We all have a favourite place to visit – from theme parks to landmarks to architectural wonders. But what will happen to those famed spots in 10, 20 or even 100 years? Only time will tell. Unfortunately for these abandoned tourist attractions, time was not on their side. Claimed (or reclaimed) by nature's fury, human accidents and poor economic luck, 13 tourist spots will probably never return to their former glory.
Yashima Resort Town, Japan
Yashima is a high, open plateau on one of the main islands of Japan. When the economy was booming in the 1980s, investors decided to build a resort village for tourists. The village boasted half a dozen hotels, shops and a rail line to the top peak of the city. However, when the economy took a dive, the resort town couldn’t bring in the dollars needed to continue operating and the entire village was shut down.
Sanzhi UFO Houses, San Zhi, Taiwan
The Sanzhi UFO Houses, or pod houses, were built in 1978 as part of a luxurious vacation resort. Located in a part of the northern coast, they were marketed towards United States military officers. The project was abandoned in 1980 due to investment losses and a large number of eerie car accident deaths and suicides during construction. Many feel that the location is haunted.
Pripyat Amusement Park, Pripyat, Ukraine
Slated to open on May 1, 1986, this amusement park never reach its full splendour due to the devastating Chernobyl disaster a few kilometers away on April 26. The park opened early on April 27 to provide some amusement to Pripyat residents before evacuation notices were delivered. The park has now become a symbol of the deadly disaster.
Ryugyong Hotel, Pyongyang, North Korea
Like with many tourist attractions that close, the hotel’s construction was abandoned during a time of economic crisis. Workers began building the 105-story pyramid-shaped skyscraper in 1987, but halted in 1992 after the fall of the Soviet Union. In 2008, construction resumed again but has not been completed. Although the hotel may look finished from the outside, the inside is largely incomplete.
Six Flags Jazzland, New Orleans, Louisiana
Six Flags New Orleans (SFNO) closed shortly before the fatal Hurricane Katrina struck in August 2005 and has remained closed since then. Owned by the City of New Orleans, there have been various plans announced to revive the site. However, as of today, it remains in complete disrepair.
Gulliver’s Travels Park, Kawaguchi, Japan
One of many abandoned amusement parks in Japan, Gulliver’s Kingdom operated from 1997-2001. The failed theme park was based on Jonathan Swift’s classic tail, but closed due to poor ticket sales. Some speculate that the park’s lack of success was due to its close proximity to Aokigarah, Japan’s infamous “Suicide Forest”.
Disney’s Discovery Island, Lake Buena Vista, Florida
Discovery Island, an 11.5 acre island, was once a thriving tourist destination from 1974-1999 as part of Walt Disney World in Bay Lake, Florida. At the island, guests could observe many species of animals and birds. Following its closure, the animals were relocated at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Although a reason for closing is unknown for sure, the decision may have been due to a change in Florida laws.
Holy Land USA, Waterbury, Connecticut
Holy Land USA is a theme park inspired by Bible passages. At 18 acres, it consists of a chapel, stations of the cross, replicas of catacombs, bathtubs, and other discards. The park attracted up to 40,000 visitors each year during its peak in the 1960s and 1970s. Since its closure, the land and monuments saw much vandalism and it has fallen into a state of disrepair.
Overgrown Sections, Great Wall, China
Voted one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Great Wall of China stretches across 11 Chinese provinces and sees millions of visitors annually. It’s 6,400kim long, and as you can imagine, a structure of its immense size and age requires massive upkeep. Parts of the wall that are away from tourist destinations such as Beijing have been allowed to return to nature due to maintenance costs.
1984 Winter Olympics, Sarajevo, Yugoslavia
Held in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia, the 1984 Winter Olympics took place from February 8-19. Like with many Olympic events, the sporting games saw thousands of visitors during the 8 day period they ran. The games were held just a decade before the city was put under siege in the Bosnian war and, while the city continues to recover, many of its Olympic venues remain abandoned.
Abandoned Resort on Bunaken Island, Indonesia
Bunaken Island is world-renowned for its biodiversity and attracts scuba divers from all over the globe. With such popularity, it’s a bit strange to find an abandoned resort in its midst. Located at the northern tip of Sulawesi, Indonesia, the resort may have been deserted due to economic downturn at some point.
Varosha Resort, Cyprus
Varosha is a ghost town located in Northern Cyprus that, prior to the Turkish invasion in 1974, was a booming tourist area in Famagusta. The inhabitants fled during the invasion to avoid death, and the town has remained abandoned ever since. During its peak, popular resort hotels housed many guests. Now, those buildings are in dismal condition.
Phnom Bokor, Kampot Province, Cambodia
Fully abandoned by 1972, Phnom Bokor was built in the 1920s as a resort by colonial French settlers to offer an escape from the infamous Cambodian heat. The crown jewel of the resort was the Bokor Palace Hotel & Casino, complemented by shops, a post office, church and other cultural amenities. Sadly, nine hundred lives were lost in nine months during the construction of the resort in its remote mountain location.