Beautiful places that have been deserted and forgotten

Imagine up and leaving your hometown never to return again - that's what happened in these ghost towns and lost cities.

They were once thriving and home to many inhabitants but are now left deserted and forgotten.

From sprawling cities that were home to thousands of people to a coal mine that is now occupied by just one inhabitant, these unique places are revealed as some of the most beautiful empty towns from around the world.

The desolate medieval village of Craco, in southern Italy, has been used as the setting for many films, including Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, while Bodie, in California, has been preserved in exactly the same way it was when residents left there in the 1960s.

The only way to get to China's Lion City is by scuba diving 130ft underwater and if you wish to visit the Pyramiden village in Norway you'll have to travel on a snowmobile from a town 31 miles away.

Mandu in India was abandoned by its people and last inhabited over 400 years ago while there are still some people living in the Unesco World Heritage Site of Chinguetti in Mauritania in Africa.

Craco, Italy  

The ghost town of Craco, Italy is situated in the south of the country and has been left completely uninhabited

The medieval village of Craco, often described as the most beautiful abandoned city, was built so that its inhabitants could watch over the surrounding land

The beautiful and unique landscape means Craco has been the setting for many films, including The Passion of the Christ and Quantum of Solace

The last of Craco’s residents left the city between 1892 and 1922 for America due to poor agricultural conditions, landslides, earthquakes and floods
Mandu, India

Occupied between 1401 and 1561, the former capital city of Mandu is found in the south of India in Madhya Pradesh

Within the city, visitors to the can see the ancient royal palace along with a wide selection of other amazing ruins including temples, tombs, mosques and monuments

An elaborate mihrab sits in the Jama Masjid, a huge mosque that is part of the fortress complex of the abandoned city of Mandu
Bodie, California

Wild west: Bodie, an abandoned gold-mining town in the US state of California, is now known as Bodie National State Park

Bodie general store: What still remains of the town has been so well preserved visitors can still find interior decoration of the time and items still on shelves

When the gold ran out all the mines were closed and everyone left to seek other work as there were no other industries to support the inhabitants
Chinguetti, Mauritania, Africa 

unded in the 11th and 12th centuries, the ancient town of Chinguetti was originally built to serve the important caravan trade routes that began crossing the Sahara

Although Chinguetti is not a completely abandoned city there are beautiful examples of Sharan architecture and many ancient scientific and Qur’anic texts to be found

Due to the temperamental weather and ever encroaching desert several buildings to the west of the city had to be abandoned, creating the feel of a ghost town
Lion City, China 

Lion City in China is located beneath Qiangdao Lake in Zhejiang province. Built over 1,300 years ago in the Dong Han period (25-200CE), it was abandoned in 1959

Beneath the surface of the lake in the eerie blue of the water, ornate lion statues continue to ‘guard’ submerged Lion City in China

The Chinese government chose to flood Lion City in order to use the area for the Xin’an River Dam project

The city was once a political and economic hub for eastern China but after authorities built the man-made Qiandao Lake in 1959, it is now nowhere to be seen
Pyramiden, Norway 

Built in 1910, Pyramiden, named after a nearby pyramid-shaped mountain, was a small mining town with a population of 1,000

In 1917, after being bought by Russia, the village began to rapidly expand and the coal mining industry flourished, however by 1998 the island was deserted

Once home to over 1,000 inhabitants, the settlement was abandoned - apart from one Russian tour guide - when the last of the coal was mined in 1998 

Visitors can walk through a ghost town intact with high-rise buildings, the town’s indoor swimming pool, library and theatre

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