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13 Ghost Towns Around the World

7. Gamsutl, Dagestan

Gamsutl is a picturesque village on the top of Mount Gamsultmeer, and nicknamed “Machu Picchu of Dagestan.” This oldest settlement of the country has been completely abandoned when people left for a better life. There were 300 houses before, but they are now reduced to barely 70, and it is now one of the most visited ghost towns. 

Ancient ghost town of Gamsutl
The ancient ghost town of Gamsutl.

Gamsutl is 4,600 feet up on a mountain and dates back 2,000 years. The name means “the foot of Kahn’s fortress” leading everyone to believe he chose this location for building a fort against his enemies. The village had 300 homes at its peak time.

Ruins of the abandoned mountain village of Gamsutl
Ruins of the abandoned mountain village of Gamsutl.

It also had a post office and a hospital. Opportunities for a better life led everyone to leave the village as it became impractical to live in such a remote area. In 2015, the village’s last resident passed away, and it has been uninhabited ever since with more than 70 empty houses. (Source)

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8. Cerro Gordo, California

Cerro Gordo was one of the most violent towns in America. It was a booming mining town in 1817 that helped Los Angeles in its initial prosperity. Most all the buildings were burned to the ground, and by 1888, the town was empty. The town was recently bought by Brent Underwood. 

Cerro Gordo
The main street of the silver-mining ghost town. Image credits: QKC/web.archive.org

Cerro Gordo was a lawless and dangerous town. It is a settlement overlooking Death Valley. Cerro Gordo was first explored during the 1860s by Mexican prospectors in search of silver. The town became the largest producer of silver by 1865. The town was responsible for generating a lot of money into Los Angeles during the 1870s. 

Cerro Gordo
Image credits: QKC/web.archive.org

The place had 4,000 residents, 500 buildings, seven saloons, and three brothels. The silver ran dry only after a decade. There was a second boom when zinc was found, but by 1938, all the residents left. The new owner of the place is planning to preserve its history and open it up for tourists. (Source)

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9. Deception Island, Antarctica

Whale oil was a growing industry during the 1900s. Because of the high demand, “whaling stations” were set up in Antarctica. Deception Point was one of them. With the discovery of alternatives and whale oil prices dropping during the Great Depression in the 1920s, the ships and factories were abandoned. 

Deception Island
Image credits: Andrew Shiva/Wikipedia

Deception Point was booming during the beginning of the 20th century. The unique horseshoe shape of the region provided a much-appreciated shelter for ships. Deception Point was volcanic and sometimes was warm too, so much so, that it was inhabitable. 

Approximately 150 people worked there. When the substitutes of whale oil like kerosene and vegetable oil started to become more widespread, the factory and ships were abandoned. It is now a famous tourist attraction. (Source

10. Jonestown, Guyana

Jonestown was the site of the brutal mass murder of 900 residents who were part of a cult run by Jim Jones. It was 3,000 acres of land. After the tragedy and widespread abuse that happened before in the place, the place turned into a ghost town. 

Jonestown Houses
Jonestown Houses. Image credits: Jonestown.sdsu.edu

Jonestown was a jungle community founded by Jim Jones in 1970. The location became the center of media attention when Jones leased the land and set up the People’s Temple. The cult he set up was run like a prison camp. 

People who tried to escape were shot down, and slightly after one of these incidents, he made almost 918 people drink poisoned Kool-Aid or be shot dead. Jonestown will remain a ghost town until the government decides what to do with the area. (Source)

11. Balestrino, Italy

An earthquake of 6.7 magnitude caused extensive damage to this beautiful city in 1887. The damage to the buildings and geographic instability caused several other small earthquakes that led to a massive decline in the number of people. By 1953, the authorities announced it was not safe for habitation. 

Abandoned Village of Balestrino
Abandoned Village of Balestrino.

There were less than 2,000 people living in Balestrino during the earthquake. The old historic town was occupied by Napoleon in the 18th century. There were battles and retaliations, and several other dramatic events.

Balestrino
Image credits: s74/Shutterstock.com

This urban space was completely evacuated in 1953 when the town was declared impractical to live in after earthquakes hit the town several times. There are several legends about eerie noises and shadows in Balestrino. It is visited by tourists to the castle, church, and other ruins generally found in ghost towns. (Source)

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12. North Brother Island, New York

Resting between the Bronx and Rikers Island, Northern Brother Island has been untouched for more than half a century. The Riverside Hospital there was made for quarantining people with contagious diseases. It was later made into a Second World Wat veterans’ hospital, and later as a drug treatment facility. By the 1960s, the hospital was shut. Today, it is inaccessible for visitors except for researchers, and even then, only occasionally. 

North Brother Island
Riverside Hospital North Brother Island. Image credits: reivax/Flickr

The North Brother Island in New York is a reminder of the city’s past. In the 1880s, the island was bought for the Riverside Hospital. The hospital treated people with contagious diseases. The island’s most famous resident was “Typhoid Mary,” who was the asymptomatic carrier of typhoid first documented in the US. 

North Brother Island Old Plant
North Brother Island Old Plant. Image credits: Julie McCoy/Kayakcowgirl.blogspot.com

In 1963, the hospital closed its doors for good after serving as a hospital for veterans during the Second World War and as a treatment center for heroin addicts. It is now officially off-limits for the public and one of the most mysterious ghost towns in New York. (Source)

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13. Kuldhara, India

Kuldhara is an abandoned village in India that was prosperous during the 13th century. The village was abandoned after a dwindling water supply, earthquake, and dried-up rivers. By the 19th century, the village was completely abandoned. 

Kuldhara
Kuldhara

Kuldhara also has acquired a reputation as a haunted village according to many legends. The village was originally inhabited by traders, farmers, and bankers. There are around 410 ruins of buildings and over 200 buildings still standing on the outskirts of the village. 

Kuldhara
Kuldhara

The historical records say the depletion of population happened gradually. By 1890, the population was just 37 and eventually made it into the list of ghost towns. In 2015, the government decided to make the village an active tourist spot. (Source)   

Also read: 10 Places That Were Built for Weird Reasons

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