it ran out many of the Hashima residents began to leave in droves until no one remained while Hashema has become a popular tourist site. seeing as how so many of the residents were forced laborers from Korea. Perhaps it’s best that this once-thriving town no longer operates.

13. Bodie California – United States America

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For many Westerners especially Americans when they think of ghost towns or abandoned cities their minds go straight to the Old West. And Bodie California definitely fulfills that fantasy. When the California gold rush was going full throttle everyone wanted to claim their fortune and the city of Bodie was a great place to set up shop. It was close enough to the action and in its early days had plenty of vacancies.

But the thing about Bodie was that while it may have been a beautiful place in the spring and summer months. Come wintertime time things get pretty rough. Couple that with multiple disease outbreaks, mining accidents and an incredible amount of crime and you’re looking at plenty of great reasons to get out of dodge or boaty rather. Bodie California really was the Wild West and no amount of gold is worth your life.

But like the modern dot-com boom and housing markets. The California gold rush’s bubble burst and so by 1882 no one wanted to live in Bodie and the town went under, big time. Almost everyone had taken their ball and went home while the few people who remained did their best to turn things around again. But it was pointless and by 1940 the only residents of Bodie California were tumbleweeds and dust.

12. Pyramiden – Russia


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When the soviet union collapsed in 1989. While many of the newly freed people were looking forward. many things were still left behind. That included the city of Pyramiden. this old abandoned city was a mining village in its heyday. Sitting on an island that’s only accessible by either sea or snowmobile. Not really the type of commute most regular folks want to make.

Seeing as how Pyramiden is on the Arctic Circle of Norway. It gets pretty damn cold there. But alas there was a time when this place was full of people. It was founded in the early 1900s by the Swedes and sold to the soviet union for a pretty penny in 1927. For the next 70 years, Pyramiden was mined for its coal deposits. It offered a great opportunity to earn an honest living and so tall apartment blocks and public buildings went up for the workers.

All of these are placed to form a circle with a statue of Vladimir Lenin smack in the middle. Giving off a serious 1984 Big Brother vibe. But the once-bustling city shut down in 1990. Because no more coal means no more work and no more work means no more people. Plain and simple. All of the residents left just before Y2K and gave up their homes to the birds seals and even the occasional polar bear.

11. Akarmara – Georgia


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Another former member of the soviet union. The city of Akarmara in Georgia once housed 40,000 people. But if you go now you’ll see just a fraction of that number as most people there are tourists coming to catch a glimpse of another abandoned city. Akarmara was also a big mining town. But as the 1900s roared on and the new millennium began to rear its head.

Coal became less and less important. New technologies developed that gave us faster and better fuel sources at a fraction of the price. More and more mining communities were shutting down. But Akarmara was also the victim of the siege of Caracelli in 1992. As they were completely cut off from supplies the town’s basic necessities needed to be helicoptered in for 400 days. This was the beginning of the end here.

Most of the buildings still remain. Only with just a few residents each. And many of them look as though they’re all ready to fall at any moment. because the infrastructure has been neglected for decades. There were rumors circulating in the country that this place could become are sort of town. The odds of that happening and getting the money are slim to none.

10. Houtouwan – China


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Not everything needs to be all doom and gloom. Also known as the Green Village. the village of Houtouwan looks like China’s response to the shire. But, in reality, it’s a long abandoned town. About 40 miles outside of Shanghai. Houtouwan was once home to over 2000 fishermen and their families. But the residents started to leave in droves in 1990.

Sadly they were no longer able to meet the needs of the booming fish industry in China. They decided to migrate to the mainland to find hopefully more suitable and lucrative employment. Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence in some of the country’s smaller villages. By 1994 just about everyone was gone and that’s when Mother Nature began to take over.

Gorgeous lush greenery absolutely took over to the point where you can’t even see the materials of the homes underneath. Because the foliage is so dense. But for the select few villagers who did stay, they’ve been able to turn over a new leaf pun intended because the Houtouwan village is now a huge tourist attraction. It is easy to see why. The greenery goes on as far as the eye can see. You won’t find a town like this anywhere else.

9. Kolmanskop – Southern Namibia

Kolmanskop Ghost Town

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You may have seen this next entry on our list pop up on countless Instagrams. As it’s one of the most amazing sites you’ll ever see. Where nature reclaims man’s work. Located in southern Africa’s Namib desert. Its story seems all too familiar. The abandoned city harbors a rather interesting history. It all started in 1908.

When a railway worker was cleaning the sand off the tracks. When he stumbled across what he hoped was his biggest payday yet. Diamonds. Instead of keeping the precious jewels to himself, he told his employer who kept the diamonds. Not even offering his employees a reward. Naturally, the word got out and a massive diamond operation ensued.

In just four years the city of Coleman’s cop was producing millions of carrots and diamonds annually. Which added up to about 12 percent of the world’s diamond supply. Once an empty desert, Coleman scope was now the hottest place to be with homes popping up everywhere along with amenities like a post office, butcher, baker, and even an ice cream factory. Typically when there’s money or in this case diamonds.

There’s greed and much of the control and mining rents went over to a private German company. Which employed incredibly underpaid workers. By then the condition of this place was awful with too many people and not enough space and eventually not enough diamonds. Because the mine ran dry in the1930s. But this mess of human greed and exploitation gave way to one of the most iconic abandoned cities around.

8. Bombay Beach – United States America

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What was once a happening resort town in California is now a remnant of days gone by in the middle of nowhere. Bombay Beach sits 40 miles away from the nearest, well anything. In the early 1900s, much of the Colorado River was diverted towards a vast desert area in California. The new body of water became known as the Salton Sea and waterfront properties were built almost immediately.

Bombay Beach quickly became one of the hottest places to live. But the new town also brought lots of farming and the pesticides quickly found their way into the salt on sea. Killing just about all of the living aquatic organisms. Dead fish washed ashore and the beaches quickly began to resemble a biblical plague. Tourist businesses tanked.

People stopped coming to the beach and vacationers steered cleared of the bloated bodies of fish. Today Bombay Beach is an abandoned post-apocalyptic shell of a metropolis. The skeletal remains of the fish are still scattered about and the now brown salt and sea are riddled with stench. That’s not sand covering the beach it’s fish bones. Should you stumble upon Bombay Beach as best to stay in the car and roll up the windows.

7. Tianducheng – China

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Tianducheng Lone Lady

For every achievement in infrastructure China has there are a few failed attempts that they would rather forget about. One of them being Tianducheng. Also called the Sky City. The construction of Tianducheng started in 2007 with the goal of essentially recreating the city of Paris. Everything was carefully curated including the period-correct architecture and there’s even a 354-foot tall Eiffel Tower in the middle of the city square.

A replica of the famous fountain from the Luxembourg Gardens. Even a French-themed amusement park. Tianducheng would deliver every bit of European taste and culture without citizens having to leave China. The city was built to accommodate more than 10,000 residents. But as of today, it hasn’t even come close to hitting that mark. The city is generally abandoned. Although it’s still home to about two thousand people. All of whom allegedly work at the aforementioned theme park.

But why didn’t people flock to this French-themed city? Well, it all came down to poor planning. Tianducheng is built in the middle of a rural area without an easy way for people to get there. It’s all but cut off from the bustling metropolitan areas. The only visitors to this place these days are the occasional newly wedded francophiles and tourists looking for ironic attractions.

6. Craco – Italy

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Craco is an old town that sits right in the arc of the giant boot that is Italy. The city actually dates back to well before 1060 and it’s seen its fair share of armed conflict since then. Cruel monarchs, armies and poor political ideologies have all done their damage here. While man-made strife certainly made life tough for the citizens of Craco. It was geological disasters that made things even worse. Things eventually got so bad that people began to leave in droves by the late 1800s.

Earthquakes, floods and mudslides, all plagued Craco to the point where living there was no longer safe. By 1963 just 1800 people remained. Until they were forced to leave Craco for their own safety to the newly built town below. The structures and streets are still there. Craco has actually become a hotspot for not just tourists. But big-budget films as well. With productions like Quantum of Solas and The Passion of the Cries taking full advantage of the Italian ghost town’s authentic feel.

5. Sanzhi Pod City – Taiwan



The jury is still out on the existence of aliens but the Sanzhi pod city in Taipei city Taiwan. may have you second-guessing things. Construction on these UFO-style homes began in 1978. In the hopes that this would become a seaside holiday resort. Not only for the rich Taiwanese but for us military officers as well. While the design may be strange by today’s standards. This UFO style was cutting edge in the 1970s.

The plans were in place for this city to live up to everyone’s expectations. But it only took two years for this place to be all but abandoned. Unlike so many other cities we’ve seen so far. This wasn’t home to a depleted mine or the site of a war. The Sanzhi Pod City is home to some really weird events. Like multiple constructions in explicable ending their own lives. Various car crashes and allegedly a slew of hauntings.

It was bad juju all around. Many people believed that it was over a Dutch graveyard whose residents weren’t too happy with their final resting place being disturbed. Others believed that a cursed ornament broke and the spirit wreaked havoc but the most likely story behind the abandonment of the Sanzhi Pod City was simply too high of a price tag. Too much money and not enough people willing to spend it.

4. Burj Al Babas – Turkey

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There are plenty of places you can go to see an abandoned castle. but what about an entire city of them. that’s exactly what Burj Al Babas and Turkey are. there are 399 of them to be exact. This place started out as a luxury housing development and ended up being a giant graveyard for Disney ass castles by 2019. When the developers went bankrupt. As you can probably imagine Burj Al Babas was aimed at the world’s wealthiest who wanted a vacation home in Turkey.

A few even managed to sell but not enough. Most of the investors quickly pulled out signaling the beginning of the end for this gaudy dream town. In the end, the development company owned 25 million dollars worth. Since then the Turkish government has come up with new housing regulations. Which Burj Al Babas does not comply with. Now they’re just sitting there probably forever.

But these developers are still hopeful saying that if they can just sell 100 of these holiday castles. then they can whip their deck clean and move on. If you do the math, each one of these castles goes for a quarter million dollars. But what good is a housing community without amenities? Burj Al Babas has an entertainment center and Turkish baths to complement the rows and rows of castles that will most likely never see any use.

3. Centralia – United States America


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Centralia Pennsylvania was a great place to live. another city home to a coal mine. There were jobs and opportunities and plenty. But all of that changed when a coal fire ignited quite literally underneath Centralia in 1962. But then why didn’t they just put it out. This isn’t the type of fire you can just throw water on and go on with your day. The fire under Centralia has been burning for the last 60 years and will likely keep going for another 250 years.

It all started when an attempt to clean the local landfill caused the coal seams under the surface to catch fire. As you can imagine most residents didn’t feel very safe. They left. The fires weren’t the only problems here. Because these fires also gave way to as lew of sinkholes and released carbon monoxide into the air 24 hours a day. Eminent domain was eventually used to take control of the homes of the residents who chose to stay.

Despite their own safety but they all agreed to give their property over to the government once they passed away. The Pennsylvania government finally condemned Centralia in 1992. While it is a ghost town the highway running through it is given new life when it was once covered in graffiti and art in honor of the people who once lived there. If you can find them there were still five people living in Centralia as of 2017.

2. Kelso – United States America


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There’s nothing worse than being the best at something until someone younger and more innovative comes around. Turning you into a relic. That’s exactly what happened with locomotive trains. Kelso in San Bernardino California was built in 1905 and housed 2000 people who worked either the railroads, the mines or iron processing plants.

But mainly the locomotive train maintenance facilities during the First World War. Diesel-powered engines started to come down the tracks. Putting the steam engine locomotives out of business for good. Meaning there was no longer a need for maintenance and no longer a need for the workers. When the train didn’t make that important stop in Kelso anymore, people left in droves in search of new work.

Perhaps on the diesel engines and took the town economy with them. By 1985, the train had left the station for good and the abandoned city had a population of zero. But it’s technically still open for visitors with no one around to stop you from going inside the old post offices, shops and homes to see what life was like for thousands of people in the early nineteen hundreds.

1. Ashgabat – Turkmenistan

largest abandoned cities in the world

largest abandoned cities in the world

The country of Turkmenistan, unfortunately, has a tumultuous history with many of its innocent citizens falling victim to forces well out of their control. Former Soviet Union country under the control of the horrific president, Abarat Yosef. Ashgabat was built in the hopes of creating a new prosperous era for Turkmenistan. A golden era for the country and so the construction of Ashgabat began in 1991.

Gaudi record-breaking buildings were erected to show off soviet ingenuity to the world. Mostly to the u.s and in the end 543 buildings were all made of luxury materials and the newfound city was even home to the world’s largest Ferris wheel. Meanwhile though in the rest of the country life expectancy was at an all-time low. Today Ashgabat was referred to as the city of the dead because it appears to be so empty.

The majority of residents live just outside city limits and much of the city has no access to electricity or clean water. It’s a very strange city. That’s mostly made of marble but the fancy facade hides many dark secrets and while it may be open to tourists. Most of them will leave with a bad taste in their mouth.

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