Sports’ greatest moments are immortal. We’ll fondly reminisce about the time spent in places like Yankee stadium long after the Yankees are gone, and Jessie Owens’s performance at the 1936 Olympics stadium will be in every history textbook for millennia: Champions will be written about, talked about, and rewatched on YouTube until the end of time.
But of course, not every aspect of their career-defining moments will last forever. Many of the green fields and roaring stadiums that hosted these historic games have since fallen into disrepair. In these abandoned stadiums, it’s pretty eerie — you can almost hear the calls of a phantom crowd…
1. Pontiac Silverdome: Longtime home of the Detroit Lions and Pistons, this stadium boasted a domed roof held up by air pressure! The new Ford Field, however, stole away its teams in 2002. Detroit has demolished most of the Silverdome in recent years.
2. Sarajevo Bobsleigh and Luge Track: Yet another Olympic relic from the 1984 games, this track never had much of a chance for reuse. Artillery from the Bosnian war-damaged sections of it in the 1990s. On a brighter note, renovation efforts are currently underway!
3. Houston Astrodome: The first multi-sport domed stadium, the Astrodome earned the title of the Eighth Wonder of the World. Unfortunately, it became obsolete in the 1990s, causing its home teams to move away.
But there is hope the dome might make a triumphant return: as of early 2019, Houston has proposed various refurbishment plans, though none have officially begun.
4. Avanhard Stadium: Like many of the structures surrounding it, this arena in Pripyat, Ukraine, closed after the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. Radiation from the nuclear meltdown rendered the entire area uninhabitable. Understandably, that did not help the attendance for local soccer clubs.
5. Arena da Amazonia: Located in Manaus, Brazil — the largest city within the Amazon rainforest — this stadium entertained soccer fans during the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Olympics. Because of its remote nature, however, no one has found a use for it since.
6. Maracana Stadium: When this Rio De Janeiro site opened in 1950, it had the largest capacity of any stadium on Earth. It hosted events up through the 2016 Olympics, yet rapidly deteriorated in the following years.
Rio will have to drop tens of millions of dollars if they ever wish to reopen the famed Maracana, which suffered after a legal dispute between the stadium’s owner and the Olympic organizing committee.
7. Chaoyang Park Beach Volleyball Ground: During the 2008 Beijing Olympics, this arena saw Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor win gold without dropping a set. Sadly, no one has used it since, even though it’s right in the middle of dense Beijing.
8. Aquatic Center: Hopping from Manaus to Rio de Janeiro, this 2016 Olympic site was supposed to be moved and turned into a community swim center. As you might expect, the plans fell through. The $50 million venue sits crumbling and collecting mold.
9. Washington Coliseum: The hundreds of ice hockey and basketball games that took place under the Coliseum’s roof aren’t even the most interesting chapter of its history.
Washington Area Spark / Flickr
The venue housed U.S. service people during WWII, and it hosted The Beatles’ first American performance. Now, it’s a parking lot.
10. Miami Marine Stadium: The 1963 arena capitalized on a less conventional sporting pastime: powerboat racing. Hurricane Andrew ravaged the venue in 1992, leading it to be condemned. But fear not, boating fans. Talks to restore the stadium are in progress.
11. Berlin Olympic Village: Athletes from all over the world — including Jesse Owens — lodged in this charming site during the otherwise troubled 1936 Olympic Games. The German and Soviet governments later used it for military purposes before abandoning it.
12. Herschel Greer Stadium: Nashville crowds enjoyed minor league baseball in this stadium up until it shut down in 2014. Its guitar-shaped scoreboard remains a novel sight, but Greer has fallen into disrepair the past few years. Demolition probably isn’t too far off.
13. Strahov Stadium: With a capacity for 250,000 spectators, this Prague site is the largest stadium ever built! Its pitch — the size of nine soccer fields — was designed for synchronized gymnastics of all things.
Aside from soccer training and the odd concert, Strahov’s massive stands are eerily quiet these days — a sad fate for a huge stadium with massive potential.
14. Estadio Lluis Sitjar: On the Spanish isle of Mallorca, soccer fans came to cheer on their home team here starting in 1945. After developers built a newer venue in the area, nature claimed Lluis Sitjar. The city eventually knocked it down in 2014.
15. Candlestick Park: Speaking of famed ballparks, Candlestick was enough of a marvel in the 1960s to lure the Giants from New York to San Francisco. The Beatles also played their final major concert there.
The Beatles weren’t the only ones to make their farewell in Candlestick. Frisco took it down in 2014 after both the Giants and 49ers moved to newer fields.
16. Tiger Stadium: Built in 1912, the Detroit Tigers’ home field was right up there with Fenway Park and Wrigley Field in terms of classic baseball diamonds. With the opening of Comerica Park, Tiger Stadium stood unused for roughly a decade before its demolition.
17. Olympic Aquatic Centre: Originally built for the 1991 Mediterranean Games, this Athens swimming complex shined during the 2004 Olympics.
Unfortunately, due to Greece’s ongoing economic issues, they have been unable to keep the venue up to modern standards and it sees little to no action.
18. Stadion za Luzankami: The soccer stadium in Brno, Czech Republic, fell apart after its team left. Trees sprung up in the field, and homeless people moved into the stands. However, Brno renovated it enough to hold one match in 2015, and they hope to fully restore it in the future.
19. BVG Freibad: The best swimmers from all over the world trained at this pool complex ahead of the 1936 Berlin games. It stayed open as a recreational site until the 1980s. With the filthy water in the pool today, it’s not good for much more than sightseeing.
20. Fort Lauderdale Stadium: From 1962 through 1995, the New York Yankees trekked down to Fort Lauderdale for Spring Training. The Baltimore Orioles later took over the venue, but left it in 2009. These days, ghosts are the only ones playing ball on this field of dreams.
Because humans love to build stuff and then find themselves in too much financial ruin to maintain the things they’ve built, there are a number of awesome-looking buildings beyond stadiums that have been abandoned…
Stanislav Traykov / Wikimedia
1. Ross Island (Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India): Originally a British settlement nicknamed “Paris of the East,” the vegetation-dominated island now functions as an Indian Naval Base and a tourist destination. In its heyday, British officials called the island home and lavished it with dance halls, clubs, pools, and gardens.
Stefan Krasowski / Flickr
2. Graun Church Tower (Lake Reschen, Italy): Tasked with providing a nearby town with electricity in the 1950s, the Italians dug an artificial lake that inadvertently flooded this once-active church. Now, only the bell tower breaks the water’s surface.
Noclador / Wikimedia
3. The Haludovo Palace Hotel (Krk, Croatia): In 1971, Krk needed to bring in some tourism and the Haludovo Palace did just that. Thanks to a $45 million investment from the founder of Penthouse Magazine, the hotel continued to expand. The Yugoslavian wars of the 1990s, however, put an abrupt end to Krk tourism, and the hotel was abandoned.
Tor Lindstrand / Wikimedia
4. Maunsell Sea and Air Forts (Thames and Mersey estuaries, United Kingdom): No, those aren’t AT-ATs ripped straight out of The Empire Strikes Back. They were air forts designed during the height of chaos in World War II as defense systems against the German air force. Speaking of war…
Mansell Forts / Wikimedia
5. Abandoned Submarine Base (Baklava, Ukraine): This aquatic facility was designed for something sinister: nuclear ready submarines, built by the USSR during the Cold War. Thankfully, this base’s purpose was never fully realized, and the Russian Federation gifted it to the Ukrainian Navy in 2000.
Alexxx1979 / Wikimedia
6. The City of Pripyat (Ukraine): Appearing to be frozen in time, the city of Pripyat remained practically untouched since 1986, when a disaster at the nearby Chernobyl nuclear power plant forced the town to evacuate. This is one you might want to stay away from.
Clay Gilliland / Wikimedia
7. Kolmanskop (Namibia): Germany brought their architecture to Namibia when their miners arrived to hunt for diamonds. As the British did with Ross Island, the German miners furnished the city with luxuries like bowling alleys. When gold was discovered elsewhere, however, the miners abandoned the city.
8. The Orpheum Theater (New Bedford, Massachusetts): Opening the same day that the Titanic sank in 1912, this theater was every bit as luxurious as the doomed cruise ship. However, even the large ballroom and shooting range couldn’t keep the place from shutting down for good in 1962.
New Bedford Orpheum Rising Project / Facebook
9. Michigan Central Station (Detroit, Michigan): Once the world’s tallest train stations until it was dethroned by Japan’s Nagoya Station, Michigan Central Station became a shell of its former self once Amtrak stopped service there. Still, it’s in better condition than the next abandoned building…
Albert duce / Wikimedia
10. Rum Orphanage (Büyükada, Istanbul, Turkey): The Rum Orphanage started out as a casino-hotel project, but the idea was scrapped in the early 1900s after a few permit issues. In went an orphanage, which ceased operations in 1964. Meanwhile, on the other side of the globe…
Jwslubbock / Wikimedia
11. Bannerman Castle (Beacon, New York): A Scottish arms dealer once used this abandoned building—then fully operational—for munitions storage. That proved to be the fatal flaw for the castle, as a powder explosion in the 1920s and a few ownership changes have left the castle a husk of its former glory.
Bannerman Castle Trust / Facebook
12. Pompeii (Italy): You’ve likely heard the story of Mount Vesuvius erupting and covering this ancient Italian city in a blanket of ash and lava. Today, many of the original structures stand uncovered.
Library of Congress / Flickr
13. Prora (Rügen, Germany): It may not look like much on the outside, but this three-mile-long structure was supposed to be a luxury hotel, commissioned by Hitler in 1939. The construction stalled, and the resort never opened; however, recently, construction has begun again. Would you pay a visit?
lostbastard / Wikimedia
14. Eastern State Penitentiary (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania): In its heyday, this prison housed some of the most notorious villains history has to offer—Al Capone and Slick Willie, to name a few.
Sakeeb Sabakka / Flickr
15. St. Nicholas Church (Mavrovo Lake, Macedonia): This submerged church in Macedonia can be explored during a period of drought, when the water of this man-made lake recedes. Built in 1850, it was abandoned about 100 years ago.
Darko Nikolovski / Wikimedia
16. City Methodist Church (Gary, Indiana): When the steel industry took a hit in the 1970s, Indianans were forced to cut some losses, one of which was this $1 million church erected in the 1920s. Abandoned since 1975, this church has been on Hollywood’s radar and has acted as a filming location for quite a few box office hits, like Pearl Harbor.
Peter Fitzgerald / Wikimedia
17. Waverly Hills Sanatorium (Louisville, Kentucky): Until an antibiotic was created in 1961, this hospital, completed in the 1920s, treated tuberculosis patients. Allegedly, some of these not-so-lucky patients never left and haunt the premises to this day.
Aaron Vowels / Flickr
18. Sathorn Unique Building, “Ghost Tower” (Bangkok, Thailand): The breathtaking views from this tower inspire travelers from all over to take the dangerous climb up to the top. Built in the 1990s, the Sathorn building’s life didn’t last long, and it was abandoned in 1997.
Alexander Blecher / Wikimedia
19. Ryugyong Hotel (Pyongyang, North Korea): Standing dominantly over the rest of the city, this hotel is 105 stories high and shaped like something out of a sci-fi film. While construction of the hotel—meant to hold clubs and casinos—ceased in 1989, it may resume soon.
Roman Harak / Wikimedia
20. Bodie (California): As Will Smith once rapped, “It’s the wild, wild, west,” and in Bodie, California, that still rings true. A happenin’ place in the thick of the gold rush, Bodie has since been abandoned and now attracts tourists interested in ghost tours.
Mispahn / Wikimedia
21. Teufelsberg (Berlin, Germany): On top of a hill built from the rubble of World War II—known as “Devil’s Hill”—this abandoned structure once served as listening stations for the United States. With this tower, the U.S. intercepted radio signals from East Berlin.
Jochen Teufel / Wikimedia
22. New York State Pavilion (Flushing Meadows, New York): Observation towers, theaters, and more more suspension cables than you can throw an acrobat at, these structures once comprised a fairground constructed by some of architecture’s top minds.
23. Nara Dreamland (Nara, Japan): This once-bustling theme park was inspired by Disneyland, but its brightly painted attractions couldn’t compete. In 2006, the park shut down thanks to declining visitors.
24. Centro Financiero Confinanzas (Caracas, Venezuela): Construction of this would-be financial center took a big hit in the 1990s when its central investor passed away. Left abandoned, squatters took over and created a community there—until they were all evicted in 2015. Decrepit as it is, is it in better shape than our next abandoned building?
EneasMx / Wikimedia
25. Centralia (Pennsylvania): Up until 1962, Centralia was bustling with coal miners. Disaster struck when a landfill fire wiped out local mines and cleared residents out of their homes. Steam still wafts up from the ground, including from the famed “Graffiti Highway.”
Lynda & Jason / Flickr
26. Garnet (Montana): Tucked away in lush, green pines, this former mining colony was abandoned once the gold dried up. Only 1,000 people lived there at its peak, but today, you can visit and get a supposedly authentic ghost town experience.
Bureau of Land Management / Flickr
27. Craco (Italy): This hilltop ghost town might have been thriving in the 8th century, but today, it’s been a victim of some of Mother Nature’s most destructive forces: a landslide in 1963, a flood in 1972, and earthquake in 1980.
Wallora / Wikimedia
28. Canfranc International Railway Station (Canfranc, Spain): Nazis took over this train station in the 1940s, which put a damper on its use as a train hub. In the 1970s, a train crash damaged some of the station’s tracks, effectively ending its run.
29. Floating Forest (Sydney, Australia): To the naked eye, the Floating Forest may look like an overly lush sand barge, but it’s really a retired aircraft carrier that’s taken on a new purpose: serving as a home to mangrove trees.
Jason Baker / Flickr
30. Letchworth Village (Rockland County, New York): Unlike the other hospitals on this list, this once-expansive campus didn’t shut down with a tuberculosis cure. Used to test polio vaccines, Letchworth closed in 1996 when abuse and hazardous conditions ran rampant.
Doug Kerr / Wikimedia
31. Hotels in Varosha (Famagusta, Cyprus): In 1974, Turkish troops invaded Varosha, which put an end to these tourist hotspots, as potential occupants weren’t fond of vacationing in hostile territory. Today, the beachside hotels remain empty.
Vikimach / Wikimedia
32. Spreepark Amusement Park (Berlin, Germany): No, it’s not Jurassic Park, but this dinosaur-themed amusement park did offer Tyrannosaurus rex-sized fun to patrons when it opened in 1969. However, it faced a bitter demise in 2002, shutting down due to lack of interest.
Jan Bommes / Flickr
33. Hashima Island (Japan): You might recognize it from the James Bond film Skyfall but it hasn’t seen a ton of action, outside of Hollywood films and daily tours, since the undersea coal mines ran dry in 1974. Created as a place to house miners, this island was home to as many as 5,000 people in 1959.
kntrty / flickr
34. Chateau Miranda (Celles, Belgium): Fleeing the guillotine and the reign of terror that followed its invention, French aristocrats built this palace as a safe haven. Soon after, it became an orphanage before shutting down completely.
Bert Kaufman / Wikimedia
35. Gwrych Castle (North Wales): In the 1800s, this castle was equipped with 128 rooms that included dedicated smoking and billiards rooms. Though plans are on the table to turn this abandoned building into a luxury hotel, no steps have been taken towards that goal.
36. Holy Family Orphanage (Marquette, Michigan): Though it only closed in 1965, this orphanage has accumulated enough rumors and stories about its operations to fill a book. Legend has it you can still hear children playing on its grounds.
P. Gordon / Wikipedia
37. The Moynaq Ship Graveyard (Uzbekistan): Beached ships are a strange sight in their own rights, but how about beached ships over 100 miles from the nearest body of water? The ships rotting in this graveyard once floated dormant on one of the world’s largest lakes, the Aral Sea—until it dried up.
Arian Zwegers / Wikimedia