Abandoned places have held a certain allure for centuries.  Haunted by the ghosts of the people who lived there, and an aching nostalgia for what once was, many people enjoy visiting these places for the sense of history, or the stories behind them.  

Varosha, Cyprus 

A former resort in the now-occupied resort of Famagusta, and a favourite of stars like Brigitte Bardot and Elizabeth Taylor, now lies abandoned and decaying, looking almost exactly the same as it did when it was abandoned in 1974.  Described by former residents as a hub of intellectual and artistic excellence, Varosha was known as the French Riviera of Cyprus.  It is not open to the public and pictures are not allowed, though some anonymous photographers have managed to put some eerie pictures on the Facebook linked.

After Turkish invasion and occupation of the island over 40 years ago, however, Varosha was abandoned and sealed off by huge iron fences and gates. Lives  were literally stopped mid-frame; wedding presents left in the attic and pots left cooking on stoves. 

Te Waiora, New Zealand

Like the Pompeii of New Zealand, his Maori village was buried in a volcanic eruption in 1886.  Volcanic ash preserved the village perfectly.  Today, the village has been restored and offers a glimpse into 19th-century New Zealand life.  The village is open to visitors and the proprietors provide tours of the buildings and surrounding areas of beautiful forest and waterfalls. 

Civita di Bagnoregio, Italy 

Two remote towns; Civita, which sits on a high hilltop and is only accessible by a long stone walkway, which leads out of Bagnoregio.  Civita only has around 14 year-long residents and is a beautifully preserved medival city and the birthplace of Saint Bonaventure, though his home is long-gone off the side of the cliff, caused by disrepair.  Visiting this place is like stepping back in time; virtually nothing has changed.  

Lee Plaza Hotel, Detroit

Formerly a block of apartments, with a hotel-style service, the Lee Plaza has fallen into decay, much like many buildings in Detroit due to the once-booming motor city's economic decline.  

The Lee Plaza was built to take advantage of a changing attitude that hotels were no longer for down-and-outs, but were actually very cool and trendy to live in on a permanent basis.  The decaying, gorgeous, turn-of-thecentury decor can be seen clearly in the linked photos, giving an air of heartbreaking nostalgia to a place where many people loved, laughed and lived their lives.  One can only imagine the stories this building could tell! 

Detroit is full of similar buildings now.  Check out this great article on two photographers who are documenting its decline.

Oradur-sur-Glane, France

Possibly the most tragic ghost-town in the world, cleared in WW2 in a horrific case of mistaken identity; the Nazi officers had heard there was a German Officer being held, but he was actually being held by the resistance in the nearby, similarly named town of  Oradour-sur-Vayres.  The original 644, including women and children, population of the town were massacred.  Shot or burned alive on June 10th 1944 by the German Waffen-SS company.  Only a handful of survivors such as Robert Hébras manged to survive by hiding under the pile of corpses until the Nazis left. 

Corpses of cars and burnt pushchairs still reside in this literal ghost town as a reminder of the atrocity, which has been turned into a shrine and memorial.