We’ve seen how the effects of construction and destruction, or even war or climate change have impacted some of the world’s most iconic sites. Once marvelous attractions flooded by tourists and adventurers, now they’re just abandoned lots of land or dilapidated buildings. Here are more spectacular vacation spots that longer exist.
Hashima Island (Gunkanjima)
This island in Japan is known as Gunkanjima or Battleship Island. It was used as a coal mining center throughout the 1890s through the 1970s. Concrete buildings to house miners were erected all over Hashima, and then as more people took interest in it, additions like a cinema and school were built, as well. The island’s mine was open until 1974 when it was shut down and residents started to move away.
Now, the only sign of life in the area is when tours come to take a look around the ghost town. There have been reports that developers are planning to resurrect some life into the area, but nothing has been confirmed yet and most of the island is still closed off.
Buck Hill Inn, Poconos Mountains
The Inn at Buck Hill Falls was built in 1901 and thrived as the premiere vacation spot of the Poconos for several decades. Aside from the Inn itself, more than 125 cottages were built surrounding the resort community.
The ski area, along with events hosted at the hotel, attracted wealthy individuals from all over the world, including Walt Disney. But the oil crisis in the 1970s meant fewer and fewer people were willing to make the drive out the resort, and the owners were forced to sell. It operated for a while under new ownership until it finally closed for good in 1990 and was left to decay in its spot in the mountains.
Niblo’s Garden, New York City
Niblo’s Garden was once an incredibly popular theater on Broadway in New York City. It opened in 1834 and consisted of a beautiful garden with an open-air bar in the center of it, along with several theater stages for performances. P. T. Barnum’s first-ever show was thrown at this establishment.
Fires took down the building not once, but twice in the late 1800s, but it was rebuilt every time. The final time was by retail mogul A.T. Stewart. In 1895, the last performance of the venue took to the stage, and it was demolished not long after to make room for office buildings.
Astor House, NYC
The Astor House, located on the corner of Vesey and Broadway in Lower Manhattan, was New York City’s first luxury hotel. It opened in the mid-1830s and quickly earned a reputation of being the best in the country. But after others saw its rapid success, competitors started rising up all around it. In 1852, after The Metropolitan and Fifth Avenue Hotel opened its doors, it was just a matter of time until The Astor House lost its appeal and subsequently, the majority of its business.
The hotel was demolished in the early 1900s, but it inspired others around the world to strive for its excellence, hence the Astor House that’s alive and well in Shanghai today.
Rainbow Valley, Cavendish, Prince Edward Island
Rainbow Valley was a favorite amusement park among both tourists and Canadian locals alike for more than 30 years. The family-friendly park opened in the 1970s and remained in operation until 2005. Unique attractions included The Dark Ride, which took visitors on a boat ride during the rum-running days, and a flying saucer gift shop.
Today, the area is a natural conservation that has taken on a new name: Cavendish Grove. But people who visited the park won’t soon forget it. In fact, it was so popular that there was an entire documentary made about it in 2014.
Ocean Beach, Rhyl
The Rhyl area of Wales became a popular vacation spot when their train station opened all the way back in 1848. The Ocean Beach amusement park was open from the early 1950s until the early fall of 2007. Since the 1960’s, not much money was put into keeping up with the park and, thanks to the lackluster experience, people seemed to lose interest in it.
Then, in 2007, the owners of the park shut everything down. In 2015, redevelopment plans for the area were approved and there is a new leisure complex in the works. The new development is set to be a smaller type of leisure area with mainly retail storefronts.
Coco Palms Resort, Kauai, Hawaii
The Coco Palms was at one point one of the most sought-after stays in Hawaii. Located in Wailuā, it is apparently located on the ground that belongs to ancient Hawaiian royalty. The first hotel on site started operating there in the 1950s, but it didn’t become very popular until 1953 when it was being run by Island Holidays Limited.
People used to come from all over to get married on the site and enjoy the tropical grounds. But in 1992, the area was hit by Hurricane Iniki and they were forced to shut their doors.
Battersea Fun Fair, London
The Battersea Fun Fair was an addition made to Battersea Park, a 200-acre area of London. It was a leisurely area complete with The Festival Gardens, which consisted of a Tree-Walk and plenty of fountains, alongside a water garden, and a football stadium that hosted games throughout the 1860s.
The Fun Fair was the portion of the ride of the park that included The Big Dipper rollercoaster, which killed 5 children in a 1972 accident and injured 17 more. What is arguably the worst accident in amusement park history caused a decline in attendance and eventually, in 1974, they completely shut down.
Paititi is a mysterious Incan lost city in Peru that has been the subject of plenty of conspiracy theories. Although no one is entirely sure where this city existed, or even if it truly did, there have been findings around the country that backup theories and myths of its locale.
In 2007, several people near Kimbiri discovered broken stone walls that they believe to be a part of the mythological land. The most recent expedition to search for Paititi was made by Josh Gates in 2014, for the documentary Expedition Unknown.
Hallsands was a popular fishing village in the 18th and 19th centuries, inhabited by a steady number of local fishermen and their families, and those that came through its interesting location. But like too many small seaside towns, the close proximity to the ocean meant it was only a matter of time before it disappeared to sea.
In 1917, that’s just what happened when high tides combined with strong winds destroyed the town and left it mostly uninhabitable. The town is a popular theme in music and entertainment and has appeared in several songs and films, including 1964’s The System.
McAllister Hotel, Miami
The McAllister hotel was built in 1917, and then a 10-story building stood proud as the tallest in Miami for several years. The iconic piece of architecture was also the city’s first high-rise hotel. It became such a popular attraction for tourists that they frequently ran out of towels to accommodate all of the guests.
But by the late 1920s, leaders of the city pushed for all oceanfront property to be removed to make way for the park, which was built in the ’30s. Their fortune may have dwindled, but the building remained until 1988 when it was demolished to make space for 50 Biscayne, which now stands on that corner.
Plymouth is the only ghost town in the world that also serves as a capital (of the island Montserrat.) The town’s residents were forced to evacuate in the mid-1990s when a series of volcanic eruptions in the area threatened their lives.
A few months later, they were allowed back when officials thought the danger had passed. But the Soufrière Hills Volcano wasn’t done spitting up just yet. A 1997 eruption killed 19 people and buried 80% of the town in ash. The southern end of the island is still labeled an exclusion zone, due to the unstable volcano.
Neversink is a sleepy little town in New York with a very ironic name. You see, part of Neversink actually did sink – a few parts, really. The towns reservoirs being built caused many of the communities to be completely submerged.
Interestingly enough, Neversink is a dry county and has been since 1935. This means that they don’t sell alcohol anywhere. Well, until 2015, when they partially lifted the ban so that restaurants could sell booze. Good luck finding any beer to bring home with you, though!
Palms Motel, Salton Sea, CA
In the 50’s and 60’s, The Bombay Beach area of California was hugely popular among both tourists and locals. It was a beautiful, beachside town, full of people enjoying ocean sports and drinking tropical drinks at tiki bars. But a deteriorating ecosystem, coupled with no drainage outlets and plenty of pollution caused a plethora of dead sea life to continuously turn up on the beach. As you can imagine, no one wanted to stick around and lay in the sun next to a bunch of rotting fish carcasses.
Although some people still live in the area, gone is the Palms Motel, which was once a favorite among tourists. The building is still somewhat standing, along with several others in the area, but they’re all boarded up and the only guests are squatters.
Akrotiri is believed to have first been settled in the 5th millennium, BC, as a fishing village. It’s a prime location for boats made it a popular copper trading port. But during the late Minoan period, a volcanic eruption buried the entirety of the town in volcanic ash.
Some speculations exist to suggest the stories of the lost city of Atlantis are based on this beautiful place that today exists underneath the modern-day island of Santorini. Excavations have been done in certain areas of the island that have revealed things like marble sculptures of women, along with several buildings.
The American Adventure Theme Park, Derbyshire
The American Adventure Theme park opened up in Derbyshire, England, in the late 1980’s. It started out with a wild, wild west and cowboys vs. Indians theme. But the park didn’t do as well as the original owners hoped, and it closed after less than 3 months.
It reopened a couple of years later under new ownership and with more thrill rides, which seemed to do the trick in getting people to show up. It went through a few more owners and renovations before it closed for good in 2006.
Divine Lorraine Hotel, Philadelphia
The shell of the once beautiful Divine Lorraine Hotel still sits on the corner of Fairmont Avenue and Broad Street in North Philadelphia, but the inside today is made up of crumbling, graffiti-covered walls and broken glass. The hotel was the first in the city to become integrated when Father Divine arrived on the scene and purchased it in 1948.
Father Divine set rules in place for his residents, which included that men and women lived on different floors, women weren’t able to wear pants (skirts only,) and there was no drinking or swearing. The building closed in 1999 and was left to sit and fall apart until 2015 when redevelopment plans began on it and other buildings in the area.
Centralia was a mining town that was a popular place for coal miners, but also unfortunately with the Molly Maguires, a 19th-century Irish secret society that had a taste for violence. Still, the town had 5 hotels and a couple of theatres, and at 1 point nearly 3,000 people lived there. But in the 1960s, an enormous fire was discovered burning through the mines below their feet.
Although no one took notice until things got so bad from the gasses that in 1992, the governor of Pennsylvania evoked the eminent domain act and condemned all property in the area.
Lee Plaza Hotel, Detroit
The Lee Plaza Hotel building in Detroit, Michigan may still be standing today, but it’s anything but what it was in its days of glory. It was built in the late 1920s as an upscale apartment building with hotel services. But the Great Depression was just beginning, and everyone involved in owning the building found themselves with financial woes.
By 1935, the owner, Ralph T. Lee, and his building were bankrupt. In February of this year, the city announced they were selling the building to a development company to be made into a residential and retail complex.
Trellech was one of the largest towns in Wales during the 13th century. Inhabited by royalty, knights, and rebels like Owain Glyndŵr, it was used as a hub for transporting medieval goods including weapons, iron, and armor.
Today, there is a small village left that includes a church building, but the area has been turned into a conservation area. It is surrounded by several nature preserves, which are owned by Gwent Wildlife Trust. The website lostcityoftrellech.org reports on annual archaeological digs that take place in the area.
Manly Fun Pier
The Manly Fun Pier was a small amusement park built on a pier in New South Wales, Australia. The park was in operation from the early 1930’s-the late ’80s and had a number of different attractions for families, including the ghost train, shark aquarium, wax museum, Ferris Wheel, and fun castle.
It went through several renovations over the span of its existence, but in 1989 the wharf was redeveloped, and the park was torn down. A new amusement center opened up in its place in 1990, but it closed once more the following year when the wharf was redeveloped again.
Playcenter, Sao Paulo
Playcenter was Brazil’s first major amusement park that could be likened to one that would be found in the early 1970s in the United States and in Europe. It opened its doors in 1973 to a large, excited crowd.
The park saw over 1.5 million people every year and seemed to be doing well. But in 2012, the owners of the park decided to change its concept and create something aimed more towards younger children. They shut down that year for renovations, but they never came. Now, the area is covered in businesses and even one residential building.
Borscht Belt Catskill NY
The Grossinger Catskill Resort Hotel started as a simple bed and breakfast concept in the early 1900s. By the ’70s, not only was it still standing, it had grown to incorporate over 30 buildings, accommodating more than 150,000 guests per year total.
It was such a popular ski resort area that it had its own private airstrip. But the guest list started to decline more and more every year until the mid-1980’s when the owners (who were descendants of the original owner) decided to sell. The final building on the Grossinger property was demolished in the spring of 2018.
Bannack is a ghost town that acted as the capital of Montana Territory for a brief period of time in the 1860’s. The town was very popular among miners, probably thanks to it being the site of a ton of gold. At its peak, Bannack had a population of over 10,000 residents.
But like most mining towns, when the resources ran out, so did the people. But even though the town is abandoned these days, Bannack State Park organizes a 2-day period once per year during the summers where they try and attract tourists by throwing “Bannack Days.”
Frontierland, Morecambe, Lancashire
This western-themed amusement park originally began as West End Amusement Park in 1906. But in 1987, the park’s owner, Geoffrey Thompson, decided to give it a makeover to increase ticket sales.
The change in name caused some excitement for a couple of summers, but a few years later and attendance was dwindling once again. In 1998, the park slowly but surely began to cease operations and by 2000, most of the rides had been removed from the lot. They had been in business for over 9 decades at the time they closed.
Pabst Hotel, NYC
Pabst Brewing Company went on a buying spree in the 1890’s where they purchased multiple hotels and restaurants to incorporate their brand into the local nightlife. And so was born the luxurious Pabst Hotel in New York City.
The hotel was centrally located between 7th Avenue and Broadway and sat there for a few years until 1902, when the New York Times had it demolished to make room for their offices. Another one of the Pabst hotels, Frank Clayton’s Pabst Loop Hotel on Coney Island, burned down in 1908. Well, at least they’ve still got their beer, right?
Camelot Theme Park, Lancashire
This theme park was medieval themed and based on the legend of Sir Lancelot, King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. The park opened in 1983 and was popular among families with young children. Owned by a group known as Knights Leisure, the park announced it would be closing its doors in 2012.
Since 2014, 2 attempts have been made by someone attempting to purchase the land to develop it for real estate, but both have failed. Many of the rides are still standing, but they are crumbling away and have not been operational for years.
Boblo Island Amusement Park, Amherstburg, Ontario
Boblo Island Amusement Park opened in Ontario all the way back in 1898. 18 miles away from Detroit, thousands of people used to climb onto 2 excursion boats – the SS Ste Claire and the SS Columbia, to island for a day of family fun.
But in the early ’90s, the boats were sold, and the park closed just a few years later in 1993. Before it’s closure, it held a host of fun rides, including the standard carousel and Ferris wheel, along with some thrill rides like the Nightmare and the Falling Star.
Pyramiden is a little coal mining settlement in Norway that has been abandoned for several years. It was originally discovered by Sweden in 1910 and sold to the Soviet Union in 27’. Since it was a popular area for mining, there were around 1,000 people living in the town at one point.
Residents and anyone passing through could enjoy a local theater, library, art studios, and a 24/hour cantina. In 1998, the last bit of coal was pulled from the mines and the last resident packed it up and left. Since 2007, the trust company that owns the area has been renovating it in hopes to turn it into a new tourist center.
Dinosaur World, Creswick
This small theme park in Australia was a popular tourist destination in the ’80s and ’90s. It was built among 18-acres and included a life-sized dinosaur for each. The original owner, Bill Myers, created the dinos himself and he and his wife, Stephanie, ran the park.
After 20 successful years putting a smile on the faces of adults for just $1.50/day and children for $0.60/day, the most recent owners were forced to shut down. Well, if they were still charging those prices near the end, it’s not really that surprising.
This quiet little town in Italy only had a population of a few hundred people, despite its location about an hour outside of bustling Milan. But in the early 1960s, the town was purchased by Count Mario Bagno, who wanted to turn Consonno into a lavish resort town. The plans were so elaborate, in fact, that he had a name for his vision: City of Toys. He had plans for all kinds of entertainment venues, a racetrack, casinos, hotels, and arcades.
It was a popular area throughout the late ’60s, along with the ’70s and ’80s. But the area was never quite finished, and the owner lost interest (and money,) leaving an interesting ghost town behind.
San Juan Parangaricutiro, Mexico
In a quiet village in Mexico, the people of San Juan Parangaricutiro were in for a surprise when they discovered their town was sitting on top of an undiscovered, and very active, a volcano. By the time they knew of its existence, it was too late. Lava was bursting up out of the ground and consuming everything in its path – which was pretty much the entire town.
Luckily, the lava moved so slowly that everyone was able to evacuate in time. But the buildings weren’t so lucky and were swallowed up by the volcanic liquid. One piece of the town does still stand today though: a little church, half-buried in lava rock.
Eastern Settlement, Greenland
The Eastern Settlement was a premier wedding destination in the early 1400s. It was settled by the Vikings in 985 A.D and is surrounded by an area of over 500 Norse farms. It was so popular in those days that there were about 4,000 people living in the area.
No one is exactly sure how the settlement disappeared, but some speculate that it had something to do with war or the black plague. However it happened, 1408 was the last recorded date of a wedding ceremony in the area, which is today a part of the Kujalleq municipality.
The Wonderland Hotel, Elkmont TN
The Wonderland was built as a luxury resort in 1912 and was purchased by a group of businessmen from the area that turned it in to a member’s club. It was a favorite for the wealthy elite in East Tennessee for several years. When the Great Smoky National Park was founded in 1934, all of the club members were given lifetime leases.
The leases, however, wound up being turned into terms that were then dismissed by the National Park Service in the early 1990s. Because of the “General Management Plan” that the Park Service instilled, the hotel was scheduled for demolition.
Mount Druitt Waterworks
In the early 1980s, Mount Druitt Waterworks was a haven for children all over New South Wales, Australia. During the first few years they were in operation they did really well, and the waterpark was always full to capacity during the summertime.
But as costs started to rise to maintain the park and fewer and fewer people showed up each day, the owners were forced to shut their doors. Well, it’s probably for the best, their slogan always did seem a bit suspect: “the Waterworks will get you in the mood.”
Lost City, FL
Way out in the middle of the 2,000 square mile area of the Florida Everglades lies the remains of bootlegger haven Lost City. Considering it was so easy to reach by boat and yet so hard for the authorities to get through the thick bush and wetlands, it was used to transport all kinds of shady goods.
In fact, rumor has it that Al Capone himself ran moonshine through Lost City. Another story of the land tells the tale of a failed hideout of Confederate soldiers being found (and killed) by the Seminole Indians.
Roy’s Motel Cafe
Roy’s Motel Café is an iconic little historic motel located off of Route 66 in Amboy, California. The area is, for the most part, a ghost town, these days. The site is no longer operational, but there is one dedicated woman rumored to still hang around and sell you a coffee if you show up and ask for it.
The Amboy area was created when a crater struck the area several thousand years ago, but the only reason anyone comes through these days is to snap a photo with the sign, which is still used in movies and commercials today.
Sylvia Flats Pools
New Zealand boasts some of the world's most stunning nature, and the Sylvia Flats hot pools were high on that list. Located in Canterbury, a region in New Zealand's south island, the Sylvia Flats Pools were a popular tourist destination for those looking to immerse themselves in relaxing, natural hot pools.
In an unfortunate twist of fate in 2017, a massive mudslide caused by bad weather destroyed the site, burying everything under huge rocks and trees. For those who never got to visit the famous Sylvia pools, you can head on to Maruia Hot Springs, in Lewis Pass Park, and enjoy a similar experience.
The Original Shakespeare's Globe
The Globe theaters are a well-known institution in London. More than three of them have dotted the shores of the River Thames in the last 500 years. However, the original Globe theater is something forever lost in time. Built by William Shakespeare's playing company in 1599, the first-ever Globe was a majestic theater.
Unfortunately, it was destroyed by a fire during a live performance on June 29th, 1613. A second Globe Theater opened in the exact same spot one year later but was closed in 1642 by Puritans who were against artistic performances. Even though the legendary original Globe Theater was lost in a fire, you can still visit a modern version of it that opened in 1997 in London.
Porcelain Tower of Nanjing
The Porcelain Tower of Nanjing was a rare and beautiful structure built in the early 15th century by the third emperor of the Ming Dynasty. The tower had a 97ft octagon-shaped base and rose to the sky at a height of 260ft. Naturally, the glossy nine-story structure was a sight to be seen, and people flocked from all over the country to visit this architectural beauty.
The tower, located over the flowing Yangtze River in Nanjing, survived for more than four centuries before it was destroyed in the 1850s, by the Taiping Rebellion. The ruins were basically untouched until a businessman donated $156 million to rebuild the iconic Porcelain Tower in 2010. So, even if it's not the original, you may still be able to visit!
Remember the beautiful secret island that Leonardo Dicaprio found in the movie "The Beach"? This paradise is called the Maya Bay and is located in the Phi Phi Islands in Thailand, and it was, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful places on earth.
The problem was that, after seeing the movie, Maya Bay got visited by approximately 5,000 people every day, which in turn produced an excessive amount of waste. And so, irresponsible and neglectful tourists caused the Bay to be closed indefinitely in June 2018.
Coral on Christmas Island
Christmas Island is an Australian territory located in the Indian Ocean. The island's 135-sq-km are almost entirely covered by a beautiful national park, and thus offers a wide variety of fascinating wildlife. Home to rainforest, wetlands and flowing waterfalls, this place is often compared to 'paradise on earth'. And one of its most notable features was the mind-blowing coral reef throughout the island.
Thousands of tourists made this little slice of heaven their main vacation spot, waiting patiently for the day they'd go snorkeling in the coral wonderland. But despite climate activists' best efforts, more than 90 percent of the reef was destroyed within a short 10 months. Abnormal heat waves and extremely high temperatures caused some corals to be bleached and others to die.
Cave of Altamira
Spain is one of the most culturally and historically rich countries in Europe, and the Cave of Altamira was once one of its biggest draws. Located near the small, historic town of Santillana del Mar in the Cantabria province, the Cave of Altamira was renowned for its prehistoric parietal cave art. The charcoal drawings and polychrome paintings of local fauna and shapes of human hands adorned the cave walls and attracted flocks of visitors from around the world.
Sadly, this historical treasure was closed to tourists in 2002, after the high number of visitors started to damage the paintings by breathing too close to them. This produced water vapor and carbon dioxide that caused the paintings to get moldy. However, a year before its closing, in 2001, tourism officials foresaw the situation and opened a replica cave and museum nearby so people could continue to visit.
Among the vast Altiplano Mountains in Oruro, Bolivia, you could find Lake Poopó, once the country's second-largest lake. Located at an altitude of approximately 3,700mts, Lake Poopó was a saline lake that once served as a scenic spot for tourists and an important landmark for the miners of the region.
The lake dried up in 1994 but was completely revitalized by heavy rains. Unfortunately, even though the lake was declared a conservation site in 2002, it had dried up completely for the second time in December 2015. Largely due to climate change (such as the melting of the Andes glaciers), unmonitored mining and agriculture also contributed to the lake's disappearance. And it doesn't seem the lake will recover this time around.
Situated in the beautiful U.S. state of Oregon, Duckbill was once a very popular destination for tourists and locals alike. In what seems like a story almost too ridiculous to be true, the impressive sandstone rock formation was destroyed as part of a "revenge" plot.
On August 29th, 2016, a group of people vandalized the fence and toppled the monument because one of their friends had apparently broken a leg there earlier. Unfortunately, the people responsible were never caught, and the stunning formation along the Oregon Coast was lost forever.
The Lighthouse of Alexandria
Built in 280 B.C., the Lighthouse of Alexandria, also known as the Pharos of Alexandria, was a majestic lighthouse in Alexandria, Egypt. The structure was built by the Ptolemaic Kingdom and would serve as a beacon until its destruction in 1480. The lighthouse is estimated to have been over 100 meters tall, meaning it was the tallest structure in the world for centuries.
It was considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World. However, a series of earthquakes in 956, 1303 and 1323 caused the lighthouse to eventually crumble to the ground. Its remains were only found centuries later by French archaeologists, in 1994, at the bottom of Alexandria's Eastern Harbour
The Buddhas of Bamyan
Created in the 6th century, the amazing Buddhas of Bamiyan were once one of Afghanistan's most prized possessions. The two massive Buddha statues were carved into the cliffs of the Bamyan Valley and stood 35 and 53 meters tall, respectively.
These beautiful monuments managed to survive Afghanistan's war-torn history, even making it through the horrifying rule of Genghis Khan. However, the Taliban proved to be their end, when in 2001, they decided to blow them up with dynamite. Obviously, being Islamic fundamentalists, they didn't want any Buddhist symbols on their land. But not all hope is lost, as Afghan groups are currently in talks with UNESCO to rebuild the beautiful Buddhist monuments.
The Crystal Palace
The 19th century saw a surge of culture and industry exhibitions throughout Europe, and the first one of these grand World Fairs was the Great Exhibition of 1851. Logically, it had to be held in a place fitting to its grandeur, and so The Crystal Palace was built. Located in London, which was the world's cultural capital at the time, the palace was a Victorian-style, cast-iron and plate-glass structure.
Originally built in the famous Hyde Park, it was relocated to a hill in south London after the exhibition. The Crystal Palace was a massive structure, covering an astounding 92,000 sq. meters. Sadly, this architectural marvel and tourist attraction was destroyed by a fire in 1936.
The Aral Sea
People call what happened to the Aral Sea the world's most "dramatic" disappearing act. Located between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, the Aral Sea used to be the fourth-largest lake in the world. But after an irrigation project started by the Soviet Union in the 1960s, all the rivers that fed the lake were diverted, causing it to dramatically shrink in size almost immediately.
This was a terrible disaster for the fisheries and local communities that depended on the body of water. The little water that was left became increasingly salty, and extremely polluted after pesticides and fertilizers seeped into it. Today, the once-beautiful Aral Sea is a haunting spot with poor soil and some old, decaying ships. In a final, desperate effort to save the lake, Kazakhstan built a dam, but sadly, the Aral Sea will never return to its former glory.
Boeung Kak Lake
Cambodia's Boeung Kak Lake is another terrible example of how humans are destroying some of the earth's most precious natural resources. Once located in the northern part of Phnom Penh, this beautiful lake and its lakeside area were frequently visited by local and international tourists that enjoyed the stunning sceneries and lovely guesthouses. Unfortunately, the entire area was destroyed by 2010 after a building company filled 90 percent of the lake with sand to start developing properties.
Not only did this affect the country's tourism, but it had devastating consequences on the more than 4,000 families that depended on the lake's water for survival. Because the building company had strong ties to the Cambodian government, nobody stopped this atrocity from happening, forcing these families to relocate, deal with the floods or recieve some ridiculous, symbolic amount of money as compensation.
Uluru and its Fairy Shrimp
Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock, is one of Australia's most famous landmarks. Located in the country's vast Northern Territory, it is a sandstone monolith that formed more than 550 million years ago. Once located at the bottom of the sea, it now stands at 348m above the ground.
Not only is this landmark considered a sacred and spiritual spot for Australia's indigenous people, it was once also home to the Branchinella Latzi, a rare species of fairy shrimp that was only found in the water pools on the Uluru. Sadly, the species vanished in the 1970s due to human waste that tourists had left behind over the years. Despite countless plights by the indigenous Anangu people asking tourists to stop climbing the Uluru, they have been consistently ignored.
Torres Del Paine National Park
Chile is home to countless tourist attractions, each one more stunning than the last. One of these is the Torres Del Paine National Park. Located in Chile's Patagonia region, this beautiful park boasts granite rock formations, an extensive variety of wildlife, flowing waterfalls and the impressive Grey and Dickson glaciers. You would think that people would go out of their way to preserve this unique natural beauty, but alas, it has been constantly destroyed by man-made fires.
The first one happened on February 2005, after a tourist used a gas stove in an area of the park where camping was strictly forbidden. The fire lasted ten whole days and destroyed 7 percent of the park. The second, which happened after a tourist made a bonfire in February 2011, was luckily put out by extensive rain before causing irreparable damage. After the third one, in December of that same year, the park closed down until January 2012. Lastly, there was another one in 2015. Authorities are scrambling to try and prevent this national beauty from getting completely destroyed.
Hillary Step on Mount Everest
Sir Edmund Hillary is known around the world as the first person to ever reach the top of Mount Everest in 1953. And so it made sense to name one of the most challenging parts of the mountain the 'Hillary Step'.
The step is basically a huge boulder located some 200ft from the mountain's peak. Apparently, the boulder loosened after the tragic 2015 earthquake in Nepal, and by May 2017, it seems to have disappeared altogether.
Canada is known for having some of the most stunning natural landscapes in the world. Especially when it comes to the Yukon territory. Sadly, one of its most beautiful rivers seemed to disappear overnight in the spring of 2017. In what scientists called the first case of "river piracy" in modern times, the reason for the disappearance seems to have been the retreat of the huge Kaskawulsh Glacier, whose meltwater deviated from the Slim River to a different river.
What's even worse, these changes are causing the Kluane, Yukon's largest lake, to shrink. If you happen to be on the Alaska Highway 1, you'll be able to spot the already receding shoreline of the great lake.
Located in Nye Beach, in Newport, Oregon, this large rock formation was once an astounding sight. The formation, called a sea stack (a column of stones stacked on top of each other caused by wave erosion), was a 100-foot-tall stack that dominated the beach. It got its unique name in the 1800s when early settlers realized it was impossible to get around the huge rock without jumping off its steep sides.
Unfortunately, in the 1890s, a gap created between the rock and its surrounding cliffs caused the arch to collapse after a severe storm hit the spot in 1916. Nowadays, there's almost nothing left of the formation.
Elephant Rock was a beautiful, scenic and extremely popular tourist spot for travelers. Located in the Hopewell Rocks Park, in the Canadian Province of New Brunswick, this stunning Flowerpot Formation disappeared in the spring of 2016.
Apparently, around 200 tons of rocks toppled down from the formation and turned the once-jawdropping spot into ruins. Sadly, this was a prime lookout point for travelers to enjoy the broad range of tides of the Bay of Fundy.
The eruption of Mount Tarawera, which was the end of the Pink and White Terraces, also had a surprisingly positive outcome, it created the Waimangu Geyser. The geyser, which is also considered a wonder of the world, was named for the black sand and minerals it spewed out and is known to this day as the most powerful geyser in history.
The geyser would erupt roughly every 36 hours and would reach massive heights of 450. Tourists soon began flocking to the area to witness the marvel. In 1903, the geyser’s eruptions began to sputter out and it became completely inactive in 1904.
Old Man of the Mountain
Not so long ago, if you found yourself in New Hampshire you could look up at the White Mountains, specifically Cannon Mountain and see an outcropping of rocks which was known as The Old Man of the Mountain. The name came from the fact that the rocks created the shape of a man in profile. The Old Man was so well known that at one time American politician Daniel Webster saw it as a sign from god saying,”…in the mountains of New Hampshire, God Almighty has hung out a sign to show that there He makes men.”
The unique rock formation was even immortalized on the state’s quarter. In 2003, after years of freezing and thawing, the outcropping finally collapsed. The locals were extremely saddened and commemorated the spot below where it stood with a memorial.
Cinque Terre is a coastal area in Italy which is known for its beauty and remoteness. Although it is still possible to visit the area, it gets harder every year and may be impossible in the future. Cinque Terre is joining the growing number of overcrowded tourist destinations that are limiting the number of yearly visitors.
The limit is currently set at 1.5 million people per year, after over 2.5 million people visited last year and completely overran the area’s infrastructure. Pedometers on the trails will keep track of visitors and once the 1.5 million limit is reached, all access will be closed off.
The Love Locks on Pont Des Arts
Not so long ago, happy couples visiting Paris would stop at the Pont des Arts to buy an overpriced padlock and announce their love to the world by locking it to the bridge’s metal grilles and throwing the keys in the river. But the romantic tradition had its downside, with 700,000 locks weighing down the bridge and causing several sections to collapse.
Critics claimed that the combined weight of all the locks equaled roughly 45 tons and they were finally removed in 2015. The metal grills were replaced with plexiglass, providing a better view of the river and no place to latch on any more locks.
Coney Island’s original “Luna Park” was an enormous amusement park which opened in 1903 and was filled with attractions, rides and over 250,000 electric lights. The park was created by Frederic Thompson and Elmer “Skip” Dundy. The name is attributed either to the airship “Luna” from the park’s main attraction “A Trip to the Moon”, or for Dundy’s sister Luna. Luna Parks became a hit with the help of Frederick Ingersoll who was pioneering roller coaster design at the time and by 1905 they were popping up all over the world.
Sadly, not long after Ingersoll’s death in 1927, most of the parks shut down. The original Luna Park closed its doors in 1944 after a fire, but the name is alive and well and is used as a synonym for “amusement park” in many European languages.
The Nazca Lines
The arid climate of the Nazca Desert in Southern Peru helped maintain the Nazca Lines for over 2,500 years. Roughly 250 miles south of Peruvian capital city Lima, hundreds of drawings are etched into the ground. Some of the drawings are immense reaching 600 feet or more and can be best observed from the sky.
Most are simple lines or geometric shapes, but there are also shapes of flowers, trees and animals and even a human. The lines were declared as a Unesco World History Site in 1994, but they are threatened by changing weather patterns, squatters and mining operations in the area.
The Seattle Gum Wall
This doesn’t sound like anything you couldn’t find under a school desk, but for some reason, the Market Theater Gum Wall was a somewhat famous tourist attraction for those visiting Seattle. People added their gum to the wall for years to create this unique and iconic wall, but in November 2015 it was finally scraped clean.
The cleaning was not done for an aesthetic or hygienic reason, but due to the fact that the weight of all that gum was harmful to the integrity of the brick Pike Place wall. Visitors who come to check out the attraction will be faced with a plain blank wall. So prepare yourself in advance, this one isn’t coming back.
Heritage USA, in Fort Mill, South Carolina, played an unusual part in American history. It was a Christian theme park, water park and residential development. The park was founded by televangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker famous for their TV program the PTL Club (which stands for, wait for it, “Praise The Lord”).
Attendance suffered when Jim Bakker got in trouble with the law and the park lost its tax exemption, leading to its eventual closing in 1989.
This doesn’t seem like much of a vacation, but apparently, people used to travel to Berlin in the ’60s and ’70s to check out the Berlin Wall. In this case, it is not a bad thing that the spot doesn’t exist anymore for us to visit. The Berlin Wall separated the two sides of the city after WWII, on one side lived the democratic Germans and on the other, the communists.
The wall was finally torn down in 1989 and millions of people were reunited with their family and friends.
The Athabasca Glacier in Alberta, Canada, is the glacier with the largest number of visitors in North America. It used to be a major tourist draw due to its once easy accessibility, size, and beauty. Sadly, over the past 125 years, the glacier has been steadily melting, with its southern edge already shrunken by an entire mile.
Experts believe that the glacier is shrinking more rapidly than ever, losing between 6.6 to 6.9 feet per year. It has also been said, that the glacier is nowhere near as lovely as it used to be in its heyday.
Paragon Park was an amusement park situated on Nantasket Beach in Hull, Massachusetts. The park offered many attractions including a wooden rollercoaster, a carousel, bumper cars, a water ride, and a Ferris wheel. The park shut its doors in 1984 but the carousal and rollercoaster were moved and are still in operation.
The park area was turned into a housing development, but in 2018 it was announced that the “Paragon Boardwalk” strip of Nantasket Avenue would be renovated and reopened.
Six Flags AstroWorld
The Six Flags Astroworld in Houston Texas was a seasonally operated theme park. The park, which was the brainchild of former Houston mayor Judge Roy Hfheinz, opened its doors on June 1st, 1968. He wanted it to compliment the Astrodome as part of his idea for an Astrodomain and it originally sat on 57 acres. AstroWorld was sold to the Six Flags Corporation in 1975 and was the first park that they acquired and not built.
The park added many attractions over the years and was fairly successful. It was shut down in 2005 due to a drop in attendance and parking issues. The whole structure was demolished and all that’s left is a parking lot used for overflow parking.
The Yosemite Firefall
The Firefall at Yosemite National Park used to draw in an enormous crowd. Started in 1872 by the owners of the Glacier Point Hotel, every night in the summer they would light large fires and throw their embers over the edge to the valley below to create a “Firefall”.
Almost a century later, the National Park Service stopped the practice because it was not a natural phenomenon and mostly because the large crowds it drew were damaging the valley.
The Chacaltaya Glacier was Bolivia’s one and only ski resort and it had some of the best skiing in the world. Sadly, a few decades of El Niño and the 18,000-year-old glacier became a thing of the past and disappeared completely in 2009. The ’60s and ’70s were a great time for skiing in the region, but a massive meltdown in 1980, degraded the ice terribly.
It is now the location of a research observatory. If you look at the ski lodge in the picture, the reality of the weather changes becomes clear.
The Pink and White Terraces
New Zealand’s breathtaking Pink and White Terraces were considered a natural wonder of the world. The terraces formed over thousands of years when water that was rich in silica emerged from springs and boiling geysers and crystallized into enormous tiered staircases. The minerals in the springs gave the rock their pink and white hue.
The terraces were destroyed in the eruption of Mount Tarawera in 1886, which is also worth discussing. Aristocrats used to visit this site and even bathed in the water, but sadly no one could experience this wonder in over 100 years.
Yosemite’s Jeffery Pine
Ansel Adams’ famous glass plates of the Jeffrey pine on top of Yosemite’s Sentinel Dome first brought the tree into the public eye in the 1860s. The famous image and its beautiful location made it one of the most photographed trees in the world.
The tree, which managed to grow despite its lack of soil, lived atop the dome for hundreds of years but died in 1977 during a severe drought. It remained standing for many more years, but ultimately collapsed in a fierce storm in 2003.
Wall Arch used to be a natural sandstone arch that stood in the Arches National park in southeastern Utah. The arch was located along the park’s famous and popular Devils Garden Trail and was ranked 12th in size of the park’s 2,000 arches. The opening beneath the arch measured 71 feet wide by 33.5 feet tall. Sometime in the night between August 4th and August 5th in 2008, the arch caved in.
Although we will never get the chance to see this arch, it is important to note that all natural arches are temporary and eventually collapse due to erosion and gravity, so just enjoy any that you are lucky enough to see.
Abu Simbel Temples
The Abu Simbel temples are two enormous rock temples located at Abu Simbel, a Nubian village in Southern Egypt not far from Sudan. They are part of a complex of UNESCO World Heritage Sites known as the “Nubian Monuments.” The temples were carved from the mountainside by Pharoh Ramses II in the 13th Century BC, as a monument to himself and his queen Nefertari and to commemorate his victory at the Battle of Kadesh.
The temples used to be on the western bank of Lake Nasser but were painstakingly moved to an artificial hill in 1968. They had to be relocated or they would have been flooded when the dam of Aswan was built. It is still possible to visit the Abu Simbel temples, but not in their original location.
Boeung Kak Lake
The Boeung Kak Lake in Cambodia was considered one of the biggest and most important wetlands in the world. Its location and natural beauty turned the area into a thriving tourist attraction. Sadly, the Cambodian government-backed policies which damaged the lake and roughly 90% no longer exists.
Officials filled in those areas with sand in order to turn it into a property development, and in the past few years it has been described as little more than a “puddle”.
Royal Opera House
It seems like the Royal Opera House of Valletta in Malta was built under an unlucky star. It opened in 1866 but was demolished by fire just six years later. The building was rebuilt and renovated but was almost completely destroyed during a German air raid in 1942.
The opera house, which is remembered as one of the most beautiful and iconic structures in Valletta, has gone through several attempts at restoration over the years, all of which were unsuccessful. It was only recently reopened in 2013, but with a different design and the name Pjazza Teatru Rja.
Thai Islands Koh Khai Nok, Koh Khai Nui, and Koh Khai Nai
On May 26, 2016, Thai officials announced that the beautiful islands of Koh Khai Nok, Koh Khai Nui, and Koh Khai Nai will no longer be open to tourists. The breathtaking islands were popular with visitors for their pristine white sand beaches and endangered coral reefs. According to the officials, the beaches are meant to accommodate 70 people at one time, but roughly 1,000 tourists arrived there per day.
They claimed that the large numbers of visitors were causing “the degradation of natural resources and the environment.” Apparently, roughly 80% of the coral reef areas have been destroyed. Although the islands are still around, their natural beauty has been greatly diminished.
Ancient Religious Sites
In March 2015 militants destroyed the ancient archeological remains of cities Hatra and Nimrud. Kino Gabriel, a leader on the Syrian Military Council has said of these attacks that, “The birthplace of human civilization is being destroyed…” These sacred and historical remains have survived for generations, only to be demolished with no thought to their cultural or religious significance.
It is almost harder to witness the destruction of man’s history by war than it is to watch natural wonders destroyed by climate change. Sadly, humans are responsible for both.
The Mayan Pyramid of Nohmul
The Nohmul pyramid was the most important Maya site in Northern Belize, and experts say that it was at least 2,300 years old. Unfortunately, there is almost nothing left of it today because in 2013, a construction company crew decided to use its rocks and gravel to fill in the roads.
The pyramid, which you can see on the left, was turned into a pile of rubble. The company and the foreman were eventually fined, but that won’t bring the pyramid back.
Tombs of Muslim Saints
Islamic fighters from the Ansar Dine group, which was linked to al-Qaeda, went on a rampage in 2012 and destroyed cultural and religious monuments in Timbuktu, Mali. The soldiers broke down the doors of a 15th-century mosque and demolished the ancient tombs of Muslim holy men.
The tombs destroyed included those of medieval Sufi saints Sidi Mahmoud, Sidi Moctar, and Alpha Moya. The group claimed that it was against the Muslim religion to worship at graves and promised that they would not rest until every single shrine was nothing but a pile of rubble.
The Umayyad Mosque is one of the largest and oldest mosques in Allepo Syria and was designated as a UNESCO world heritage site. Unfortunately, in 2013, the mosque became a battleground between government forces and the al-Queda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra group.
The mosques’ minaret, which was built in the 11th century, was destroyed in April of that year and the rest of the structure was severally damaged. After the battles took their toll, the building was nearly unrecognizable Renovation work finally began in 2018.
The Galapagos Islands
The breathtaking Galapagos Islands in the Republic of Ecuador still exist but they have been severely damaged due to tourism. The islands, which offer a glimpse of nature and wildlife seen nowhere else, have changed dramatically since our grandparents’ time. So much so, that UNESCO put them on the World Heritage in Danger list in 2007.
These days, tourists face many restrictions and cannot even visit the Galapagos National Park without a licensed guide. Hurry up and visit because it may not be long before even more drastic measures are taken to save the ecosystem and tourists are not allowed there at all.
White Sand Beaches
The white sand beaches of the Caribbean have been drawing tourists from all over the world for decades. Unfortunately, Hurricane Irma did massive damage to many beach resorts and the losses are believed to be in the billions. The powerful storm hit in August 2017, which was terrible timing because the airlines, hotels, cruises, and attractions are at their peak during the fall and winter months when people want to get away from the cold.
Or as Hugh Riley of the Caribbean Tourism Organization put it, “Any disruption in tourism is a disruption of our livelihood”. There has been extensive work done after the storm and tourism is starting to pick up again although the beaches have not been completely restored yet.
The Great Barrier Reef
In April 2016, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef become worldwide news, when it was announced that over 93% of the coral reef had been affected by bleaching to some degree. Bleaching is caused when water temperatures or other environmental factors change too rapidly and the algae that live in the coral are expelled essentially turning them white. Bleaching is about more than just losing all the beautiful colors of the reef; it usually means that the coral is under extreme stress and may not survive.
These days, less than 1% of the Northern sector is untouched and only 25% of the Southern sector is still in pristine condition. Restoration efforts are taking place, but it is highly unlikely that we will get to experience this amazing location in its full splendor in our lifetime.
Wedding Cake Rock
Wedding Cake Rock in Australia was named for its pristine white color and cake-like shape. The cliff, which is part of the New South Wales Royal National Park, is extremely delicate and unstable. The beautiful place used to draw around 2,000 visitors per month but in this era of selfies and Instagram, that number has swiftly risen to 10,000.
Australian authorities were forced to erect a fence to keep people off the cliff in 2015, but unfortunately, many tourists simply climb over it. Recently, a report has been issued that the formation will probably collapse in the next 10 years.
In 1896, wealthy entrepreneur Adolph Sutro built the Sutro Baths in San Francisco and opened them to the public. They served as the largest indoor swimming pool in the world and retained that title for decades. The baths were immensely popular but had difficulty making a profit due to the enormous costs for their maintenance and operations.
The baths consisted of saltwater pools which drew water in directly from the ocean and from one freshwater pool. After the baths were closed, the structure was turned into an ice skating ring and eventually burned down in 1966. The charred ruins now serve as a reminder of its glorious past.
The Azure Window
Malta’s Azure Window, a 92-foot-tall natural arch, faced thousands of storms over the years. It withstood them all until its eventual collapse in March 2017. The arch was located on Dwejra Bay on Gozo Island and was one of the country’s most famous tourist attractions.
The arch appeared briefly on the HBO hit show Game of Thrones before it succumbed to the forces of nature.
Lascaux Cave Paintings
In 1940, a group of teenagers discovered a cave full of wall paintings in Lascaux in Southwestern France. The cave contains over 600 paintings, mostly of wild animals, which are unbelievably over 17,000 years old. The beautiful and lifelike images remained in good condition for thousands of years but degraded rapidly once tourists were let into the caves around 1948.
In 1963, officials decided that the attraction must be closed to preserve the paintings. The public has not been allowed access ever since.
Jonah’s story is famous in the religious traditions of Jews, Christians and Muslims. He is known for being swallowed by a whale, or more accurately a great fish. The prophet’s actual tomb was allegedly situated in Iraq, but it was destroyed when terrorists from ISIS blew it up.
Their main goal for this bombing was to make headlines and spread their poisonous ideology. On the other hand, Americans have not been welcome in Iraq for many years, so you most likely were not going to get a chance to visit anyway.
The Vance Creek Bridge
The Vance Creek Bridge in Mason County, Washington is an arch bridge that was built in 1929 by the Simpson Logging Company. The bridge was decommissioned in the ’70s when there was a logging decline in the area. It is the second-highest railroad arch in the United States and therefore although it is on private property, it is hardly surprising that it gained new life on the social media accounts of various thrill-seekers.
In 2014, the property owners who were afraid of vandalism and also potential lawsuits if anyone was injured, decided to close off access to the bridge. In 2017, some of the bridge’s wooden deck and railroad ties were dismantled.
The Guaira Falls were a series of waterfalls that used to sit on the border between Brazil and Paraguay. The falls, which were part of the Parana River, were wiped out of existence in 1982 by the construction of the Itaipu hydroelectric plant and dam.
The falls contained one of the largest volumes of falling water in the world, flowing at about 470,000 cubic feet per second, and were a major tourist attraction. These days, they are completely submerged.
The Tree of Ténéré
The Tree of Ténéré in Niger withstood the test of time and stood for centuries in the Sahara Desert. It was the only living tree in a 200-mile radius and a fixture on the paths of nomads for hundreds of years. Due to its unbelievable survivable in the desert, tourists used to travel through 250 miles of scorching desert just to see it. In 1973, a Libyan truck driver drove through the desert on an ancient caravan route that passed near the tree.
He was drinking while driving and struck the tree head-on. The tree died instantly, but its remains were moved to a museum and a sculpture of the tree was erected in its place.
The Underwater Amazon
The coral reefs in Raja Ampat, Indonesia, known as the “underwater Amazon” were irreparably damaged when a 4.2-ton cruise ship filled with tourists crashed into them. The reefs are some of the most beautiful and bio-diverse in the world and have suffered damage to a square mile area.
According to experts, it will take the reef at least 100 years to repair itself, which means we will not get to enjoy this amazing site unless we live far longer than currently expected.
The Dharahara Tower and Other Nepalese Landmarks
A massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake destroyed some of the most famous and culturally significant landmarks in the city of Kathmandu and other parts of Nepal in April 2015. The most famous landmark destroyed was the Dharahara Tower. The white candle-shaped tower was originally 100-foot tall but turned into a 30-foot pile of rubble.
A number of UNESCO World Heritage sites were also impacted by the quake, some of which were at least 1,700 years old.
The Twelve Apostles
A collection of limestone stacks off the shore of Port Campbell National Park in Victoria Australia were nicknamed the Twelve Apostles. The stacks were formed by erosion and their close proximity to each other, making them inviting to tourists. These days, only eight apostles are left standing after the ninth collapsed in 2005.
Visitors still come to the site to witness the remaining rock stacks and the rubble left behind, but the view is not nearly as impressive as it used to be. Despite the name, no one has ever gotten to see twelve apostles, the stacks started with just nine.
Vidam Park, which literally means amusement park, is one of the first public parks around. Situated in Budapest, Hungary, the park opened in the early 19th century and featured castle tours, a zoo, a circus, a boathouse with a wooden roller coaster introduced in 1922.
It was the place to be in 1896 for the turn of the century celebrations and was a symbol of Hungarian fun and leisure. Over the years, the park fell into disrepair and attendance dropped until it was finally shut down in 2013.
The Aquatarium in St. Petersburg Florida was a theme park that was housed inside a 160-foot tall golden geodesic dome. The attraction opened its doors in 1964 and tourists from all around the world arrived to watch marine animals in special shows. The main stars were porpoises, sea lions, whales and a dolphin named “Floppy”. The dome had a beautiful view of the Gulf of Mexico which certainly didn’t hurt.
The crowds began to lose interest when Disney World opened in Orlando in 1971. To keep attendance high and hoping to capitalize on the success of Jaws, a special shark exhibit was added in 1976. The attempt failed and the park closed its doors in 1977. The area has since been turned into condominiums.
The Hippodrome Theater in New York was a happening place in its prime. It opened its doors in 1905 and was hailed as the world’s largest theater, seating over 5,000 people at a time. The theater featured films, circuses, and even famous magician, Harry Houdini.
The Hippodrome was most successful in the 20’s but later on experienced a sharp drop in business leading to its eventual closing in 1939. These days, the structure houses an office building.
Disney’s Discovery Island
Discovery Island is yet another theme park at Disneyworld Florida which was abandoned and left in ruin. It was introduced in 1974 and stayed open until 1999. The theme of the park was wild animals and guests went there to observe and interact with many species of animals and birds.
Due to low attendance and profitability, the animals were moved to the Animal Kingdom and the park was shut down and abandoned.
Large Portions of the Great Wall
It is still possible to visit the Great Wall of China, a 5,000-mile-long series of fortifications that used to protect the country from invaders. Sadly, almost two thirds of it are no longer around. Some of the damage was caused by natural phenomena but vandalism and tourism are also to blame.
The Chinese government played its part by allowing parts of the wall to be demolished in order to clear the way for development projects. The wall will most likely continue to crumble if the country’s leadership do not put a plan and funds in place to protect it.
The Basilica Minore del Santo Niño and Other Churches
The Bohol earthquake hit the Philippines in 2013 and destroyed many of the country’s oldest churches, damaging countless others. The Basilica Minore del Santo Niño in the island province of Cebu, was heavily damaged until it finally collapsed. The church, founded in 1565 by Spanish explorers, was the oldest Catholic Church in the Philippines.
The loss of these churches hit the country hard, due to the enormous impact Catholicism has had on Philippine culture. Most of the landmarks that symbolized that impact are now gone.
The Sequoia Tunnel
The “Pioneer Cabin Tree”, a 1,000-year-old sequoia tree from Calaveras Big Trees State Park in California, was cut in the shape of a tunnel in the 19th century to encourage nature tourism. This enormous tree allowed people to get a real “drive-thru” experience until a storm toppled it in January 2017.
There are no more sequoia tunnel trees left, but there are three ancient California Redwoods trees which you can still drive through in Eureka, California.
On October 30th, 2016, the town of Norcia in Italy was hit by a 6.6 magnitude earthquake. The quake caused the destruction of the Basilica of Saint Benedict which had stood since the 12th century. Ironically, the church’s structural integrity had been inspected just the week before by the ministry of culture and repairs were planned. Sadly, the Cathedral of St. Mary Argentina which was famous for its 15th Century frescoes also collapsed.
The town’s other ancient remains including original Roman city walls, multiple churches and other historical buildings were also damaged by the earthquake. The quake devastated the small town and took away much of what had made it historically important and attractive to visitors.
Kaimu Beach used to be a famous black sand beach in Hawaii and was the home of 150 families, but in the early 1990s the Kilauea Volcano erupted and wiped out the village of Kalapana. The eruptions continue to this day and so far over 500 acres of land have been added to Hawaii’s Big Island.
The black sand beach is no longer accessible, but you can still enjoy lava boat tours from Pahoa to see how the island has changed.
Basking Ridge Oak Tree
In 2016, one of North America’s oldest oak trees died in a cemetery in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. Experts say the tree was over 600 years old and was already around when Columbus came to America. The tree was declared officially dead after an astounding six centuries. The cause was old age and possibly harsh weather.
Unfortunately, the tree will have to be cut down to ensure the safety of the cemetery and church below, but at least the wood will be used to create crosses and mementos for churchgoers. The stump will remain in place.
Morocco’s most unique shore, Legzira Beach, was famous for its immense sandstone twin arches which could be seen during low tide. Sadly, the arches collapsed in 2016 due to the weight of the massive cliff above them.
Before the collapse, tourists flocked to this place which was known for having some of the most beautiful sunsets on Earth.
Disney’s River Country
Disney’s River Country was Walt Disney World Florida’s first water park ever, styled as an old-time watering hall with fake rocks and even a fake mountain. Sadly, for the past several decades it has been empty and decrepit. With attractions full of decaying vegetation and pools full of dirty water. The park opened in 1976 and was wildly successful at first but over the years the place began to deteriorate, and Disney opened other bigger and more modern water parks.
River Country was shut down for routine maintenance in 2001 but it was announced later that the park was shut down for good. It is unclear why Disney left the park to rot instead of demolishing it, but it turns out that this is not the only time the company did so...
The Dead Sea
Even though the Dead Sea in Jordan, Israel, and Palestine (which is actually a lake) is still around, it looks nothing like it used to and will most likely never return to its former glory. The extremely salty body of water is growing smaller at a frightening pace. Water levels are dropping at the rate of over three feet per year in the past several years. The banks of the lake lie at the lowest land elevation on Earth causing the shifting shorelines to hit all-time lows.
Also, the surrounding area’s need of water leaves less and less freshwater outlets that the lake needs to maintain its water level. The Dead Sea may disappear completely in the not so distant future.
There is an unhabituated island in the Bahamas which has earned the nickname Pig Beach, due to the feral pigs who live on it. No one knows how the pigs got to the island, but there is a legend that says that they were brought there as food for sailors who never returned. The beach used to be relatively unknown, but these days with Twitter and Instagram, it has become a hot spot for tourists.
Unfortunately, the growing number of visitors means more food for the pigs and the change in diet has led to some deaths. Less than half of the original pigs remain, and they will soon be gone if this continues.
The relationship between America and Cuba is more than a little complicated. For many years, the U.S. government did not allow Americans to visit the communist country. During President Obama’s time in office, the relationship began to normalize but now President Trump has changed things up again with his decision to pull back the visa process for many Cubans.
Technically, you can still visit Cuba, but there are complicated restrictions in place and be sure to check them before you book your tickets, because they may change at any time and with each change of administration of course.
In 1928, a 123-acre amusement park was opened on an island in the middle of the Columbia River in Portland, Oregon. Jantzen Beach was the biggest amusement park in America in those days. The park included a famous merry-go-round that was showcased at the 1904 World’s Fair, four swimming pools, a train, a funhouse and a wooden roller coaster called “Big Dipper.”
The park was immensely successful in the 1940s and managed to remain open until Labor Day 1970. These days, the less entertaining Jantzen Beach shopping mall resides there.
Palisades Amusement Park
The Palisades Amusement Park, unlike some of the other parks we have seen, was successful for many years. The park was located along the steep cliffs on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River and opened in 1908. The Palisades offered visitors many rides and attractions, including an enormous 600X400-foot saltwater pool, which was the biggest in the world and the Cyclone, one of the biggest roller coasters around.
The park had a slump in attendance in the 1950’s and decided to start offering rock & roll shows to attract visitors. They also had the clever idea of advertising on the back of comic books. These moves made the park immensely popular and by 1967, the city of Cliffside Park decided to rezone the site for housing to stop the traffic jams and congestion in the area. The park was closed for good in 1971 and an apartment building was built on the site.
The Original Penn Station
If you’re sure that you’ve been to Penn Station in New York City, you are probably right, but we don’t mean the new station opened in 1968, but the original station which was a marvel of modern architecture. The first Penn Station was built in 1910 and served as a bustling traffic hub for years until the rise of air travel and the decline in intercity train travel.
Amidst much controversy, the structure was completely demolished in 1963, and Madison Square Garden was built on the site.
Mukurob “Finger of God”
A sandstone rock formation known as Mukurob or “Finger of God” stood in the Namib Desert near Asab, Namibia for generations. The “Finger” was 12 meters high, and 4.5 meters wide in its broadest area, and weighed roughly 450 tons. The most impressive thing about the structure was that its base, which was 3 meters long and 1.5 meters wide, was much narrower than the rock it supported.
The Mukurob was Namibia’s most famous tourist attraction and people from all around the world came to see it. Unexpectedly, the whole thing collapsed in 1998 for no discernable reason. There are theories that the fall was caused by a rainstorm that plagued the area the week before or that it was caused by an earthquake in Armenia.
Another amazing ski spot, the Glacier at Mount Humboldt in the Northern Andes, no longer exists. Due to climate change, there is barely any ice left on the mountain and all the skiing infrastructure and businesses have become irrelevant.
According to scientists, even in the best-case scenario, the mountain peak will become bare over the next ten years or so.
The Eye of the Needle
Another famous sandstone arch, the Eye of the Needle was located alongside the Missouri River not far from Fort Benton, Montana. Even though it didn’t rival Utah’s Wall Arch in size, its solitary location by the side of the river made it look like a doorway and was a big draw for visitors. After Memorial Day Weekend in 1997, park rangers learned that the arch had collapsed.
Near the rubble, they found discarded beer bottles and other trash which led them to assume that the arch had been vandalized. The structure had stood for over 10,000 years and no one was ever charged with the crime, leading many to believe the fall happened naturally.
Lady Liberty’s Torch
Four million tourists flock to Liberty Island in New York each year to see the architectural marvel, The Statue of Liberty. If you are adventurous and don’t mind a difficult climb, you can make a reservation (months in advance) and enter the crown. But if you have your heart set on going even higher into the torch, prepare for disappointment.
Lady Liberty’s Torch was damaged in an explosion in 1916, making the arm and torch inaccessible for over 100 years. Although the torch was eventually repaired in 1984, it has not been reopened for visitors since.