Abandoned places – they’re just like you and I. Some are creepy. Some are beautiful… Some are Chinese. They have always fascinated me. In fact, some of my earliest videos were about abandoned places – and today we return to that world, as we take a look at some of the most weird abandoned places out there.

The City of Toys

In the 1960s one Italian man had a dream. His name was Mario Bagno and he was a lunatic – but he was also rich. So in 1962 he bought every plot of land in a rural village called Consonno. He then forced all locals to move out, and demolished the entire village – why? Because he wanted to build a new city in it’s place. An Italian Las Vegas was his dream, and he was the man to build it, according to himself. What really drew him here was the location. Consonno boasted a beautiful panoramic view of surrounding mountains and valleys – and it was also close to the city of Milan. It was perfectly positioned to lure wealthy visitors away from the city. So Bagno launched his project, demolishing the ancient houses that had long stood in Consonno.

He had actually promised villagers he’d protect their former homes, only building around them. But this was the 1960s, no one cared about old stuff. At one point he even used explosives to shorten nearby hilltops, as to improve the view. Like I said before, he was a lunatic. But this kind of project needs a lunatic, so in time, his dream city began to take shape. He called it “The City of Toys” – a place where you could enjoy any kind of pleasure. As well as hotels and Casinos, there was to be a large medieval castle and Chinese pagodas for some reason. And amazingly, the plan worked.

When the road connecting Consonno to Milan was completed, thousands of visitors were drawn. So going into the 1970s, his dream of an Italian Las Vegas was coming true. But in 1975 heavy rains flooded the area, washing away the road, and cutting off the flow of visitors. It was abandoned soon after – and to this day, the City of Toys is one of Italy’s most weird abandoned places.

Castle Video Games

In the state of South Carolina, gambling was banned in 1802. But in 1986 there was a blip. One single member of the state legislature made an amendment to an otherwise normal bill. Few people realized at the time, but his amendment legalized gambling under a certain condition. That condition was video gambling. So in following years video poker machines popped up across the state, and close to the borders with other states, video poker casinos were built.

Castle video Games was just of those casinos, and it can still be found abandoned, close to the border with North Carolina. While successful in it’s time, video gambling was again banned in 1999, so this castle in the middle of nowhere was just forgotten about. It’s not in good shape, having been vandalized for decades, yet it still stands. Some people are surprised it hasn’t fallen apart or been knocked down by now – but to be fair, it’s literally a castle.

Car Graveyard

Just years ago, China was in the grip of an electric vehicle boom. It seemed like every week a new EV car company was launched. Most would eventually fail, but in an emerging market, billions was out there to be made. One of the more ambitious EV firms was Panda Auto, who in 2015 had 20 thousand cars and 4 million users. So when they eventually shut down, a lot of cars ended up being abandoned. That’s why an abandoned mass graveyard of cars can still be found now, having been written off as a loss. There’s probably a reason they haven’t sold them for scrap metal, but I can’t see it.

Great Train Graveyard

There are many other weird abandoned places just like this, for example, the Great Train Graveyard, where Bolivian trains have long been abandoned. More than a hundred train cars can be found here, often vandalized, and always rusted. Deep in the Bolivian desert, there are no fences guarding it, just miles of wasteland. It’s a relic from when Bolivia first became a mass exporter of minerals. But in the 1940s the boom years were over. Many of the biggest mines in Bolivia shut down, and these trains became redundant. And because they were in such a remote place, it was actually cheaper to build new trains elsewhere. I’m not sure how that’s possible, because trains are meant to travel great distances. But maybe it was more the cost of laying new tracks. Either way, it’s a weird place and I hate it.

Smith Mansion

Another weird abandoned place is Smith Mansion, a house that makes no sense and probably should not have been built. In fact, it literally killed the person who built it. For 20 years, that man single handedly created this ridiculous house, which apparently was meant as a gift for his wife. To start with, it was a fairly normal home – and that alone was an impressive achievement. But for some reason he just did not stop building. He used logs to add extra flaws, balconies, and a rickety staircase. It looks dangerously unstable, but even after being abandoned, it has stood the test of time. Eventually, the man became so devoted to continuing the project that his wife divorced him. Unsurprisingly, this only made him more obsessed, and in following years he doubled his effort.

By this point he’d clearly gone a bit mental – But at least he wasn’t a serial killer – so those around him decided to just leave him be. Then one day he died, falling to his death while working on the Mansion. It was a fitting end for such a great man. And some say it was fate. Some say Smith Mansion is cursed, and that’s why it has been abandoned ever since his death. I think it’s more because it’s in the middle of nowhere. But to be fair it does look good. It actually reminds me of one of those old wooden roller coasters, just with a higher fatality rate.

End of the World Cinema

Also in the middle of nowhere, this next one is just dumb. In northern Egypt, the Sinai Peninsula is home to a deeply inhospitable desert. So it should be the last place on earth you expect to find a theater. But apparently you can, and it’s unclear why. Like all bad things it was built by a wealthy Frenchman, who for some reason dreamed of watching movies in the middle of the desert. So in the early 90s the spent a considerable amount of money to make that dream come true. For it’s debut, a screening of Jurassic Park organized. But then on the opening night, there was a power cut. Apparently it’s hard to get electricity in the desert. And there really isn’t much you can do about that, so after a while the theater was abandoned.

20 years later it is still abandoned, and now known as the “End of The World Cinema”. Little remains, other than the 700 seats looking out into the distance, and sadly it has been looted and vandalized, Then in 2018 the Egyptian government banned people from visiting it. Yet this is unlikely to help much. In the face of desert sandstorms, it is unlikely to survive much longer – and that’s a shame. I like the thought of future historians being confused by it. Also confusing to future historians, the world’s least popular hotel.

Igloo City

In a remote region of Alaska, this gigantic dome has been abandoned for decades. It stands four storeys high, and is so large it can be seen from airplanes flying above. Considering it’s in the middle of nowhere, that’s a big deal. The location might seem to make no sense, but remember that Alaska is a ridiculous state. People often travel great distances without any sign of civilization. So in the 1970s an entrepreneur had the idea to build a joint hotel and gas station here, just south of America’s tallest mountain. He bought up old railroad lumber and ordered an igloo-like structure built. But the interior was never finished, thanks to the state building regulation intervening. It was decided the giant igloo, now known as Igloo City, was too unsafe to be opened.

Apparently the specific code violation was that the windows are too small – and to be fair, it’s hard to know how big an igloo’s windows should be. By that point, the man behind it has bet his entire fortune on the hotel, ending up bankrupt. Luckily, a new owner was soon found – but unluckily, he also soon went bankrupt. A massive igloo that can’t be opened is little more than a financial drain. And so Igloo City has never had a guest, apart from the wolves and polar bears rumored to sometimes invade it. If that wasn’t bad enough, the igloo is also said to be haunted – perhaps by the original owner.

Glow Tunnel

As a quick honorable mention, this abandoned tunnel in Australia literally glows blue. It’s because bioluminescent animals call it home. The tunnel itself was built in the 1880s, but by 1915 it was redundant, and abandoned. History largely forgot about the tunnel, and until being cleared in 1995, it was flooded. These years of neglect had an unexpected outcome. It turns out an abandoned tunnel is basically just a cave, and a colony of glowworms has flourished within. So that’s fun.

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