50 Startling Photos of Abandoned Places Around the World

By Sophia Maddox | January 16, 2024

This Scene at Holland Island, Maryland, Shows the Final Vestiges of a Sinking Chesapeake Bay Legacy

Come along on a trip around the world with us to visit some of the most visually stunning and occasionally haunting abandoned spaces. Each breathtaking image reflects a historically significant location once brimming with life and purpose.

Today, the following monuments stand alone as a signifier of bygone eras. From ancient fairytale-like palaces to forgotten covert military infrastructure, these abandoned buildings are a stark reminder of time's fleeting nature.

 

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The Washington Post / Getty Images

Holland Island in the Chesapeake Bay reveals how quickly the relentless elements of the coastal wilderness can overtake human habitation. The island once supported a thriving community of fishermen and agriculturalists alike. Scores of attractive homes and peaceful shops were scattered over the islane, which included a small local church.

The sea eventually became too much for this fragile splinter of land, as residents could no longer battle the intense winds, waves, and slow erosion that began to whittle away at the island’s shorelines. By the early 20th century, despite several efforts to protect the land, erosive forces accelerated, and the community eventually retreated in search of more stable ground.

Indonesia’s Locomotive Graveyard Is Reminiscent of the Nation’s Global Steam Era

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Future Publishing/Getty Images

Behind the grasslands of Purwakarta lies a cadre of somber locomotives, many of which trace back to the early 20th century. The desolate resting place for these once-majestic engineering marvels powered Indonesia’s early industrial era. Today, these machines are scarcely supported by their own hulking steel frames. They sit rusted and stripped of the bustling lifeblood that once powered these robust industrial pieces of machinery through the Indonesian countryside.
 

This eerie gravesite for retired engines exists as a lasting, if haunting, memorial of rail travel's Golden Age.