Nothing is immune to the passage of time. With its passing comes decline and decay, but it's in these wounds that the stories of what once was are told. With that in mind here are ten of the most fascinating abandoned locations around the world.
Kolmanskop - Namibia
In the dry barren landscape of the Namib Desert lies the ghost town of Kolmanskop. The town was established in the 19th century as German settlers were cashing in on a diamond boom. By 1912 the area yielded one million carats of diamonds - nearly 12% of the world's entire production. The wealth borne from this meant that despite its desert location the settlers could afford every European luxury. The town had a ballroom, power station, school, skittle-alley, theatre, sports hall, casino, ice factory and the first x-ray-station in the southern hemisphere, as well as the first tram in Africa. The beginning of WWI interrupted mining in the area and afterwards it became clear that deposits were being depleted. By the 1930s the area was in decline and the last three families left in 1956. What is left is a stunning snapshot of history as the desert slowly reclaims the splendid colonial homes that sit knee deep amid the rolling dunes.
Buzludzha - Bulgaria
Built on the site of a final battle between Bulgarian rebels and the Ottomans in the 19th century the Buzludzha was purpose built as the house of the Bulgarian Communist Party. The building only saw use between 1981-91 and was abandoned following the collapse of the Soviet Union. The huge flying saucer shaped structure required the levelling of a mountain top with TNT and cost roughly 35 million dollars to build. An archetypal example of brutalist communist architecture the building dominates the landscape and is just as alien on the inside. 35 tons worth of mosaics were installed across the building which are now in varying states of decay adding to the eerie atmosphere in the vast structure. There are plans to refurbish the building, so it's worth a visit before it loses its mysterious allure.
Pripyat - Ukraine
50,000 people used to live here, now it's a ghost town. That's right the Ukranian town of Pripyat used to be the home of thousands who lived near the Chernobyl Nuclear Power plant. Following the devastating nuclear meltdown of the plant in 1986 the entire area had to be evacuated and a permanent exclusion zone established. What is left is a city trapped in time and looks very much like a set from a post-apocalyptic horror film. Perhaps the most curious part of the town is the abandoned amusement park which still has its Ferris wheel that is known to creak in the silence of the dead city. For anyone curious about this ghost town brief visits to the zone are possible through guided tours available from Kiev. A trip to Pripyat will allow you to take in the sights of a town that was emptied in only days and will remain so for thousands of years to come.
Ross Island - India
This island was originally established as the residential headquarters of a penal colony by the British in the 1800s. They built a number of buildings including the grand Chief Commissioner's house and the Presbyterian Church which was built with such high quality wood that it has survived the onslaught of the Indian climate for over 100 years. During WWII the Japanese occupied the island and converted it into a POW camp with multiple bunkers and a tunnel system that you can explore to this day. After the war the island was abandoned to the elements but it's still only a short boat trip to make a visit. Nowadays the island has become overgrown with wild Ficus which merges the buildings with the forest and makes it look like something more akin to the Jungle Book than a Penal colony.
Uyuni Train Cemetery - Bolivia
Nicknamed the 'Great Train Graveyard' this heap of antique trains abandoned on the edge of one of the worlds biggest salt flats is breathtaking. In the late 1800s British engineers constructed a railway network in the area to transport the minerals being mined from the Andes mountains. During the 1940s the minig industry collapsed due to mineral depletion. Many of the trains were no longer needed and were abandoned outside Uyuni. Now the salt plane has rusted away many of the carcasses of the locomotives leaving a graveyard of steam engines that once travelled all the way across Bolivia.