All over the world, grand mansions, stately homes and other opulent residences that have fallen into ruin are reminders of an elegant past and the changing nature of the times. Underscoring both a rich history and the transience of existence, the reasons behind their abandonment may range from lost fortunes and changing fashions to war, violence and myriad other factors. Today, the crumbling remnants of these great houses serve as a window in time and offer urban explorers the opportunity to capture the ruins in all their glory. Here we will look at the 20 of the most impressive abandoned mansions across the world.
Abandoned Waterfront Mansion in Istanbul, Turkey
Tagged by the photographer as the “perfect setting for a horror movie”, this incredible waterfront property in Istanbul occupies a prime location on the shores of the Bosphorous. Photographed in August 2008, the abandoned mansion was clearly an important structure before falling into ruin. Even today it remains a grand and imposing building, but stands gutted and sadly looks to be beyond redemption, with any restoration effort undoubtedly coming with a vast price tag.
Abandoned Chateau de Noisy, Belgium
Chateau de Noisy in Belgium was originally named Chateau Miranda and completed in 1866. Designed by an English architect, the striking property was reportedly occupied by the Nazis during World War Two and became an orphanage in later years before being completely abandoned in 1991. A grand yet foreboding building, much of the interior remains in place and has been well documented by urban explorers.
Skeleton of Abandoned Mansion in The Philippines
Known as “The Ruins”, this striking structure in the Philippines is the skeletal remains of the home of young sugar baron Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson. Located in Talisay City, Negros Occidental, the grand house was reportedly set alight by US forces during World War Two in a bid to prevent the Japanese using it as a headquarters. Dating to the 1900s and beautifully preserved as a tourist attraction, the completely see-through Ruins is arguably one of the most wonderful and compelling abandoned mansions in the world.
Abandoned Magnificence: Sutton Scarsdale Hall
Sutton Scarsdale Hall may be a shadow of its former self, but its impressive ruins leave no doubt that it was once one of the finest stately homes in northern England. Located in Derbyshire, the abandoned mansion was commissioned in 1724 and owned by the Arkwright family for almost 100 years. In 1919 a group of local businessmen asset-stripped the building, selling its grand internal fittings to the highest bidder. The ruin of Sutton Scarsdale is now managed by English Heritage, while some of its treasures have now found their way to thePhiladelphia Museum of Art.
Ruperra Castle: Abandoned Mansion in Wales
Built in 1626 by Sir Thomas Morgan, the Grade II listed Ruperra Castle in Lower Machen, Wales, has suffered two fires during its time and famously hosted King Charles I for two nights after the Battle of Naseby in 1645. Rebuilt after the first fire in 1785, the abandoned mansion – which was the first “mock castle” in Wales – remained in Morgan hands until around 1935, when the family fortune declined. Used by the British Army during World War Two, Ruperra Castle was again gutted by fire in 1941 and has remained a decaying shell ever since. The building was put up for sale for £1.5 million in 2010.
Abandoned Mansion in Auvergne, France
This abandoned mansion in the Auvergne region of France, with decorative turrets above and to either side of the main door, was once clearly the grand country seat of a prosperous family. While the front door remains open for urban explorers and the outer shell appears to be intact, the central upstairs window appears to reveal a gaping hole in the roof, reflecting the fate of so many grand properties left to the elements. The abandoned building is surrounded by other crumbling structures – if you know their story, be sure to leave a comment!
Abandoned Tyrone House, County Galway, Ireland
photo – Copyright Mike Searle
One of several impressive abandoned mansions in County Galway, Ireland, Tyrone House has a dark history. Built in 1779, the house was used by the Black and Tans during the Irish War of Independence before being destroyed by the IRA. Situated in a commanding position overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, Tyrone House was originally owned by Christopher St. George and was acquired by the Georgian Society in 1972.
Abandoned Callert House, Loch Leven, Scotland
Callert House, an abandoned Georgian Mansion on the shores of Loch Leven in Scotland, has been unoccupied since the 1940s. Built for Sir Duncan Cameron of Fassifern in the 1830s to replace a previous structure that burned down, the house stands completely derelict. Reports of hauntings persist in the area, including a mysterious ball of fire that’s said to manifest near Callert House and vanish into the loch.
Abandoned Mansion: Shandon House, Scotland
Shandon House is a striking example 19th century Scottish Baronial architecture. Built for William Jamieson in 1849 and set in 31 acres above Gare Loch, the location is now dominated by the Faslane Naval Base. Used as a school before being purchased by the UK Ministry of Defence, the latter allowed the building to fall into years of dereliction before reportedly putting it up for sale again.
Abandoned Mansion in Cwrt, Wales
Unlike many abandoned mansions featured in this gallery, this derelict house in Cwrt, Wales has an intact roof despite its dilapidated exterior and urgent need of maintenance. In his Tour of Pembrokeshire (1811), Richard Fenton described the house as “a handsome modern mansion with a well-managed demesne”. Today, its outbuildings are also in ruins and the tree stump in the foreground is all that remains of a cedar grown from a seed brought from the Holy Land.
Spectacular Abandoned Mansion in Portugal
Located in Portugal, this abandoned mansion, with elegant stone steps leading to the front door, is architecturally striking and was clearly once the home of an affluent family. Why it fell into ruin is unknown, but efforts seem to have been made to seal the structure at some point. One ground floor and two first floor windows have been blocked-off, no doubt in a bid to preserve the property and keep vandals out. Sadly these efforts appear to have been futile and the abandoned building has since been gutted, despite its grand stone shell.
Abandoned Colonial Mansion of the New World
This beautiful abandoned mansion is one of many grand houses that were built during the 19th and early 20th centuries by European settlers emigrating to the old Spanish and Portuguese colonies of the New World. This building was reportedly renovated extensively around 12 years ago by a family from Mexico, but due to a death in the family the properly was never inhabited thereafter and has since fallen into decay. Despite this, the grand staircase and many internal fittings remain intact.
Abandoned Mansion in New Jersey, United States
Located in New Jersey, United States, this abandoned mansion was reportedly part of the Stivasin Rutherford Estate before falling into decay. Close to the Stephen State Park Hiking Trail, the mansion and its surrounding structures have clearly been abandoned for years. Hidden in woodland off the beaten path, it has become a popular talking point on urbex forums and message boards.
Abandoned Mansion in Bangladesh, South Asia
This abandoned mansion, ornate and decrepit, is typical of the buildings in Panam Nagar, a once-affluent part of Sonargaon in Bangladesh. Sonargaon was the capital of Bengal during the 16th Century and later came under British rule. During the 19th Century, wealthy Hindu cloth merchants constructed colonial-style homes inspired by European architecture, but the area fell into ruin after the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 and today is a barely inhabited ghost town.
Abandoned Art Deco Mansion in Hong Kong
Located in Hong Kong Island’s affluent Mid-Levels neighbourhood, a prestigious community of wealthy locals and expats on Victoria Peak, is this wonderful Art Deco mansion that has clearly been abandoned for some time. Situated at 30 Po Shan Road, the faded structure doesn’t look being repair but is reportedly on the market and the buyer will have the option to tear it down if desired.
Abandoned Mansion in Taichung, Taiwan
This grand abandoned mansion, built in the Baroque style, is located in the city of Taichung in Taiwan. Reportedly the former residence of a well known poet, the house has fallen into abandonment but remains in good condition – at least externally, despite some out-of-control foliage to the right of its facade. Leave us a comment if you know more about this building!
Wyndcliffe: Derelict Mansion, Rhinebeck, New York
Wyndcliffe, in the town of Rhinebeck, New York, was one of many fine houses constructed throughout the Hudson River Valley during the 19th Century. Built in 1853 for Elizabeth Schermerhorn Jones – a relative by marriage of the Astor family – the mansion allegedly inspired the phrase “keeping up with the Joneses”. Later owned by Andrew Finck, a New York beer baron, Wyndcliffe was abandoned some time after 1950 and remains an imposing site, although the structure has finally started to collapse.
Abandoned Mansion in Durrow, Éire
The past grandeur of this abandoned mansion near Durrow in Éire is clear despite the fact that it’s been reduced to little more than a gutted shell. With its roof missing and thick foliage consuming its internal walls and chimneys, restoring the structure would prove a monumental undertaking. One of many large derelict houses in Ireland, the abandoned building is a historic reminder of a different time.
Abandoned “Villa de Vecchi” (The Ghost Mansion)
Located in the mountains east of Lake Como in Italy, this wonderful abandoned Baroque mansion is known locally as “Villa de Vecchi”, or the Ghost Mansion. The building has been derelict for years and according to urban legend, was the scene of a murder or suicide. While an effort is underway to save and restore the abandoned mansion, it’s future remains uncertain.
Abandoned Mansion in Ostrowo, Poland
Looking slightly mysterious in the mist, this abandoned mansion in Ostrowo, Poland, has the look of a structure that hasn’t been deserted for long, or at least has been left relatively untouched by vandals. Whatever its history, the abandoned building was clearly once the home of an affluent family, ultimately falling into dereliction like so many other grand houses that become increasingly expensive to maintain. Perhaps one day someone will come along intent on renovating the property. Until then, it will remain the domain of urban explorers.