What is it about abandoned property and places, frozen in time, that makes them seem more real than any other representation of history we encounter? From individual structures to entire abandoned towns and cities, abandonments large and small inspire the imagination and tell us things about the past in a visceral way. Capturing moments in time, deserted cities, towns, buildings and other abandoned property can be powerfully evocative. Many people break laws, trespass on property and risk life and limb to explore and photograph abandoned places.

7 Abandoned Wonders of the World (and Part Two): From New York to Chernobyl, Taiwan to Siberia, these collections cover everything from individual deserted buildings to abandoned islands and entire communities around the world. And the reasons for their abandonment? Everything from changing industrial economies and social structures to lack of government funds and nuclear disasters.

Abandoned Buildings in America

7 Abandoned Wonders of America (and Part Two and Part Three): It seems somehow less surprising when we hear about abandoned places in foreign countries with a long history of political, economic and social turmoil. What is somewhat more shocking is how many abandonments can be found in a country like the United States of America. The desertion of some of these speaks to changes in American society, such as the abandonment of military bases or the neglect for former psychiatric institutions.

7 Abandoned Wonders of Europe: While American abandonments have impressive stories to tell many European abandonments are even more impressive. Some of them date back to the days when the United States was in its infancy or are tied to political parties or historic battles the likes of which were never seen across the pond. From beautiful churches to gritty industrial factories each one of these structures tells a story about the history of the European country in which it can be found.

7 Abandoned Wonders of the Former Soviet Union (and Part Two): It is truly amazing what the Soviets have abandoned at various stages of history. In some cases they have left entire airfields and ship yards to go to seed, or evacuated entire towns due to changing economic goals within the country. No other place in the world has such physically enormous and technologically impressive abandoned buildings, vehicles and places.

Infamous Abandonments from Famous Films: Have you ever wondered where your favorite eerie scenes from thrillers like 12 Monkeys or The Abyss were filmed? In many cases the abandoned locations used as stage sets and backdrops for these movies are as impressive as the films themselves. From abandoned industrial complexes to deserted nuclear reactors here are some of the most infamous abandonments used in film.

Amazing Abandoned Missile Silos: Believe it or not, there are a great many missile silos in the United States and elsewhere in the world you can visit, break into or even buy. Some people play it safe and take the guided tours, others enter without permission and at potentially grave personal risk and still others have purchased silos and converted them into strange dream homes and other impressive spaces.

Beautiful Abandoned Theaters: Once a place of gathering an empty theater volume can be a vast and ominous space, a spectacle of a much different kind than it was created to be. Here are various theaters around the world of different kinds and in different stages of desertion and disrepair, some of which are arguably more complexly beautiful now as they fade than when they were fully functional.