Port: the Irish ghost village off the map.

The top of Glengesh Pass in County Donegal, Ireland, is breathtaking. Here you’re in one of the most remote corners of the country, sparsely populated, windswept and wild. You’re as likely to hear Gaelic spoken as English, for life hasn’t changed a whole lot over the past hundred years, and the land, the sea and the weather still govern people’s lives, as it once did in the quaint village of Port. Coming down off the pass leads you to Ardara, famous for its weaving. Take a left and you end…

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Elizabeth Bay Ghost Town – Namibia

We are in southern coast of Namibia, 25 km south of Lüderitz. Even though it often seems to be forgotten in the shadow of its counterpart Kolmanskop, also Elizabeth Bay was a lucrative diamond mining town. Diamonds were first discovered in the region around 1908. However, only in 1989 that the government of Namibia spent $53 million on the exploration and creation of a new diamond mine on the site. Its decrepit buildings and machinery tell of a dark, greedy history: the city was inhabited for only 20 years, but…

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Kolmanskop – Namibia: the remains of diamond fever taken over by the desert.

We are in Namibia: people flocked to the area that later became known as Kolmanskop after the discovery of diamonds, in 1908. Here, Zacharias Lewala, a regular railway worker, picked up what he thought was an unusually shiny stone, and showed it to his supervisor, August Stauch, who immediately applied for a prospector’s license. Verification confirmed that the first diamond in the region had been found. The diamonds were in such supply that they could be picked off the ground by bare hands, and soon the area was flooded with…

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Why you should visit Wayne – Alberta~

In Wayne, Alberta you’ll find a bar with real bullet holes in the wall in a ghost town that is said to have real ghosts, but also a still operating and supposedly haunted hotel, probably the only one in a Canadian ghost town! All this is located in a little place called Wayne, about 16-km and 11 single-lane bridges southeast of Drumheller, Alberta. Wayne sprung up when the Red Deer Coal Company built the Rose Deer Mine, in 1912, and it has fascinating history. Part of the Drumheller Valley’s coal…

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Silver City Cemetery: all that remain of a once-booming mining town.

The Silver City Cemetery looks as if it were pulled directly from a Western movie: worn headstones, scraggly trees, and peeling picket fences which create a beautiful, yet nostalgic, portrait of the American southwest. Nestled in a grove of trees just off US Highway 50, the site sits as a sad final reminder of what was once a booming mining town. Silver City was a silver mining town about 90 miles (140 km) south-southwest of Salt Lake City, Utah, an area considered part of the Tintic Mining District that also…

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Treadwell: the ruins of an Alaskan gold mine that form a gorgeous ghost town.

Treadwell, just south of Douglas, Alaska, has seen better days: the former mining town was a company mining town for the workers and their families for up to four mines from 1883 to 1917. The town boasted five mills, stores, mess halls, bunkhouses, a marching band, and even Alaska’s first indoor swimming pool, known as a natatorium, which housed as well as basketball courts. Treadwell had also its own baseball field and team that competed with four other teams from Alaska and Yukon. If this wasn’t enough, Treadwell was in…

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Al `Arish: an abandoned fishing village in pre-oil Qatar.

We are in Qatar. Abandoned villages once inhabited by fisherman and pearl drivers speckle the northern coast. They’re usually small, and at times boasting no more than five or six houses. Al `Arish (sometimes spelled Al-Areesh, in arabic العريش ), is one of the largest, with about 40 buildings in all. Despite its name, which comes from the Arabic word “Arish”, for “palm trees”, this abandoned village is far from a verdant oasis. However, it seems it was named so after palm trees once in the area which shaded the…

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Sostila, the uninhabited village where the road don’t go

Of countries without roads, in Italy, are few left: one of these is Sostila in Val Fabiolo, a small picturesque valley out of time in Valtellina, between Morbegno and Sondrio. The village has remained isolated in time and space, pulsating with peasant life until a few decades ago. Today it is uninhabited: if in 1928 it had about 120 inhabitants, already in the early 50s the number has tragically halved, up to a total of 14 inhabitants in the early 60s. There was the school until 1958, while the church…

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Panam Nagar: a ghost town of Sonargaon – Bangladesh.

We are in Sonargaon, about 30 km southeast of Dhaka, along the Meghna River, Bangladesh. As early as the 14th century, Sonargaon was the ancient capital of Bangladesh, or more accurately, it was the capital of Isa Khan’s Bengali empire. The cotton textile industry and trading were always a part of life and livelihood of Bengali people besides agriculture. In its heyday, Panam Nagar was home to a prosperous community of Hindu merchants that turned the medieval Bengali capital into a thriving textile trading hub around 19th century. They built…

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Humberstone: A Chilean ghost town with an english name

Once a bustling mining and progressive town in the Atacama Desert, a few hundred kilometres from Chile’s borders with Peru and Bolivia, Humberstone has now become a disturbingly silent ghost town with no workers or residents on its streets. How did this happen? It was named after James Humberstone, a British chemical engineer who emigrated to South America in 1875. He made his fortune from saltpetre, which was dug out of caliche, the nitrate-rich crust of the desert, and used to make fertilizer. For a while in the late 19th…

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Shakespeare Ghost Town – New Mexico

This small New Mexico town has gone by many names, and only acquired its present one in 1879 at the beginning of its second mining boom. Old timers called it Mexican Springs, back when it served as a relay station on the Army Mail line, while for a few years after the Civil War it was called Grant. In 1870, some of the prospectors hanging around this little station discovered samples of very rich silver ore in the surrounding hills and they went hunting for financing to develop their new…

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Chloride, Arizona: a living Ghost Town~

Located just a short drive from the abandoned (and almost disappeared) town of Santa Claus, Chloride seems to resemble any kitschy Wild West village turned tourist trap. However, if you look a little deeper, you’ll find something that makes this ghost town stand out: a wonderfully unusual collection of junk art and a display of giant murals! The city is an old silver mining camp in Mohave County and the oldest continuously inhabited mining town in the state. Scientifically, chloride is an ion used to desalinate seawater into drinking water,…

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Santa Claus: an abandoned theme town in the middle of the Arizona desert~

The Mojave desert, with its (very) hot summer sun, Joshua trees and rock formations, would not generally be the place one would choose to honor a man whose traditional home is the North Pole. Yet standing in the desert there is the ghost remnants of Santa Claus, Arizona! It all started in the early 1930s when Nina Talbot and her husband moved from Los Angeles, California, to nearby Kingman, Arizona, to operate a motel. Calling herself “the biggest real estate agent in California,” the name originated from Talbot’s girth (over…

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Goussainville-Vieux Pays: the post-apocalyptic remains of a bucolic town ruined by a plane crash.

Just to the north of Paris, under the flight path of the Charles de Gaulle airport, lies the remains of a little pretty French town. At least, until catastrophe struck. It is Goussainville-Vieux Pays (not to be confused with nearby, still-thriving Goussainville), that was once a postcard-like town, and for centuries, it functioned as a small, quaint farming village. The old town was once positively bucolic, surrounded mostly by green space. This was, ironically enough, what drew planners to select the area as the location for Charles de Gaulle airport.…

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The doomed city of Doel, Belgium

In the Flemish province of East-Flanders, there is a subdivision of the municipality of Beveren called Doel. Doel now is a belgian ghost town, located close to the port of Antwerp. However, in the very near future the little city will only exist in pictures and memories: it seems, in fact, that it is scheduled to be completely destroyed to make room for an expanding harbor. Even protest and the incredible street art in the abandoned town cannot stop its inevitable fate. For over 400 years, Doel stood near Antwerp…

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Goldfield Hotel: a step back into Nevada History

Goldfield, Nevada, is one of those legendary towns that exploded during the gold boom of the early 1900s, only to be deserted almost completely in a matter of years. Millions of dollars worth of gold were produced in newborn town between 1903 and 1940, which turned into an entertainment hub: legendary boxing championships took place there, and its Northern Saloon was said to be so long that 80 bartenders were needed to serve the length of it. So, It only made sense then to build an opulent and oversized hotel…

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The story of the almost disappeared town of Thurmond, West Virginia

On the shore of New River Gorge, in West Virginia, United States, lies the almost abandoned city of Thurmond. “Almost” because, the 2010 census, confirmed that five people still live there. The village saw its heyday during the coal industry peak in West Virginia, with a population that reached several hundred inhabitants. Thurmond was named after a captain of the Confederate army, WD Thurmond. He received the 73-acre site in 1873 as payment for a surveying job and decided to make this place his home. Other people joined him and…

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Okanogan Highland ghost towns: undisturbed relics from the Old West.

These former mining estabilishments hold a surprising abundance of undisturbed relics from the Old West. Scattered on the desolate plateaus of the Okanogan Highlands, a few kilometers south of the Canadian border, stand the quietly abandoned memories of pioneer homesteads: here some of gold rush townsites persist as historic monuments from a bygone era of boom then bust mineral exploration that brought intrepid Chinese miners and later white settlers to this corner of the Old West. Frontier towns like Bodie, Chesaw, and Molson briefly prospered during the late Victorian era…

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