Leaving what was once a beautiful place sounds like a sad story. But when nature takes over, such man-made structures that were left in ruins can turn into something new, something unpredictable. We might not know what nature thinks and how these abandoned places can turn out but in the end, there’s just one word that can describe the surprise – awesome. Here are some of the world’s abandoned sites transformed into new attractions with the help of nature.

1. Ruins in Island, New York, USA

New York has always been a place where silence seems to be non-existent, but there’s one island that’s been uninhabited for more than 50 years and just buried in the city’s hustles and bustles. The island known as North Brother Island was once a quarantine station for patients with infectious diseases, an accommodation for returning World War II veterans, and a drug rehabilitation center. It was shut down in 1963 and became the new home of vegetation and nesting birds.

2. Green Fishing Village, Gouqi Island, China

Gouqi Island is part of the 394 group of islands in China known as Shengsi Islands. The island is part of the Zhoushan Archipelago outside Hangzhou Bay. In the past, the archipelago relied heavily on the fishing industry. But as the other industries such as ship building and repairing, shipping, light industry, and tourism have outgrown the once leading fishing industry, many fishing villages were abandoned.

3. Car Graveyard, Belgium

Vintage cars sit rusting in a Belgian forest, located in the southern village of Chatillon. These were left by U.S. soldiers who were stationed in the area during World War II. After the war, the troops were sent home but the cars were left hidden in the forest because this was cheaper than shipping the cars back home.

4. Ruins of Villers-la-Ville, Belgium

Located 30 kilometers south of Brussels, you’ll see the serene ruins of Villers-la-Ville. The abbey was built in 1146 AD when the first monastic order settled in the wooden hamlet with just one abbot and 12 monks. The order and the abbey thrived for hundreds of years but after the French revolutionaries raided the site, it lost its appeal and was abandoned. Today, the area is not really abandoned as people visit the site gradually taken by nature through guided tours, open-air concerts and theater.

5. Dun na Long Castle, Sherkin island, Ireland

Dun na Long Castle was built on a small promontory overlooking the entrance to Baltimore Harbour in Farranacoush.The castle was believed to be built by the Norman family, Sliney and was badly damaged after the Battle of Callan and the attack by an army from Waterford.

6. Nara Dreamland Theme Park, Nara, Japan

Nara Dreamland Theme Park was a knockoff of Disneyland in Japan during the 1960s. First, you’ll notice that it has a castle inspired by the Sleeping Beauty Castle that opened in the original Disneyland the year before. As the theme park got old, fewer and fewer visitors arrived until it was decided to shut the park down in 2006. But instead of reusing the land where it stands, the theme park was just left and became an attraction for photographers who are into the beauty of abandoned sites.

7. Il Vallone dei Mulini, Naples, Italy

Il Vallone dei Mulini or Valley of the Mills in English is a set of abandoned mills located in Sorrento and Gragnano in Naples, Italy. The mills were used to produce flour during the 13th century and became the source of sustenance for Naples, with the use of the water from the River Vernotico and stored water in towers. The mills were used for over 600 years but because of new advancements and taxes, operations ceased and the mills were abandoned in 1940.

8. SS Ayrfield Shipwreck, NSW, Australia

A floating forest in a shipwreck sits in Homebush Bay, located west of Sydney. The shipwreck where healthy foliage lives is known as the SS Ayrfield Ship. It was once before a massive 1,140 ton steel vessel built in 1911 in the UK and in 1912 in Sydney as a steam collier later used to transport supplies to American troops during World War II. In 1972, the ship was retired and sent to the ship-breaking yard, Homebush Bay, but it was never disassembled and later became a home for mangroves and an attraction.

9. Kolmanskop, Namibia

Namibia’s most famous ghost town, Kolmanskop, is located in Sperrgebiet near the port of Luderitz. The town was once a busy area providing homes for the workers in the diamond industry situated in Namib Desert. It slowly grew into a German town with luxury houses, theater and sports hall, casino, hospital, ballroom, ice factory, furniture factory, playground, swimming pool, and more. However, after World War I, diamond prices had crashed leading to the decline of the town’s development. Later on, the lively town slowly died and was abandoned in 1950 after the discovery of richer diamond deposits in Oranjemund.

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