There is something both eerie and striking about abandoned places. Whether it’s a train cemetery in Bolivia, an Art Deco subway station underneath New York City, or village covered in sand dunes on the coast of Namibia, each location is a snapshot of history frozen in time. Take a tour of these mesmerizing sites around the world—stark reminders of what used to be, with beauty seeping through the broken glass and dust.
This gallery was originally published in 2015. It has been updated with new information.
1. Gereja Ayam (“Chicken Church”), Magelang, Indonesia
If you ever find yourself in the jungles of central Java, you might stumble upon a dilapidated church that’s equal parts awesome and confusing: Gereja Ayam, also known as the “Chicken Church.” The church (which the architect intended to be in the shape of a dove—nice try!) opened its doors in the 1990s, serving as both a rehab and worship center for all religions; unfortunately, construction costs soon became too high and the project—and building—were abandoned in 2000. The foul fowl has become something of a tourist destination these days, with murals adorning the interior, incredible views of the surrounding forests through the beak, and even a small cafe selling treats near the tail feathers.
2. Tianducheng, Hangzhou, China
No, this isn’t a picture of post-apocalyptic Paris. It’s China’s Tianducheng district, a miniature replica of France’s capital, located about 40 minutes away from Hangzhou. The ambitious (yet failed) real estate development was built in 2007, complete with its own Champs-Elysées and 300-foot Eiffel Tower. Unfortunately, China’s attempt to recreate the City of Light ended up being more creepy than romantic, as if the real Paris suddenly entered the Upside Down. Only a couple thousand residents remain (the city was built to house 10,000), and the streets are typically empty—save for the occasional bridal party posing for faux Parisian wedding photos.