It’s crazy to think that nature can, given time, almost take over and start to erase traces of civilization. But that’s exactly what happened in these nine places across the globe.
These specific examples of nature in action are beautiful in a strange way. It’s s like looking into a possible future without humans. Kind of freaky to think about.
1.) Abandoned Shopping Mall, Bangkok Thailand
The New World Shopping Mall has been abandoned since 1999. It shut its doors after being condemned by local regulators. A few years later a massive fire destroyed the structure’s roof. Not long after that monsoon rains flooded the lower floors.
As a way to combat the spread of mosquitos and other insects breeding in the stagnant water, locals introduced koi and catfish to the former mall. Not only did the fish take care of the pest problem, they’ve thrived. It is now one of the world’s largest urban ponds.
2.) Holland Island, Chesapeake Bay, Maryland
Formerly the most populated island the Chesapeake Bay, Holland Island is now abandoned and rapidly eroding away. Before that though, the island was home to about 360 residents.
Suddenly in 1914 the wind and tide began to erode the western side of the island. Most of the population lived on that side, and were forced to leave. Pictured above is the last remaining house from Holland Island. It collapsed in 2010.
3.) Abandoned homes in rural Finland.
After the property owner died in a fire, these cottages were left abandoned. Not one to wait on ceremony, nature rapidly began reclaiming the land.
4.) Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, Ukraine
In the years since the 1986 nuclear disaster at the Chernobyl power plant, the surrounding area has been completely abandoned by humans. A 1,000 mile zone around the plant is closed to human activity for the next 20,000 years because of the residual radiation from the meltdown.
With a lack of human activity the surrounding forests of Chernobyl have turned begun to consume the abandoned city. It’s sort of like a nuclear wildlife sanctuary.
Check out these before and after pictures of the area.
The area as seen in the 1990’s.
Aerial photograph from 2013. See how the forest is closing in on the city?
5.) Old poison gas factory in Japan.
During World War II the island of Okunoshima housed a major poison gas manufacturing plants. After the war, the plant was destroyed and abandoned. The rabbits held there for testing were released into the wild around the plant. As you can tell from these photos, they have thrived.
Check out this cute video from one tourist’s visit to the island.
6.) Kolmanskop, Namibia
Kolmanskop was once a prosperous diamond mining community. After the mines were exhausted, the village was abandoned in 1954. Now the desert is taking over and returning the former village to nature.
7.) Aral Desert, Khazakstan/Uzbekistan
Why are these boats in the desert? Well because this all didn’t used to be a desert.
The fourth largest body of water in the world used to be here. However because of overfishing and irrigation, the sea was reduced to 10 percent of its former volume. What’s left are three small lakes with lots of desert in between them. And camels. Lots of camels.
8.) Fukushima, Japan
When thousands were forced to flee following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011, most of them left their pets behind. An estimated 10,000 of them. There is a foundation in Japan that brings food to the city for the abandoned animals.
9.) Año Nuevo Island, California
Off the coast of Northern California is this little nine acre island. It’s been abandoned since the early 19th century, which probably has to do with the island being a major breeding ground for sea lions and sea birds. Nature at its finest.
Of course these aren’t the only places where nature is reclaiming abandoned areas. Here are a few more beatiful examples:
Amusement park in Berlin.
Bennett College, abandoned in 1978.
House being reclaimed by the surrounding forest.
Goodbye railroad tracks. Nature is back in town.
Road in rural Pennsylvania being taken over by nature.
When nature calls, right?
North Border Island in New York City.
Another shot of nature reclaiming North Border Island.