Our world is filled with mind-boggling and spectacular places. It’s quite easy to be stuck in our own little bubble and be oblivious to the huge and wonderful world outside. Luckily, the internet allows us to be aware of everything that exists around us.
The Internet has no borders or limitations and with just a few clicks, you can teleport yourself to any place on Earth. Would you believe that there are actual places on Earth that have been frozen in time? They exist and the photos only tell half the story.
1Hashima Island – The ghostly battlefield island of Japan
Hashima Island is also known as Battleship Island because of its unusual shape. From the top, it looks exactly like a battleship which is extraordinary in itself. What makes this particular island so surprising is the fact that it's entirely frozen in time.
The island is also a visual reminder of Japan’s dark past where people were forced to work in mines during the Second World War. At one point in time, there were almost 5259 people on the island. By 1974, the coal mines ran out and slowly the residents all moved away.
The entire island has been uninhabited ever since. Today, a small part of the island is opened for tourism.
2Doel, Belgium – The place where the past and the present meets
Doel is a 400-year-old village in Belgium abandoned for the last few decades. In the 1970’s, approximately 1300 people inhabited the town, but today, only about 25 residents call this village home.
The entire village was set for demolition to make way for development but that plan was halted making Doel one of the unique places on Earth.
Today, stunning graffiti artwork fill the streets of Doel, and the vibrant designs and colors lay in stark contrast to the construction style and layouts of the past, blending both times into one intoxicating experience.
3Pripyat, Ukraine – The ghost town of Chernobyl
Pripyat in Ukraine was founded in 1970. Initially, the entire town was inhabited mostly by people who used to work at the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant. By 1979 the population grew up to 49,360, but soon after the Chernobyl disaster, the entire community turned into a ghost town.
Even though nature has slowly swallowed the land, Pripyat still stands as a reminder of one of the most tragic disasters to ever happen to humankind. Visitors can walk through the streets and witness the world that existed decades ago untouched and unchanged.
4Oradour-sur-Glane, France – The memorial to remind the world of Nazi Cruelty
Oradour-sur-Glane is a village in France which saw some of the most horrific moments in human history.
In 1944, the entire village was destroyed by the Nazis killing 642 inhabitants including women and children. According to a survivor, the Nazi soldiers first fired at the legs, and once the victims were unable to move, the soldiers poured fuel on them and burned them alive.
The soldiers then proceeded to the nearby church where they placed a bomb. There were women and children inside, and any who tried to escape were shot down mercilessly.
Even the higher-ups in the Nazi party saw this vicious act as going too far and ordered an investigation on the soldier who was in charge. But due to his untimely death soon after, the investigation was suspended.
Though a new village was built nearby a few years later, the French President made sure that the village of Oradour-sur-Glance would be preserved in time so people all over the world could see the consequences of humanity’s depravity.
5Kolmanskop, Namibia – The desert ghost town from the First World War
Kolmanskop in Namibia is today a ghost town that resides in the Namib Desert.
Once upon a time, it was a rich mining village due to the presence of natural diamonds. The initial discovery was made by Zacharias Lewala, a worker who passed the gem to his supervisor. This led to a significant migration of people from Germany. The workers who came to mine diamonds soon started building the settlement.
The architecture was steep in German influence and boasted a hospital, ballroom, power station, school, theatre and even a casino. However, after World War, I the diamond reserve slowly started getting depleted and with it, the people left as well.
By 1954, the entire town was abandoned. Today, it has transformed itself into a popular tourist attraction. It is a remarkable experience to see a century-old German city in the middle of an African desert.
6Bodie, California – The village that was frozen in a state of arrested decay
Bodie in California is a small settlement frozen in time serving as a memorial for the great gold rush that occurred there in the late 1800’s.
In 1859, a man named William. S. Bodey discovered gold and that brought in a mass exodus of people from all over the country to strike it rich. The gold rush was more than a grand hunt for money. It gave people a reason to believe in something much more significant than themselves.
The notion of going on an adventure that may lead to something great brought hope to hundreds of thousands of people and in many ways ushered in an age of dreamers.
At the height of the gold rush, there were about 10,000 people in Bodie but by the early 1900’s; its decline had started due to decreasing profits. Soon after, the settlement became a ghost town with only a few people left.
Today, it stands as a memorial for the great gold rush era.
7The Kizhi Island – The island museum of Russia
The Kizhi island is one of the more visually stunning settlements frozen in time. Some of the buildings on the island have existed since the 15th century which is astounding in itself.
The government decided to start mining operations to bring in development. However, the rural people who lived there were forced to work in the mines, and by the late 1700’s, an uprising started which led to the downfall of the settlements there.
By 1950, most of the villages disappeared, and today only a small rural settlement remains. It has since evolved into an open-air museum that people can go and visit to experience the world as it was hundreds of years ago.
8Sankei-en – Japan’s resilient garden of history
Sankei-en is a traditional Japanese-style garden in Naka Ward in Japan. What makes Sankei-en so interesting is that it is not a natural settlement frozen in time like the others on the list but instead a man-made garden.
It was designed and built by Tomitaro Hara in the early 1900’s. Buildings in the garden were brought over from different parts of the country which creates a fascinating result. The garden exhibits a wide variety of architecture from various parts of old Japan. Visitors will see architecture from Tokyo, Kyoto, Kamakura, Gifu Prefecture and Wakayama prefecture all assembled in a beautifully designed garden.
However, the entire place was severely damaged during World War II, and there was a great chance that all that history might have been lost forever. Thankfully, the Sankei-en Hoshokai Foundation made sure that the garden was restored to its pre-war condition so that people from all over the world can enjoy the beautiful history of Japan.