The 6 Most Mind-Blowing Modern Ghost Towns
Man's vision constantly exceeds his reach. It is our curse to dream bigger than our meager hands can build. So for every Hoover Dam or Empire State Building that gets built, there are 10 projects that were simply too unfeasible to see to completion. And for each of those 10, there are 10 more that seemed too unfeasible, but someone decided that that was bullcrap and powered through them anyway, only to abandon them shortly afterward. Because not everybody stops to think if they should do something, only if it would look awesome.
Asia's Largest Amusement Park
Quick, what's the world's largest theme park? Nope, it's not Disneyland. Not Disney World, either. Not even a Magic Mountain or a Six Flags. The world's largest theme park is China's Wonderland, and it's all right if you've never heard of it: It's basically a pirated copy of Disneyland (you wouldn't download a theme park, would you?) and -- oh yeah, it also never actually opened. When construction finally stopped in 1998, the builders had completed an entire village, a massive parking lot and a gargantuan fairy tale castle, then decided it would make a better Scooby-Doo set piece than a functional amusement park, washed their hands of the whole thing and walked away.
"Maybe one day some supervillain will love you like you deserve."
Actually, the park failed because, despite having a prime location just outside of Beijing, China first had to wrestle the land away from local farmers tending the area before starting construction. And the government's explanation of "We need you to stop creating food so we can spin around in little cars shaped like horseys" didn't go over too well. So the farmers fought the park every step of the way. This, combined with the general economic downturn, meant doom for the ambitious project. The park now sits empty. And this isn't "Tightly patrolled by security until we finish construction someday" empty; this is "A'ight, we're outta here. Y'all can just walk right in" empty.
"Now where the hell did we park our car?"
So the farmers (kind of) won, and despite being mostly finished, Wonderland was canceled. They've gone back to working the land around the park, and the only difference the whole ordeal made in their lives is that they now till their fields in front of a crumbling dream castle.
"If you build it, they will c -- wait, no they won't. Carry on."
A Giant Archipelago (Shaped Like the World)
In 2003, Dubai's economy was raging, and they were sporting more hasty erections than a seventh grade gym class. You could build anything in that city, not in spite of your structure defying logic, but because of it. Building permits weren't issued until every contractor spit in the face of reason first.
"Well, that's nice and all, but do you have anything ... just straight up fucking crazy?"
Such was the attitude when the Nakheel Company set out to create a series of new islands in the shape of a scale map of the entire world. Despite seemingly power-binging on crazy before ever drawing up the plans, they actually pulled it off: The private world-islands were completed in 2008.
"There we go. That's how you slap God in the face. Nice work, everyone."
Which was exactly when Dubai's economy finally tanked. Nobody ever moved onto the islands, and the whole thing has just been sitting vacant ever since. No one's even been seen on one for months now, and the ocean has started reclaiming them inch by inch.
"Hello, and welcome to the Dub -- shit."
An Entire Subway Metro System
We'd like to talk about the Cincinnati subway system for a minute. For the two Cincinnatians with Internet connections who are scoffing right now, probably muttering something like, "Nuh uh, Cincinnati doesn't have a subway system," allow us to eloquently rebut.
"Yuh huh, Cincinnati does too have a subway system."
In the early 1900s, Cincinnati was one of the top growing U.S. cities. They'd already expanded beyond their borders and needed a mass transit system, but estimates for a new subway were around $12 million. Which sucked, because they only had $6 million in the budget.
They were hoping on one of the workers accidentally dropping the other $6 million.
But rather than rethink the project or opt for an alternate system, city planners threw caution to the wind ... then snatched it out of the air, hurled it to the ground and stomped on it until it spat teeth. They went ahead with a modified version of the $12 million plan anyway, until -- shocker! -- they ran out of money a little over halfway through. Most of a basic subway network had already been dug out and built, but then the city found they had no more funds to actually put anything inside of it.
"We couldn't afford 'trains,' but we had just enough money for 'terrifying.'"
Various attempts were made to try to finish the project, all the way up until the year 1948, when Cincinnati voted and passed the controversial Fuck It Initiative, and just decided to write the whole thing off. Other private uses have been considered over the decades, like a fallout shelter, a winery, an underground nightclub and even an actual bat cave, but today, the metro system still sits inert, and actually costs $2.6 million a year just to maintain its relative crappiness.
"We need another $500k for the hobo urination grounds, sir."
North America's Largest Airport
Montreal-Mirabel International Airport was the largest airport ever envisioned, with a planned surface area of 397 square kilometers. That's larger than Montreal, the city that it served.
The first thing cut from the plans was "restraint."
It was designed to handle 50 million passengers a year. There was a subway system just for the airport, a high-speed rail system to and from the city and underground roads that led directly to the terminals themselves. If it sounds lavish, it was: Initial price tags were estimated at about a billion dollars.
The airport opened in 1975, just in time for the Summer Olympics being held in Montreal. And everything was great!
Until the Olympics ended.
Then the government realized that their projections of passengers flying into Montreal were way, way off.
Canada tried to save the airport by requiring all international flights for the city to land at Montreal-Mirabel, rather than the current (and much more conveniently located) Dorval Airport. The international response? Everybody shrugged and collectively decided: "Eh, we could do without Montreal." Most flights decided to skip the city entirely, and headed to Toronto instead.
"Wait! No, we were just kidding, eh!"
Today, only a small part of Montreal-Mirabel still functions ... as a cargo airport. The rest is either empty or has been sold off to private parties. Which turns out to have been a good thing, as for once the investors saw something as cool as an abandoned airport and didn't think "condos" or "private landing strip"; they thought "Hey, let's go play there." The passenger terminal area has been turned into a racetrack, complete with defensive driving classes and a go-kart school, and there's talk of transforming the rest into a giant space/water park, which we didn't even know was a thing before this sentence, but have now dedicated our entire lives to bringing about its culmination.
The World's Largest Mall
If China is about one thing, it's about having all of the world's largest other things. The Great Wall, Wonderland and now, the New South China Mall: The largest ever built. In addition to the 553-meter indoor/outdoor roller coaster, the indoor amusement park, the 1.3-mile indoor canal complete with boats and scale replicas of the Arc de Triomphe and Saint Mark's bell tower, there is also space for a mind-boggling 2,350 stores in the Dongguan's New South China Mall.
In America, they'd all sell Chinese food.
Initial estimates forecasted that, of the city's seven million people, nearly 205,000 customers a day would be visiting the complex. But what they didn't bother to factor in was that Dongguan's huge population was mostly comprised of farmers and factory workers earning wages barely able to sustain them. Their priorities were more along the "Let's eat some food" lines than the "Let's spree it up at the H&M inside the Arc de Triomphe" lines.
"For the last time, we don't accept rice or disillusionment."
As a result, when the mall opened in 2005, China achieved its goal of "having the biggest things in the world," with their newly unveiled Biggest Commercial Failure in the World. Currently, McDonald's is the highest grossing tenant at the mall, out of the total 10 or so businesses located there (most of which are Western fast-food chains coasting off the novelty factor).
If the roller coaster doesn't go by the drive-thru, we don't give a crap.
That's a 99.5 percent vacancy rate. They would have closed the mall a long time ago, but it has been deemed "too big to fail."
S ... success?
A Particle Accelerator Three Times the Size of the LHC
When Switzerland first fired up their Large Hadron Collider back in 2008, the entire world cheered this monumental victory for science. Well, the entire world except for the United States, who'd actually had the site for the largest particle collider in the world for years. Texas' Superconducting Super Collider (SSC) is 55 miles long, three times the size of the LHC. So why wasn't the U.S. getting all that sweet science cred? Here, let's take a look at some photos of this amazing facility:
"Hello? Is someone there?"
"Anybody? Please, 55 miles is a lot of room to get lost in!"
"W ... what was that? Science, is that you?"
After building for two years, the U.S. government cut funding to the project. But only after a good chunk of the infrastructure -- buildings, facilities and 15 miles of tunnel -- had been dug out. Total amount invested before cancelling? Two billion dollars.
A lot of alternate uses have been proposed for the abandoned SSC: It was almost repurposed as a movie studio, a vault for the government to store vaccines in, a recording complex and a military training facility. But those projects all fell through for various, sometimes mysterious reasons. The closest the collider has come to seeing use was when an eccentric millionaire sought to start a data center there, but those plans collapsed as well when he suddenly and inexplicably died at the last moment. So there the SSC sits today, disused and empty, without even any practical security in place to guard the two-billion-dollar facility.
Aside from the curse that we're forced to assume the Anti-Science Gypsies placed on it, of course.
For more amazing images that will make your brain call your eyes liars, check out the all new Gallery of Images You Won't Believe Aren't Photoshopped. Or check out Brockway's tour of 5 Amazing Abandoned Wastelands Within Walking Distance of Major Cities.
And stop by LinkSTORM to learn how not to follow through on your resolutions.
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