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Kolmanskop, Namibia

Kolmanskop, Namibia
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Komanskop was once an affluent mining village that owed its riches to the world’s never-ending need for diamond engagement rings. After World War II, the diamonds became increasingly scarce and by the 1950s the mine was depleted. With no way to earn a living, the residents eventually moved away and the abandoned city is now a tourist attraction.

Hallsands, United Kingdom

Hallsands, United Kingdom
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The people in the small town of Hallsands were minding their business one evening in 1917 when the entire village – save for one house – collapsed and fell into the sea. The residents were left homeless and rebuilt elsewhere. Today the remains of the village of Hallsands are under the sea.

Centralia, Pennsylvania

Centralia, Pennsylvania
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Centralia was a tiny town whose residents relied on coal mining to make their living. Then in 1962, a fire made its way into a coal seam – and has continued to burn for 50 years. In 1981 a young boy was almost killed falling through a sinkhole caused by the fire, prompting congress to buy out the remaining residents to give them the means to relocate. There were a few holdouts, leading the state of Pennsylvania to condemn all the remaining buildings and strip Centralia of its postcode in 1992 to encourage the remaining residents to move. Despite this, a church still stands in Centralia and is open to all who seek a place to worship.

San Juan Parangaricutiro, Mexico

San Juan Parangaricutiro, Mexico
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San Juan Parangaricutiro was a thriving community until the Paricutin volcano erupted in 1943, covering the city in lava and ash. The volcano continued to erupt for eight years, completely decimating all except the tower and altar of the city’s church. Today, the half-buried church is a major tourist attraction.

Find out everything you need to know about volcanoes here.

Pripyat, Ukraine

Pripyat, Ukraine
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The nuclear disaster in Chernobyl led to the downfall of the once vibrant city of Pripyat when tens of thousands of people were forced to abandon their homes, never to return.  Today, Pripyat is an abandoned city full of overgrown vegetation and crumbling high rises.

Find out which forbidden places no one will ever be allowed to visit.

Cahokia, Illinois

Cahokia, Illinois
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Today Cahokia is the name of a village in Illinois but there was a time when the area was the site of an industrious indigenous community and the biggest city north of Mexico. It was abandoned around 1350, although no one knows why. They did, however, leave behind the famous Cahokia Mounds, which you can still go and visit today.

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Lukangol, Sudan

Lukangol, Sudan
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Lukangol was a bustling city until ethnic clashes led to a horrifying massacre in 2011. Fortunately, nearly 20,000 people were able to flee before the attack, but there was nevertheless a severe loss of life. The city itself was burnt to ashes and the citizens of Kukangol were unable to return.

Taxila, Pakistan

Taxila, Pakistan
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The ancient city of Taxila, Pakistan flourished from the 5th century BCE until the 2nd century CE. It was an important site for the scholarship and practice of Buddhism and the architecture reflected the influence of Persian, Greek and Central Asian cultures. Unfortunately, the Epthlatites invaded and destroyed most of the city. It was never rebuilt and subsequently abandoned by its people. Its awe-inspiring ruins still remain today.

Nan Madol, Federated States of Micronesia

Nan Madol, Federated States of Micronesia
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Ancient architects pulled off some pretty amazing feats, but perhaps none were more mind-boggling than Nan Madol, a city built on top of coral reefs. The columns and stones are so heavy and imposing that even today, scientists have yet to figure out how it was built. The city was the centre of the Saudeleur Dynasty until the first part of the 1600s when the Saudeleur were overthrown and the site was abandoned.

Easter Island

Easter Island
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Easter Island is one of the seven wonders of the world, and for good reason. Originally known as Rapa Nui, the island is about as remote as you can get. It’s located 3700 km from South America and 1700 km from the next nearest island. To this day, scientists can’t explain when Easter Island was populated, how the citizens built its heavy stone statues, or why and how everyone left.

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