A wasteland is a ugly place, barely inhabitable. Yet some of the most incredible wastelands today have seen the roar of human civilization at one time. Many of them were created because people abandoned those places due of war or loss of interest. Today these wilderness have turned into ghost towns and cities where nothing grows and no one lives. Here are 10 incredible wastelands on earth:
10. South Sweden
Note that although South Sweden come at number in the list of 10 incredible wastelands on earth, the whole of south Sweden isn’t a wasteland nor abandoned. A large parts of the woods in the three provinces Småland, Halland and Skåne (Also called Scania) got destroyed by the 2005 hurricane called “Gudrun”. An estimated quarter of a billion trees had fallen due to strong winds. “The Hurricane Gudrun” or in Swedish, “Orkanen Gudrun”, however, didn’t do any serious damage to any cities and only a few people got injured and killed following the hurricane. Many people’s houses got their roofs ripped off though. We should also mention that the hurricane didn’t only affect Sweden, but also Denmark, Finland Estonia and even Russia. It were however, most powerful in Sweden. What’s cool though about this whole thing is that a lot of the fallen trees were actually stacked up in a giant pile. The pile was to become around 2.3 kilometers long, 60 meters wide and 13 meters high.
9. Six Flags New Orleans
For those who haven’t, here’s the background. So, Six Flags New Orleans was an amusement park in New Orleans, Louisiana. Unfortunately for all the wild, curious and playful kids it got destroyed and abandoned because of the 2005 hurricane “Katrina” in 2005. The park has since then become a very creepy place and a popular “studio” for graffiti artists.
Katrina was as mentioned a hurricane that for the most parts effected four US states – Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida to be exact. The amounts of deaths caused by “Katrina” is different depending on sources, but is estimated to be around 1,000. Multiple people also got missing and many lost their homes. It was a very tragic disaster with many consequences.
8. The Aral Sea
The Aral Sea used to be a giant lake located at the Uzbekistan-Kazakhstan border. Due to The Soviet Union’s cotton plantation blocking water from entering the lake it has dried out and there is today almost no water left in The Aral Sea. There are fishing boats left on its ground, looking like a graveyard for fishing-boats. The fact that the lake have dried up is also a serious economic issue for a lot of fishers in this region. The lake had dried up in just a couple of decades leaving the fishing industry to doom.
Now comes Oradour-Sur-Glane – an incredible wastelands located in south France. Now, just like most other items on this list, this isn’t really a giant “wasteland” of a thousand square-miles or something. What was once a village, the place has the look of an impact made on ground by a giant bomb. This is not the case, however. The houses are in half and the cars are without wheels and interior. This really makes the village look “dead”.
The real story behind this village goes back to 1944 during World War II. The city got occupied and destroyed by the Nazis. Everyone was killed – men, women and also children. If we were to believe a website fully dedicated to the massacre and the village, 642 inhabitants were killed. There is still no exact explanation to why the Nazis did this. The village has stayed uninhabited since this event, but the village still has its own municipality.
The well-known war in Syria has not just destroyed many people’s lives but also many cities leaving the large parts of the country in ruins. This city, however, looks like something taken right from a “Fallout” game. Kobanî is located in the autonomous region of Rojava, Syria and have a population of around 40,000. The city was control by the Islamic State during the final half of 2014. Most residents fled to Turkey, because of its location being very close to the border. If we were to believe sources, 200 civilians got killed by ISIS soldiers during the take and retake of the city. When the Kurdish fighters successfully retook the city in earlier 2015, 60 ISIS members also got killed.
A lot of the residents later came back to the city and are they are now working on rebuilding it. This was obviously a very tragic event done by ISIS and sadly, this is still happening in many parts of the country today. Kobanî came at number 6 in the list of 10 incredible wastelands.
This city, unlike others on this list, actually got destroyed by a volcano. Mount Vesuvius is a volcano located near Pompeii, as well as Naples in southern Italy. The volcano has had many eruptions, but the one to bury the city of Pompeii is the most well-know and largest. Two thousand years ago the city got buried by the ashes which ended up preserving buildings, as well as skeletons. Today, when the ashes are gone, you can clearly see the ruins of this ancient city. Keep in mind that this event happened thousands of years ago which makes it fascinating that it have been preserved the way it has. Today, Pompeii has become a popular tourist location for the Naples area.
The city is believed to have been built around the 8-9th century B.C. by the Oscan people. This is unlike other ancient cities nearby that were mostly founded by the Greeks.
4. Hashima Island
Hashima – one of the most incredible wastelands on earth today, is actually an island located just a few miles south of Nagasaki, one of the two cities that were nuclear bombed in 1945 by the US Army before the ending of World War II. The nuclear bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima are not the reason of the abandoning of this spooky island, though. The island actually had a giant coal mine. Therefore a lot of mine workers lived there together with their families. The island actually had around 5,000 residents near the end of its active period which made the island one of the most densely populated place per square meters in the world.
However, the island was abandoned in 1974 after being active and populated for almost a century, because of the coal mine closing. It obviously had no need after that and is now a creepy “ghost island”.
Kolmanskop was a small dessert town in southern Namibia. It’s a very popular tourist attraction and would probably be even more popular if it wasn’t located in the middle of the desert. Kolmanskop is today an area of houses buried in sand and old cars that look blown-up.
Zacharias Lewala was a rail worker in Namibia. While working in the area where Kolmanskop later was established, he found a rock which he believed was a diamond. This of course made many people curious and many wanted to find their own diamonds. People started moving into the area and thus created a small society. Together they are known as “Kolmanskop”. When after the First World War when the diamond sales dropped, the town got abandoned.
Note that almost all areas that look like a barren land have been abandoned and for something to be abandoned, someone must have lived there. Ağdam, was a city located in Azerbaijan. It is the largest abandoned city on this list and is believed to be the largest abandoned city in the world. Ağdam used to have a population of around 150,000 people. It may look like an old, ancient city if you look up pictures of it, but it wasn’t too long ago that it the city was abandoned.
During the Nagorno-Karabakh War in the 1990s, people fled the area leaving the city in ruins. Today its a complete ghost town, though some sources say there are a few people that still lives in the city. Even if the city is empty and abandoned, it still gets represented in the Azerbaijan Premier League. The soccer players who play for the team does not live in the city though.
Pripyat tops the list of the most incredible wastelands and rightfully so. It is exactly what you call a “ghost town”. It is located in northern Ukraine and was a victim of the 1986 Chernobyl accident. Most of you have probably already heard about Chernobyl, the city where a nuclear reactor exploded and caused the whole area around it (including Pripyat), to be 100% abandoned, meaning that absolutely no one lives there anymore.
As you might have guessed by now, Pripyat was a town nearby Chernobyl. It had around 50,000 residents before the area became highly radioactive by the nuclear reactor explosion. The reason we are putting Pripyat on the list and not Chernobyl is simply that Pripyat was a larger town with more residents and obviously also more houses. The town also had a hospital, school and even a Ferris wheel. The town has remained uninhabited since 1986 because of its high radiation level and visitors have to wear protection against radiation.
Top 10 Incredible Wastelands on Earth Today
- Hashima Island
- The Aral Sea
- Six Flags New Orleans
- South Sweden