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The Gap Year Blog

Top 5 Abandoned Places

10 Mar 2017 16:20 PM

1. Floating Forest, Sydney

An abandoned 107-year-old ship floats on the waters of Hombush Bay in Sydney. The SS Ayrfield steam collier was used during the Second World War for transporting supplies to troops. It was one of many 20th century ships brought to the bay for demolition but its fate was different. The ship-breaking yard operations stopped and many large watercrafts were left behind including the 1,140-ton SS Ayrfield.  However, this ‘wreckage’ stands out from the rest on the bay. Fully grown mangrove trees and other wonderful species of vegetation have sprouted from the vessel giving the ship its well-deserved title as the floating forest. Beautiful stems of green foliage wrap around the rusted steel. If this was a test of nature, then nature has surely shown won.  Nothing can get in the way of the earths capacity to grow and survive.

Flickr | Jason Baker

2. Wonderland Amusement Park

Amusement parks have to be one of the most fascinating pieces of construction to view abandoned. Wonderland was meant to be Asia’s largest amusement park. The park was situated in Chenzhuang Village just outside Beijing.  Planners stopped construction of the park in 1998. A decade later they tried to work on the site again but failed. The park was never even open to the public and many structures remained for curious sightseers. Medieval buildings and an almost magical looking castle stood tall behind the gates. Farmers were allowed to return to the fields and grew their crops within the framework. In 2013, the park was demolished. For anyone that returns to the site now, all that can be seen is the dull remains of a colourless tower in a lifeless field.

Flickr | Joe Wolf

3. Pripyat 

The Ukranian town of Pripyat has been deserted for over three decades now. In April of 1986, 50,000 people were evacuated from their homes after what is now known as the Chernyobl disaster. One of the four reactors at the nearby Chernobyl nuclear plant exploded and emitted dangerous radioactive chemicals into the atmosphere. These high levels of radiation continued to enter the area for around 9 days in a chemical ‘fire’.  The surrounding trees died and the area soon became known as the “red forest’ due to the orange pigmentation.  Schools and homes have been left to decay in the city.  A fairground stands still in the heart of the city; it’s Ferris wheel frozen in time.  Evacuees were told to take very little with them as they thought they would soon return. People’s belongings can be found scattered throughout the buildings.


Flickr | tofoli.douglas

Wildlife has now begun to return. Wolves and black bears run amongst the ghost town. As dangerous and creepy as it all may sound, this chilling city is now a hot spot for tourists. 10,000 people visit Pripyat and Cherrnyobl each year on short day tours to catch a glimpse of what’s left of the area. It may sound like a peculiar vacation as the area will not be safe for humans to live in for another 20,000 years.

4. Penn Hills Honeymoon Resort 


Flickr | Jason Eppink

Once a beautiful honeymoon resort in the Pocono Mountains of Analomink in Pennsylvania; the Penn Hills Resort closed in 2009.  The hotel was booming with life in the 60s and 70s. It had its own ski resort and golf course, bringing in lots of young couples during the summer. Regardless of how popular it was, as holidays abroad got cheaper, less and less Americans began to check in. The resort was closed within 2 months of Frances Paolillo’s, the co-founder’s, death. Employees were never paid and due to a large debt to the state the retreat was abandoned. Today, those who wander within the grounds and rooms have captured what’s left of the Penn Hills.

Nature is taking over the hotels rooms from outside as trees scramble up the walls. Eerie sights await those that are brave enough to explore inside. Dead plants wither in rooms, artificial leaves hang off the walls and a swimming pool stands still with a body of green moss floating on the unearthly waters. Mattresses remain in the rooms without bedding. Lamps, tables and chairs sit lonely. There are also red heart-shaped bathtubs empty and desolate. Vandalism and loneliness are all that is left. Somewhere that brought love to many now lacks any care at all.


5. Underwater City of Shi Cheng

Also known as the Lion City, Shicheng sits at the foot of a mountain below the waters of Qiandao Lake. The ancient city stretches over 220 square miles and is over 1,800 years old. Temples, memorial arches and ancient statues all lay well-preserved 130 feet underwater. Long, wide streets and gates are still in tact too. It may look like something out of a fairy-tale but this mysterious underwater city is no accident. In 1959, Shicheng was purposefully flooded to allow for a hydroelectric power plant. The city and its rich history were forgotten for 53 years as it vanished beneath the waves. Today, more and more people are plunging into the deep and uncovering its beauty. Its cryptic engravings and alluring monuments make it a divers paradise. 


Wikimedia Commons

There are so many deserted spots to explore and much more to be rediscovered. Why don’t you see what you can find? All you need to do is go out searching for it; the earth is full of mysteries.





By Simone Kelly - Online Journalism Intern