October 30, 2009 / 3:01 AM / 9 years ago

Travel Picks: Top 10 ghost towns around the world

SYDNEY (Reuters Life!) - Travelers seeking a quiet place need look no further than the numerous towns around the world that have been abandoned for one reason or another.

Travel review website IgoUgo.com (www.igougo.com) has compiled a list of the top 10 ghost towns around the world based on recommendations from its readers. Reuters has not endorsed this list.

1. Kolmanskop, Namibia

Before you enter this abandoned mining town in the Namib desert, you’ll need to stop in nearby Luderitz for a permit — a holdover from the days when Kolmanskop was a free-for-all for diamond hunters. The town was at its heyday in the 1920s but abandoned in 1956. It has since been partly restored.

2. Fatehpur Sikri, India

Built by Emperor Akbar to be the most beautiful city in the world, it was widely thought this goal was achieved — until people realized the city lacked access to water. It was abandoned as the capital of the Mughal Empire after just 10 years and is today a perfectly preserved 16th-century town.

3. Oatman, Arizona, United States

Of the Arizona ghost towns, quirky Oatman has to be among IgoUgo members’ favorite. It’s here where wild burros roam the streets and $60,000 bills decorate the walls of the local hotel, where, incidentally, Clark Gable and Carol Lombard spent their wedding night.

4. Deception Island, Antarctica

A regular stop on Antarctic sailings, Deception Island was a popular place for scientific outposts until several volcanic eruptions destroyed the bases in the 1960s. Today you can see their remains, plus swim in hot springs.

5. Rhyolite, Nevada, United States

Gold was discovered here in 1904, and within 16 years, the town had thrived and fallen into disrepair. Today the most complete building in town is constructed of 30,000 beer bottles and the only residents — besides those in the ghostly Last Supper art piece — are the slithering, crawling variety.

6. Arltunga, Australia

A favorite part of this old Outback mining town (and early European settlement) is the “loneliest pub in the scrub,” also known as the Arltunga Hotel. It’s an ideal place for lunch or a cold beer before or after exploring Arltunga which was born out of a gold rush.

7. Grafton, Utah, United States

Founded for its fertile land and abandoned largely due to conflicts with Native Americans and flooding, Grafton is most famous as the set of the movie “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” The last residents left in 1944.

8. Stromness, South Georgia Island

A former whaling station, Stromness is even more remote, in a sense, than Deception Island. Get there by trekking across mountains on the famous route of Sir Ernest Shackleton. The station was abandoned in 1961, but the relatively posh managers’ “Villa at Stromness” has been repaired in recent years in hopes of providing safe access for the growing number of visitors.

9. Great Blasket Island, Ireland

After its population began to dwindle and the few remaining inhabitants could no longer support themselves, Great Blasket was abandoned in 1953. A combination boat-raft trip takes visitors to Great Blasket today to hike among wild donkeys, sheep, rabbits, and puffins.

10. South Pass City, Wyoming, United States

A ghost town with the illustrious distinction of being the birthplace of women’s suffrage in the United States, South Pass City has seen a recent return to semi-glory. Restoration has been done with such authenticity and attention to detail that every one of the 30 historical buildings, containing over 30,000 mostly original artifacts, is a delight to enter and explore.

Editing by Miral Fahmy

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