There's something simultaneously eerie and beautiful about. You almost feel voyeuristic in a sense—like you're witnessing a very intimate piece of someone else's life. Though abandoned buildings and towns can often turn decrepit, the following spots (albeit somewhat weathered over time), are some of the most striking we've ever seen.
A drought in south Mexico has caused water levels surrounding this 450-year-old church to drop approximately 80 feet. Though the circumstances aren't exactly something to celebrate, they've allowed the temple that's usually hidden below the water to emerge—a stunning-yet-eerie reminder of how things are not always what they seem.
Despite being in existence since 540, much of this town's population evacuated during the 20th century due to poor agriculture, a landslide in 1963, and a flood in 1972. Now it's an ancient site so striking that is even that has served as the set for movies like The Passion of the Christ.
This flooded church of Saint Nicholas sits in the Mavorvo Lake in Macedonia. The destruction was actually intentional. The lake was created to support a power plant, and the church and surrounding village were merely caught in the wake of progress. What's left is an eerie juxtaposition of the dilapidated building against the lovely landscape.
This fishing village on China's Yangtze River isn't your average forgotten town — its lush buildings covered in ivy and greenery is surprisingly tranquil and striking. The Chinese website where they first surfaced called the area the "Wizard of Oz's dream."
Built in 1866, thisin Belgium was intended to be a summer home, but the designer died before its completion in 1907. Afterwards, it was taken over by Nazis during World War II, served as a summer camp for 20 years, and finally, in 1991, was abandoned because it was too costly to maintain.
Located in South Andaman, India, this island was once a British administrative center for the Indian Penal Settlement. However, after it was abandoned it became overgrown with wild Ficus and now it has a stunning Jungle Book vibe.
This theme park was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Murky water rose as high as six feet and salt water damaged 80 percent of the rides, leaving it too expensive to restore. What's left behind is like the funhouse version of a theme park — and a strangely beautiful monument to the vibrant city once destroyed by tragedy.
While this was once a lush island occupied by many people, in the 1930s it was evacuated because of the threat of starvation and harsh weather. Now, abandoned stone structures are speckled across the fields.
Just off of the coast of Marco Island in Cape Romano, Florida, is a structure that looks like an abandoned alien space craft, but in reality it was once a vacation home that has since been destroyed by hurricanes. Now, the declining coastline makes it unsalvageable.
The Berlin Historic District was founded in 1897 as part of the mining boom, but never saw the success of other nearby towns and was largely abandoned by 1911. It's now part of a Nevada State Park.
This town was founded in the Namib desert in 1908 when a man found a diamond in the area, but was abandoned in 1954 after resources were exhausted. The homes that were left are now filled high with sand — a strange, yet striking, sight to behold.
This Scottish castle was built in the mid-1400s and housed some of the most powerful people in the country. However, it was abandoned in the 1700s, and is now one of the most photographed castles, because of it's (obviously) striking location.
A town nestled in the Taurus Mountains was deserted in the 1920s because of a political population exchange with Greece. Today, there are around 350 abandoned homes in the city.
This SS Ayrfield was built in 1911 and retired in 1972 in the Homebush Bay, which is west of Sydney and basically a ship graveyard. But it's unique to the other abandoned vessels, because it's since sprouted majestic mangrove trees and greenery.
While the history of this decrepit mansion nestled in the mountains of Lake Como is not certain, locals believe it was built in the 1800s, and according to rumors, it was abandoned after a murder or suicide.
Located in the Black Forest in Germany, this church was first built in 1192 and has been struck by lightening and burnt up to three times since—which is why it was eventually left in its current form as ruins.
This famous temple in Angkor Wat, Cambodia, was abandoned after the fall of the empire in the 17th century and—after hundreds of years of neglect—became one with the jungle. Today, the ruins are looked after in order to stabilize and maintain the temple.
These forts were created to protect the Kent, England shores from a German attack during World War II. Afterward, they were decommissioned in 1950, briefly served as radio stations for pirates, and are now abandoned completely.
This Roscoe, New York castle was designed by architect Bradford L. Gilbert for his Scottish wife, Anna Dundas. However, Gilbert died and Dundas was committed to a sanatorium before its completion, so they never got a chance to live in it—but some say Dundas' ghost still roams the halls.
This moated castle was built in the 14th century in East Sussex, England by a knight looking to protect the area against the French in the Hundred Years' War. But after surviving several wars, it was abandoned, and today it serves as a tourist attraction that's open to the public.
You might be surprised by the location of this gorgeous church: Gary, Indiana. It cost $1 million to build in 1926 and once had a congregation of more than 3,000, thanks to the booming steel town, but as employment declined and crime rose, the church dwindled and was abandoned in 1980.
Opened in 1928, this Colombian hotel catered to tourists visiting the nearby waterfall. It was closed down in the early 90s, and today stands abandoned. Many people believe it to be haunted.
Recognize this gorgeous building? That's because it was used in Eminen's movie, 8 Mile. The Detroit train station, built in 1913, ultimately closed up shop in 1988.
It's a rare sight to find NYC subways empty, so this abandoned City Hall stop proves how beautiful they actually are when not swarmed by masses of people. Since this stations curve made it unsafe for newer, longer trains, it was closed in 1945.
This house was all that's left of what was once a small island colony in the Chesapeake Bay. Thanks to erosion of the island's coast, inhabitants were pushed off the island. This house ultimately collapsed as well in 2010.
Often said to be the best ghost town in the West, the former mining town in the Sierra Nevadas feels frozen in time. Visitors can stroll the deserted streets, peek in the windows of the church, schoolhouse, barbershop, and saloon, and scope out the several old relics that still remain in tact today.
This now-abandoned lighthouse in Russia was built by the Japanese in 1939. After much conflict, the Russians annexed it during World War 2.
The former international railway station in the Spanish Pyrenees was overtaken by warfare, the Nazis, and ultimately, a train accident, which led to its abandonment in 1970.
This castle was intended to be used as storage for American military supplies after the war with the Spanish, but in 1920, 200 pounds of ammunition went off, leaving it mostly destroyed.
Due to its immense size and cost of upkeep, parts of the Great Wall of China have fallen into disrepair. Wild overgrowths now fill the walkways with thick shrubs, grass, and weeds.