1. Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia, US
We’ve got the perfect solution for wannabe ghost hunters wondering where to go on Halloween. Eastern State Penitentiary was once one of America’s biggest prisons, and it housed some of the world’s most dangerous criminals between 1829 and 1971. Conditions were tough and escape attempts were common. During renovations carried out in the 1930s, 30 incomplete tunnels were discovered. Today it’s possible to tour the prison, although large parts are off limits for safety reasons; years of neglect have filled many of the cells with crumbling walls and other debris. Unsurprisingly, the prison is said to be one of America’s most haunted places, with distorted, gurning faces being some of the most commonly reported sightings. Like exploring alternative attractions? Find some inspiration for your next trip with our guide to 10 tourist spots you haven’t visited yet.
2. Spreepark, Berlin, Germany
In 1969, Kulturpark Plänterwald opened in Germany’s capital, and there were high hopes for the thrill ride-filled theme park, which enjoyed huge initial success and was one of Berlin’s biggest attractions. In 2002, the family which owned the park (by then renamed Spreepark) moved six of its biggest attractions to Lima, Peru, where they were attempting to set up another theme park. The Berlin park eventually fell into disrepair and was closed, although bizarrely, it was still possible to sign up for guided tours of the abandoned site. These were stopped after the city of Berlin bought the land in 2014, but this hasn’t stopped local photographers, who come to photograph the crumbling buildings and rusting rollercoaster skeletons.
3. Six Flags New Orleans, New Orleans, Louisiana
Hurricane Katrina was largely responsible for the fate of Six Flags New Orleans, which had a rather short life span, opening in 2000 and closing when the storm struck in 2005. Katrina devastated the area, flooding many sections of this Cajun-themed park. There were hopes that entertainment giant Nickelodeon would transform it into one of the world’s biggest theme parks, but sadly, that deal never came to fruition. It’s now owned by the city of New Orleans, but officials haven’t yet decided what do do with the plot of land.
4. Craco, Italy
Many moons ago, Craco, in Italy’s southern province of Matera, wasn’t just a bustling town but a major tourist attraction, too. People came from far and wide to wander its winding streets and to pay their respects at Saint Nicola’s Church. Amazingly, the town dates back to 1060, when the surrounding area was owned by a local archbishop. A university had been established by the thirteenth century and by 1815 Craco was large enough to be divided into two districts: Torrevecchia and Quarter della Chiesa Madre. In the late nineteenth century poor agricultural conditions prompted many residents to leave, and in 1963, the majority of the remaining residents were evacuated due to a landslide. A handful clung on, but the town became completely abandoned after an earthquake in 1980. It’s doubled as a backdrop for several films, including The Passion of the Christ, starring Mel Gibson. Today, it’s also a popular stop-off for photographers, and was recently added to the World Monuments Fund’s watch list. One part of Italy which certainly hasn’t been abandoned is its spectacular coastline. Discover which beaches to make a beeline to with our guide to 10 of the most beautiful beaches in Italy.
5. Heritage USA, Fort Mills, South Carolina
A religious-themed theme park might not sound as fun as Universal Orlando or Disneyland, but when popular TV evangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker opened Heritage USA in the 1980s, it quickly became one of South Carolina’s most popular attractions. Their enterprise had all the trappings of a traditional theme park, including a water park, low cost hotels and even a TV production studio. So what caused the park to close? The not-so-holy trinity of a publicised affair for Jim, problems with the IRS and finally, the near-biblical damage wreaked by 1989’s Hurricane Hugo. Some of the park’s 2,300 acres have been used for new projects, but the castle you see below remains.
6. Gulliver’s Kingdom, Kamikushiki, Japan
Japan has more than its fair share of abandoned attractions. This particular example, which was based on Jonathan Swift’s classic novel, is possibly one of the creepiest Japanese theme parks. In its heyday, the park had all you could want in a Lilliputian-themed tourist attraction, except for one thing – visitors. One of the strangest sights is the 45-metre version of Lemuel Gulliver, tied to the ground at the foot of Mount Fuji. Perhaps the park’s failure could be blamed on its location; Aokigahara, also known as the Suicide Forest, backs on to this abandoned attraction. Either way, we reckon it definitely ranks as one of the world’s scariest attractions.
Credit: Old Creeper
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