Machu Picchu, Peru
View from above: the ruins remain from the Inca civilisation
This 15th Century Inca settlement is one of the world’s most iconic landmarks and is at the top of many people’s bucket lists.
Essentially UNESCO world heritage site has been a ghost town ever since it’s abandonment after the Spanish conquests of Peru in the late 1500’s. Although the Inca settlers were perishing from smallpox from contact with Europeans, the city itself was never discovered by the Spanish and so remained a ghost town for over 300 years being completely untouched until its discovery by Hiram Bingham III in 1911. Some historians suggest that German explorers discovered the site sometime in the 1800’s, but instead of declaring the discovery, chose to plunder the city of its valuables.
Abandoned and ruined: The islands branch of Barclays bank was destroyed by the falling ash
The British Overseas Territory of Montserrat has seen its capital become one of the world’s largest ghost towns. During 1997 the whole population of Plymouth, Montserrat was evacuated due to the impending eruption of the Soufriere Hills Volcano, in the days that followed the city was enveloped by ash. Many of the buildings were destroyed or buried by over 4.6 ft of hot ash, this meant that any sort of rebuilding would be incredibly difficult and two thirds of the population emigrated abroad. The city has been empty since 1997 and there are now plans to develop a new capital at Little Bay on the other side of the island. The population is growing steadily and currently 89% of the population are aged under 65, promising a strong future for the Montserrat.
Sanzhi Pod City, Taiwan
Ruins of the Future: the futuristic pods have now been demolished after standing untouched for 30 years
The economic climate in the 1980’s was mildly unstable to say the least, this coupled with a number of deaths during construction meant that the structures were never finished. The development was originally commissioned as a holiday resort for US Military who were spending long periods of time posted in Taiwan. The “Ruins of the Future” have since become a popular destination for urban explorers, fascinated with the architecture and potential vision that developers held for this site in the 1970’s. Unfortunately the site was never inhabited, and fell into disrepair meaning demolition was the only option. The building stood for around 30 years before its inevitable bulldozing in 2008.
Left as it was: The bumper cars remain in the spot they were left over 25 years ago
Possibly the most famous of abandonments comes from the tragic story of Pripyat in the Ukraine. Known to many as the Chernobyl disaster, Pripyat was the neighbouring town that housed many of the power plants workers and their families. The disaster makes for a unique landscape, with the exclusion zone measuring 19 miles. Over the past 27 years, since it’s evacuation in 1986, Pripyat has only been accessed by a handful of scientists and government officials making for an incredible scene of nature reclaiming the land. Many scientists have taken insight from this disaster, creating an approximate timeline for a post-apocalyptic world which is essentially what the Chernobyl disaster created on a small scale. Many of the buildings are in ruins and the scenes of a Ferris wheel from the towns amusement park has become an iconic image. The aftermath of the disaster caused terminal illness for many of the residents. The future of the site is unknown, but a small group of former residents are campaigning to have the site turned into a “museum city”.
Captains Quarters: The abode of former leader of the diamond mining company who lived in Kolmanskop
Diamonds are the creator of this fascinating ghost town located in the Namib Desert. After a railway worker discovered a diamond in 1908, his German supervisor alerted the German Authorities who immediately moved into the area and claimed it as “sperrgebiet”. The next 46 years were spent developing the area as more German nationals inhabited the site. The area was built in traditional German style, making for an intriguing visual experience that is still popular with tourists to this day. The area once boasted a theatre, hospital, ballroom, school, bowling alley and casino but all the amenities gradually disappeared as the resources dried up. The town was eventually deserted in 1958 and has been somewhat reclaimed by the sands of the desert.
The environment we live in is a complex network of human cause and effect actions. These areas of the world that have been affected in some way by our endeavour to expand and develop the way we live. The environment is sensitive to human development and has to be treated in such a way that respects this, if you would like to learn more about our environment there are Environmental Awareness QCF courses available for this.