Bhai Dooj – The Sibling Bond
October 14, 2011 – 1:58 am | No Comment
Come October and everyone is going to be in the midst of celebrating Diwali – the Festival of Lights. But this is also the same time when sisters and brothers strengthen their bond in India. Yes Bhai dooj the festival of the brothers for the sisters is a festival that is much awaited by all sisters and brothers in India. This year in 2011 Bhai Dooj falls on October 28. So come this day and we can  [...]

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Abandon hope, all ye who enter: 10 Ghost Cities you should know about

Posted on August 4, 2010 | Top 109 Comments


There is a certain eeriness that is inescapable with abandoned cities, and it has been a theme of moviemakers for decades now. The frightfulness, foreboding and surrealism of it all should repel us really. Instead, it draws us in hook, line and sinker. Sample a list of 10 abandoned cities as we bring to life a topic about the dead.

Bodie, California

The quintessential and most well-preserved of all ghost towns in the USA, Bodie was booming at one time thanks to the nearby mines that drew droves of opportunistic people. However, all good things must come to an end and the surge of population severely taxed Bodie, and it was never the same again. It started to lose prominence and practicality in residents minds and a raging fire that went through most of the downtown business district was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Most of the residents made a quiet exit by 1962, by which time it was anointed the Bodie State Historic Park. The city as it stands today is frozen in time, the deserted streets and the interiors remaining as they were. The life has been sucked dry from Bodie, and never will it return.

Bodie California

San Zhi, Taiwan

Asia is no stranger to ghost cities too, with Taiwan boasting one of its own. The northern city of San Zhi has some of the futuristic looking retreats and homes you will find, but they are all left untouched and unwanted. The reason is simple. A number of fatal accidents during construction and a paucity of funds halted an extremely ambitious project and the few structures that stand proud. Interestingly, the government (which had sanctioned the project initially) distanced itself from everything eventually and no one seems keen to take on the project and finish it or purchase the area and make something of it and so it seems San Zhi’s fate remains to be frozen in its half-finished state forever, a symbol of neglect and step-brotherly treatment from those that mattered.

San Zhi Taiwan

Varosha, Cyprus

Previously an area frequented by tourists, you might find it hard to believe that Varosha was at one time one of the most sought after destinations for travelers seeking a bit of leisure and luxury. But in the summer of 1974 all of that was to change as the Turkish invaded Cyprus as a direct response to a Greek military supported coup in Cyprus which had been staged by the Cypriot National Guard. The island was torn asunder, and citizens fled as most normally would. Some hoped to return in time after hostilities relaxed, but nothing could have been further from the truth. The Turks converted Varosha into a fortress, lining it in barbed wire and controlling all that enter and exit it. Till date, only the Turks and approved UN personnel have been inside what was once a holidayers paradise. Plans are afoot to reopen the doors of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus to the public again, and if true it can’t happen soon enough.

Varosha, Cyprus

Gunkanjima, Japan

Located a mere 15 kilometers from Nagasaki itself, Gunkanjima (or Hashima Island) was purchased by Mitsubishi in 1890 with the intent of mining coal from the bottom of the sea. Eventually, giving in to pressure, a block of buildings were made to house the workers that did play their trade here and by 1959, the population had swelled to 835 people per hectare which further rose to 1391 per hectare for the residential areas). But fossil fuels are not an inexhaustible means of energy and the moment a suitable alternative was found in the form of petroleum, coal mines began to fold all over Japan. By 1974, Mitusbishi joined the ranks and officially announced the closure of the mines and it lies desolate and decrepit today, unwanted once it had outlived its utility.

Gunkanjima Japan

Balestrino, Italy

Balestrino is a mystery in that finding anything of note or informative on it is nigh on impossible. There is no reliable data on when the town was established, or why it was abandoned as it was. It is clear from seeing a town plan that the city was quite an active place at one time, housing a church in the lower area and a castle in the higher domains. The town was primarily home to farmers that used the hilly landscape to farm Olive trees, and this is still the main occupation of the people that do still reside there today. It is said that the north-west coast of Italy was hit by a spate of earthquakes in the late nineteenth century, and it can only be presumed that one of these affected Balestrino, although official records indicate no such thing. However, a dip in the population around this time and a surfeit of repairs do fall in line with this story. By 1950, the town was abandoned due to geological reasons and the inhabitants that remain today (some 575 of them) reside in the lower area which is a kilometer or more down the road.

Balestrino Italy

Katoli World, Taiwan

Seeing how our list was rather droll and grim up until this point, let’s add a bit more fun to things by steering away from the township theme for a moment. It is a common occurrence in the Eastern and Western worlds to find amusement parks that have been left to their fate, generally one that is rust-filled and sans any children frolicking around. Normally, the given reason for such an occurrence is a lack of funds swirling around in the amusement park’s coffers. Not this time. Katoli World opened in the mid eighties in Taichung and was famed in the region for its rollercoasters. On September 21st 1999, tragedy struck as a massive earthquake shook the region to its core and thousands were killed as a result of this. However, none of these victims were park visitors as it happened during off hours, but the park itself was a write-off, large parts of it lost forever and it was forced to shut doors, never to hear the tinkling sound of children’s laughter ever again.

Katoli World Taiwan

Centralia, Pennsylvania

Incorporated as a borough in 1866, Centralia was a hub for the anthracite coal industry until the 1960’s. Since coal was the principal means of employment for most families in the region, the shutdowns at coal mines all over the world hit the area hard since businesses folded at the speed of light. To compound their misery, an exposed vein of coal caught on fire in 1962 and what resulted was a huge underground coal fire that raged throughout the ‘60s and ‘70s. Attempts to put out the fire bore no fruit, and several residents came down with health complications thanks to the carbon monoxide that was produced. In 1979, when a fuel station claimed temperatures of gasoline had touched 77.8°C, many finally sat up and took note of the gravity of the situation. The near-death of a 12 year old child that was saved from plunging into a suddenly created sinkhole was the straw that broke the camels back. $42 million was spent on relocation, and only a handful of people now remain in the Pennysylvania borough.

Centralia Pennsylvania

Yashima, Japan

A plateau that stretches out to sea, Yashima was the scene of a legendary battle that took place in 1185 during the Genpei war. Yashima temple is a well known Shikoku pilgrimage, an island that is to the southwest of Yashima. Today, it is the only thing drawing in the crowds but it was not so at one time. Japan, as you might remember, had enjoyed a renaissance period in the mid-eighties when the sky was the limit for a buoyant nation. It was with this as the backdrop that the people of Takamatsu took a leap of faith and decided to use the plateau as a tourism destination, and so money was poured into developing the sacred land. Hotels, parks, trails, aquariums; no expense was spared. And then, everyone had an epiphany and realized a view of rock quarry isn’t exactly tourism worthy. Consequently, visitor footfalls dropped as millions of Yen were lost and so all the hotels and shops that lined the plateau shut down, bringing a premature end to a story of promise.

Yashima Japan

Pripyat, Ukraine

The Zone of Alienation. Why doesn’t it surprise us that an abandoned city exists over here? Located in Northern Ukraine very near the border with Belarus, the city was once home to a populace exceeding 50,000 and most of these people used to work at Chernobyl. Everyone knows what happened at Chernobyl over in 1986, so we’ll digress a bit from the history lesson and simply tell you that Pripyat was abandoned due to fear of radiation. And so Pripyat remains the perfect slice of Soviet life, preserved for posterity. That was until the beginning of the turn of the millennium, when the place was ransacked and nothing was left behind. Ravaged by fates, ravaged by mankind, Pripyat will not be safe to stay in for still several more years and perhaps even longer than that until people feel safe to come stay here at all. The power plant was about to built close to Kiev when public dissent changed the mind of those that mattered. In the end, it was a timely decision that saved countless generations of lives.

Pripyat, Ukraine

Craco, Italy

Located at the heel of Italy some 25 miles inland from the Gulf of Taranto, the region is typified by long, undulating hills that are beneficial for farming of wheat and other crops. Craco has a long-running history with the church, dating back to when the land itself was owned by Archbishop Arnaldo and it can be safely said that the church has had great authority over the inhabitants of the area down the ages. Back in 1891, Craco’s population was pegged at more than 2000 people. This was a time when problems began to arise, and poor agricultural conditions only compounded this issue. Add a major war, earthquakes and landslides to the equation and you can begin to understand the strife faced by the region over the course of a coupe of decades from 1892 to 1922. Between 1959 and 1972, three more earthquakes rocked Craco and by 1963 the last of the natives moved out, leaving Craco in a state of desolation today.

Craco, Italy

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9 Comments »

  • Sebastian Baxter says:

    Thanks for the great post!

    Some people fantasize about tropical islands or tours to the great cities of the world.
    I being a fan of supernatural prefer exploring the most haunted mansions and public buildings across the globe.Such a trip would prove far to costly for most of us, but in you post I’ve found an affordable substitute.

    Keep posting!
    Thanks! :-)

  • Dole Dumpty says:

    The belief in supernatural source isn’t necessary, men alone are capable of every kind of wickedness.!

    Found your post interesting and sound!
    Thanks! :-)

  • Dole Dumpty says:

    I want to know where we go when we leave this life.I’m just looking for answers to what happens when we move on. I am a firm believer of the paranormal, but I believe that over 80% of the most claims can be disapproved.
    When I’m asked ‘Are you afraid of the dark?’
    My answer is ‘No! I’m afraid of what lies in the dark.’
    Remember they are dead, you are not.

    keep posting!
    Great stuff! :-)
    Cheers!

  • Cruella Saw says:

    Ghost hunting is kind of fishing you don’t really know if you are going to catch anything or no!

    Are there ghosts? What happens after death?…I think more people are coming out with questions like that trying to find out and question all that belies the eyes.

    The supernatural is the natural just not yet understood!

    Thanks for the post!
    Cheers! :-)

  • Felicity Cole says:

    As Sir Paul. F Eno has quoted in ‘Faces of the Window’–

    ‘There are infinite number of universes existing side by side through which are consciousness constantly pass.In these universes all possibilities exist.You are alive in some,long dead in others,and never existed in still others.Many of our ghosts could indeed be visions of people going about their business in a parallel universe or another time or- both.’

    An interesting post!

  • Jacques Doyle says:

    Houses are not haunted..It is ‘WE’ that are haunted! Regardless of the architecture with which we surround ourselves..or ghosts stay with us until we ourselves our ghosts!

    Anyways, thanks for the post!

  • Percy Koontz says:

    There is one more Paul F Eno quote from ‘Footsteps in the attic’–

    ‘I don’t believe that ghosts are spirits of dead..because I don’t believe in dead..In multiverse once you are possible,you exist.And once you exist you exist one way or the other forever.Besides death is the absence of life,and ghosts I’ve met are very much alive.What we call ghosts are lifeforms just as you and I are.’

    Keep posting!
    Cheers! :-)

  • Chris Addison says:

    I believe in one God, the first and the great cause of goodness.I also believe in Jesus Christ, the rebirth of the world.I also believe in holy ghost the comforter.

    -Daniel Morgan

    Cheers!

  • Jacob Curran says:

    Enjoyed reading your post!
    Thanks! :-)

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