50 Startling Photos of Abandoned Places Around the World

By Sophia Maddox | February 6, 2024

The "Chicken Church" of Java

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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Gereja Ayam, also known under its alternative moniker The Chicken Church of Java, sits abandoned near Magelang. This peculiar underground temple is set against a dense and unrelenting Indonesian jungle. Built by Daniel Alamsjah in the 1990s, the divinely inspired monument served as a worshiping space for followers of his religion.


After a series of financial obstacles and resistance among locals, the structure was ultimately left unfinished and surrendered under the weight of its own wings to the surrounding jungle. Originally intended as a dove, the temple found new life as stories of it circulated the internet. The whimsical Chicken Church of Java is now decked with jewel tiling and cloud-painted ceilings. This dream-like religious monument contains 12 prayer rooms in its catacombs. Early-bird visitors can pay to tour the structure and watch the sunrise from the crown of the chicken-shaped temple.

Majestic Fantasy Meets Reality at the Abandoned Castles of Burj Al Babas, Turkey

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An unexpected view from lush and verdant Turkish countryside near Mudurnu, the castles of Burj Al Babas appear as if out of an ancient fairytale. This surreal development of virtually hundreds of min-castles was imagined as a luxury housing project for wealthy international investors. The project broke ground in 2014, aiming for a blend of contemporary grandiosity and Old World luxury.

The homes were constructed in the Neo-Gothic style with pointed spires and ornate classical facades. The well-manicured surrounding landscape displayed hints of social extravagance and financial distinction. A struggling economy and the developer's bankruptcy brought this once-fanciful dream to an unexpected halt, leaving the expanse unfinished. The skeletal chateaus are still there, providing a surreal vista of wonderment and reflection over this once-ambitious real estate endeavor.