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10 Abandoned Holiday Destinations With Fascinating Backstories

There’s something intriguing about abandoned structures, be they shopping malls which were once Mecca’s for the community, or sporting venues that hosted iconic moments in front of thousands of fans, we can’t get enough “ruin lust.”

10-abandoned-holiday-destinations-with-fascinating-backstories

Every abandoned structure has a backstory and these holiday destinations were built with families, friends and partners in mind but were either cut short in their prime or served their use and have been consigned to history.

Polissya Hotel, Pripyat, Ukraine

10-abandoned-holiday-destinations-with-fascinating-backstories
10-abandoned-holiday-destinations-with-fascinating-backstories

It wouldn’t be an abandoned list without some images of Pripyat; the Ukrainian town was famously evacuated after explosions at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in 1986.

The Polissya Hotel is one of Pripyat’s tallest buildings when it was completed in the mid-1970s and accommodated people visiting the power plant.

Since the town’s evacuation, the hotel has remained relevant in popular culture, most notably as the backdrop for a mission on Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare named “All Ghillied Up” and Suede’s 2018 video for the single, “Life Is Golden.”

Penn Hills Resort, Pennsylvania, USA

10-abandoned-holiday-destinations-with-fascinating-backstories
10-abandoned-holiday-destinations-with-fascinating-backstories

Penn Hills is an abandoned honeymoon resort in Analomink, Pennsylvania and has lay disused since 2009. The resort grew during the 1960s with over a hundred rooms, a ski resort and a golf course on a 500-acre site.

The resort closed two months after the death of the founder, 102-year-old Frances Paolillo. The resort owed over $1 million in back taxes, and employees didn’t receive their salaries.

In 2014, a search for Eric Fein, who murdered a Pennsylvania State Trooper, led police to Penn Hills Resort. Fein was captured some four miles away at the abandoned Birchwood Pocono Air Park, he was sentenced to death by lethal injection in 2020.

The Colussus of Prora, Rügen, Germany

10-abandoned-holiday-destinations-with-fascinating-backstories
10-abandoned-holiday-destinations-with-fascinating-backstories

The building complex is situated on the island of Rügen in the Baltic Sea and was built between 1936 and 1939.

Nazi Germany had become the worlds largest tourism operator in the 1930s, and “Prora” was originally created as a holiday resort but ended up being used for military purposes.

While parts of the complex remain unused, the Prora has undergone a revamp, with youth hostels, summer homes and short term rentals now populating parts of the island.

Puente del Inca, Mendoza Province, Argentina

10-abandoned-holiday-destinations-with-fascinating-backstories
10-abandoned-holiday-destinations-with-fascinating-backstories

Puente del Inca (The Inca Bridge) is a natural arch formed of hot springs and glaciers in the Mendoza Province. The area was also home to a spa resort where the mineral-rich springs and river water was used to heal ailments.

A landslide in 1971 caused structural weaknesses to the buildings and the arch. The railway station transported guests to-and-from the spa but is now a museum that displays the area’s history.

Grand Hotel, Kupari, Croatia

10-abandoned-holiday-destinations-with-fascinating-backstories
10-abandoned-holiday-destinations-with-fascinating-backstories

The Grand Hotel is placed beautifully on the shores of the Adriatic Sea and was a hotspot for Yugoslavia military personnel and their families. Holidaying at the Grand was an exclusive pastime, with rooms reserved for those with military connections.

The Croatian War of Independence, which lasted from 1991–1995, saw the Grand Hotel bombed, looted and left to decay. The remains still provide a backdrop and stark reminder to Kapuri holiday goers of the country’s bloody military history.

10-abandoned-holiday-destinations-with-fascinating-backstories
10-abandoned-holiday-destinations-with-fascinating-backstories

The Maya Hotel in Kobe, Japan, led an eventful existence, perched on the side of Mount Maya; it’s battled not only the elements but fighter pilots during World War II.

Kobe was heavily bombed during the war, and Maya Hotel was fitted with anti-aircraft guns to help defend the city. After undergoing repair due to the damage caused by fighting, the hotel is hit by a typhoon and a mudslide in 1967.

Maya’s use as a hotel was long done by the 1970s, and in ’74 was converted to a student centre but rarely saw any classes. Even then, it still couldn’t escape the ravages of nature as in 1995, the Great Awaji Earthquake killed more than 6,000 people and put an end to the Maya ever being a viable structure again.

It has a new lease of life as one of Japan’s most iconic abandoned attractions, with films, TV shows and music videos being shot there.

Emerald Summer Camp, Pripyat, Ukraine

10-abandoned-holiday-destinations-with-fascinating-backstories
10-abandoned-holiday-destinations-with-fascinating-backstories

The Emerald Summer Camp, another Pripyat location, was a children’s summer camp in the abandoned Ukrainian city.

Emerald was used by the families of military and power plant workers who lived in Chernobyl-2 and is located in a forest near the cooling pond of the power plant.

The camp also housed liquidators who dealt with the immediate aftermath of the disaster. Unfortunately, natural wildfires ripped through Pripyat in 2020, destroying most of the camp.

Coco Palms Resort, Hawaii, USA

10-abandoned-holiday-destinations-with-fascinating-backstories
10-abandoned-holiday-destinations-with-fascinating-backstories

Coco Palms Resort in Hawaii has a varied history with long-standing cultural disputes, natural disasters and Hollywood royalty.

The resort was a favourite haunt of Elvis Presley, The King filmed the 1961 movie Blue Hawaii at the resort and enjoyed spending time there on vacation.

In 1992, Hurricane Iniki tore through the resort, and Coco Palms was devastated by the most powerful tropical cyclone ever to hit the island.

Politicians and Hawaiian nobility have been arguing about the land Coco Palms are built on since the mid-1800s. In 2017, a judge refused to remove native Hawaiians from the abandoned resort after the state filed a motion against them.

Ducor Palace Hotel, Monrovia, Liberia

10-abandoned-holiday-destinations-with-fascinating-backstories
10-abandoned-holiday-destinations-with-fascinating-backstories

The Ducor Palace Hotel was Liberia’s first five-star hotel and one of few international-standard accommodations in Africa. The hotel hosted various African leaders, including the renowned despot, Idi Amin.

The first Libyan Civil War in 1989 saw the Ducor damaged, looted and used for shelter by displaced residents of Monrovia. It took until 2007 for the hotel to be spruced up, but the 2011 civil war, again, caused the once-grand hotel to become deserted.

Varosha Famagusta, Cyprus

10-abandoned-holiday-destinations-with-fascinating-backstories
10-abandoned-holiday-destinations-with-fascinating-backstories

The 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus saw the popular holiday resort of Famagusta turn into a ghost town, leaving looted hotels and decaying buildings in its wake.

Famagusta witnessed fighting on the streets between Turkish and Cypriot armed forces. The entire population fled the city, fearing further violence towards residents.

After Turkey seized the area, they erected a fence around Varosha, and only the Turkish military and UN personnel could access the site.

© 2021 Ryan Benjamin

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