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10 Eerie Abandoned Cities You Can Visit


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Plymouth, Montserrat
Helena Codrington stands where Montserrat's Treasury building once stood and where she used to work before the Soufriere-Hills volcano erupted. Since this photo was taken in 2005, it's likely that the tops of this building are now covered with ash. Christopher Pillitz/Exclusive by Getty Images)
Helena Codrington stands where Montserrat's Treasury building once stood and where she used to work before the Soufriere-Hills volcano erupted. Since this photo was taken in 2005, it's likely that the tops of this building are now covered with ash. Christopher Pillitz/Exclusive by Getty Images)

The Soufrière Hills volcano has been burbling and belching on the island of Montserrat in the eastern Caribbean ever since its reawakening in 1995. That year, the nearby city of Plymouth — the British-owned island's commercial and governmental hub — was evacuated due to concerns over a major eruption. Good call: In 1997 the much-feared eruption occurred, covering the abandoned city in 30 to 40 feet (9 to 12 meters) of ash. Nineteen people perished [sources: Skyscanner , Strochlic].

After the eruption, two-thirds of the island's 12,000 residents left for good, mainly to England. The volcano destroyed much of the country's commerce when Plymouth was buried, as well as most its farmland. Today, Plymouth, often dubbed a modern-day Pompeii, is still uninhabitable. Visitors typically aren't allowed to visit the town on foot, due to the continuing dangerous volcanic activity. But you can take boat tours and see Plymouth from the water. You can also climb Garibaldi Hill to the north for a view of Plymouth, assuming there is no current hazardous alert in place [source: Dark-Tourism].

In the past, tourists could easily spy the tops or upper stories of the town's buildings, partially buried in ash. But as each year passes, more of Plymouth's remains get covered. Still, many people are lured by the sight of the gray, unearthly scene, which could be described as apocalyptic — as well the chance to see a volcano in action [source: Dark-Tourism].


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