Forgotten Landscapes: Exploring Hauntingly Beautiful Ghost Towns

By Jack Ripley | May 1, 2024

Craco, Italy

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Craco is an example of a town abandoning people, as opposed to people abandoning a town. Craco was a beautiful village perched on an idyllic hillside, first settled in sixth century AD by Greeks. Buildings climbed up the side of the hill, sitting almost one on top of the other. While picturesque, it was dangerous because of the location. Craco suffered constant earthquakes and landslides. The ground was sliding out from under the village more and more each year. The villagers finally took the message and left before they suffered any further devastation. 

Kowloon Walled City, Hong Kong

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(atlas obscura)

The last ghost town on this list went from being the most densely populated city on earth to being totally abandoned. At the height of its population Kowloon had 50,000 inhabitants on a mere 6.5 acres of land. Kowloon was a twisting, multilayered, disorganized, homegrown settlement that arose from refugees seeking governmental protection after World War II. By staying in the bounds of the ancient Walled City, inhabitants felt more secure and had access to protection. In spite of efforts to tear it down, residents continued to return. Finally, in 1994, Hong Kong officials demolished the city.