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Whether caused by economic difficulties, natural disasters or human intervention, ghost towns have an undeniable allure. Some stand in time, preserving their stories, while others retain little of their former glory. Still, the unnerving silence and striking imagery is often enough to tease your imagination

Rhyolite, Nevada, USA

A quintessential American ghost town, Rhyolite is located in Bullfrog hills. The town rose to prominence during the gold rush of 1904, which declined just as dramatically as it had risen in 1916. Now all that is left is a a dilapidated building and a house made primarily of empty bottles, of which there was no shortage during the height of Rhyolite’s popularity.

 

How to get there

Rhyolite is around 2 hours away from Las Vegas by car. On your drive, you will pass the Goldwell Open Area Museum containing numerous sculptures.

Pompeii, Italy

A sprawling, haunting but unquestionably breath-taking spectacle, Pompeii is one of the world’s most renowned archaeological sites. Located in Campania, not far from Naples, Pompeii was engulfed by Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D, killing around 20,000 people and preserving the city to such an extent that it seems unreal.

 

How to get there

Pompeii is around half an hour from Naples by car. You can also get to Pompeii via the bus or train from Naples followed by a short walk to the site.

Spinalonga Island, Greece

This small, barren island off the coast of Crete has served numerous roles over many centuries, primarily because of its strategic location. Once a foreboding fortress, the island was later converted into a leper colony, known as one of the last to be active in Europe. Patients were treated here between 1903 and 1957 and the island was eventually abandoned in 1962 when the last resident, a priest, left the island forever.

 

How to get there

Spinalonga Island can be reached via a short boat ride from Elounda, Plaka or Agios Nikolaos.

Kayakoy, Turkey

Kayakoy was once a prosperous community, where both Anatolian Muslims and Greek Orthodox Christians lived peacefully. This all changed in 1923 following the Greco-Turkish War, when the Greek inhabitants were deported.

 

Around 500 crumbling houses, schools, shops, cafés and chapels remain as a reminder of happier times, an outdoor museum and monument to what could and should have been an endearing example of unity. Thankfully, the village is now under Government protection and can be explored at your own prerogative or as part of a tour from Fethiye.

 

How to get there

Kayakoy is around half an hour from Fethiye by car. Alternatively, buses run roughly every half an hour from Fethiye.

Port Arthur, Tasmania

There are no shortages of ghost towns in Australia, the most historically pertinent of which is Port Arthur in Tasmania. Between 1833 and 1853, Port Arthur was a destination for British offenders who had committed the worst crimes. The prison was also renowned for its use of psychological punishment. Despite the prison’s dark past, the surrounding area is beautiful, creating a surreal juxtaposition.

 

How to get there

Port Arthur is 90 minutes from Hobart by car, accompanied by stunning coastal views. There are also numerous stops along the way, including the Blowhole, Tasman’s Arch and the Devil’s Kitchen.

Jazirat Al Hamra, Ras Al Khaimah

Built by three local tribes in the 14th century, Jazirat Al Hamra is an abandoned village, widely believed to be haunted. Frozen in time and carpeted by sand, the inhabitants left the former pearl fishing village in the 60s, due to tribal conflicts and the promise of prosperity and safety in neighbouring lands.

 

Signs of life are everywhere here, but walking its roads to the main square, silent and serene is an unsettling experience.

 

How to get there

Jazirat Al Hamra is 30 minutes from central Ras Al Khaimah by car.

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