21 photos of the most bizarre real estate projects around the world that were left in ruins

The Buzludzha Monument in Bulgaria is one such project.

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The Buzludzha Monument in Bulgaria is one such project.
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NurPhoto / Getty

  • All over the world, there are some very unique buildings that have been abandoned and left in ruins.
  • In North Korea, there is a 107-story, pyramid-shaped hotel that has never been opened to the public – despite its central location.
  • In Turkey, there is a completely abandoned community of 300 miniature castles that were meant for the wealthy.

Not every business move is the smartest decision, especially when it comes to real estate.

All over the world, people have built truly wild homes, hotels, and resorts that are no longer in use and now abandoned. Whether it be for economic, financial, or unexplained reasons, these truly bizarre places have now become dilapidated monuments that hint at their former, unique selves.

Keep reading to see some of the best out-of-the-box structures left in ruins.


The Sutyagin House is often considered one of the tallest wooden houses in the world.

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The Sutyagin House stood 13 stories tall.
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Wikimedia Commons

Entrepreneur Nikolai Petrovich Sutyagin started building the large wooden home in 1992, and it reached 144 feet with 13 stories. It took over 15 years to build the structure in Arkhangelsk, Russia. At its completion, some called it the “eighth wonder of the world.”


Sutyagin said the impressive height of the house was a “happy accident.”

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It remained abandoned for years.
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Wikimedia Commons

“First I added three floors but then the house looked ungainly, like a mushroom,” Sutyagin told the Daily Telegraph in an interview. “So I added another and it still didn’t look right so I kept going. What you see today is a happy accident.”


When Sutyagin was in prison for racketeering, the house remained abandoned and began to fall apart.

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Sutyagin House after most of it was destroyed in 2009.
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Wikimedia Commons

While the house was abandoned for years, it was eventually deemed a fire risk. Parts of the home were taken down in 2009 to reduce the risk. However, what was left was actually destroyed in a fire in 2012.


The Sanzhi Pod City — built in 1978 — was meant to be a seaside resort for the US military in Taiwan.

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Sanzhi Pod City was abandoned.
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Wikimedia Commons

Each pod in the city was built to resemble UFOs, becoming a town of the future.


The city was never opened because of investment losses in 1980.

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Abandoned pods.
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Wikimedia Commons

Others believe various conspiracy theories explain its abandonment. Since many construction workers committed suicide while building the pods, people believe the city is haunted. Some think there is a Dutch graveyard beneath the buildings, causing a supernatural haunting.


The seemingly haunted city decayed and remained untouched for years until it was demolished in 2010.

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Abandoned pods.
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Wikimedia Commons

No one has learned the truth about what really happened in Sanzhi Pod City.


The Bulgarian Communist Party built a monstrous headquarters on top of a mountain in 1981, and it resembles a flying saucer.

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Buzludzha Monument.
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NurPhoto/ Getty

The headquarters sits atop the Buzludzha mountain peak, located in the middle of Bulgaria. The saucer-like structure is formally known as the Buzludzha Monument.


In 1989, however, Bulgaria shifted to democracy and abandoned the communist headquarters.

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Inside the Buzludzha Monument.
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Barcroft Media / Getty

It has laid in ruins for decades as a monument to a failed past.


The site remains closed to the public, but vandals often get inside to explore the abandoned building.

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Buzludzha Monument decaying.
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NurPhoto / Getty

The concrete building still stands today, prompting many people to break in and vandalize the structure.


In 1987, North Korea built a 107-story pyramid tower in its capital city, but it has remained abandoned for decades.

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Unfinished Ryugyong Hotel.
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Anthony Asael/ Art in All of Us/ Getty

The building was meant to be a hotel, but it has never welcomed a single guest. The Ryugyong Hotel remains dark in the Pyongyang skyline, except for the light atop of the pyramid which warns airplanes of its existence.


The Ryugyong Hotel is now the tallest unoccupied building in the world despite getting a face lift.

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Ryugyong Hotel’s exterior was completed in 2011.
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Alexander Demianchuk/ Getty

The hotel was only supposed to take two years to build, but construction drew on for many years. When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, North Korea entered an economic crisis, halting construction entirely. The building remained a concrete eyesore until 2008 when the country started working on the its exterior. But the inside still remains closed to the public.


Eerily, the building’s exterior has been lit up and used for North Korean propaganda.

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Propaganda lit up on the Ryugyong Hotel.
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Ed Jones/ Getty

In 2018, the North Korean government turned the building into a light show. With 100,000 LED lights, the building’s outside lit up with images of political leaders, events, and monuments. The inside of the hotel remained dark.


Meanwhile, in Turkey, a strange community of mini castles were built for the wealthy but has remained abandoned for years.

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Burj Al Babas now lies in ruin.
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Adem Altan/AFP/Getty Images

In 2014, a developer started building villas that resembled miniature castles. The community – called Burj Al Babas – sits at the base of Turkey’s northwest mountains in the town of Mudurnu. Each home is identical to the other, with blue, intricate roofs and towers fit for a princess.


The homes sold for $400,000 to $500,000 each.

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Empty villas at Burj Al Babas.
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Adem Altan/AFP/Getty Images

There were more than 732 villas within the community, and 350 were sold to wealthy Arab investors.


But many buyers pulled out of the deal when Turkey experienced an economic recession, leaving the town abandoned.

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Each villa is exactly the same.
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Adem Altan/AFP/Getty Images

The developer company filed for bankruptcy protection when all of its buyers pulled out of their deals. Political turmoil, higher inflation rates, and the decline in oil prices all contributed to the downfall of this community. The Burj Al Babas hopes to open again in late 2019.


China has a number of bizarre ghost towns, but Tianducheng is one of the more interesting ones because it’s a replica of Paris.

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Tianducheng from afar.
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Reuters/Aly Song

Just outside of Shanghai is the city of Tianducheng, which was built in 2007. It was created as a replica of Paris, even with its own 354-foot Eiffel Tower.


Although the town was built for 10,000 people, only 2,000 people live there.

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Eiffel Tower at the Tianducheng housing development.
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Lang Lang/Reuters

Even though this town isn’t entirely in ruins, it’s known as a ghost town.


You can still visit the town today for only $82 a night.

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Fountains in Tianducheng.
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SBS Dateline

The Tianducheng Resort offers guest a room for $82 a night. You can visit replicas of the fountains found outside the Palace of Versailles or take a stroll down one of the city’s Europe-inspired streets.


On a grander scale, the Greek government spent a large sum of money to build elaborate venues for the 2004 Olympic games in Athens, but now all the buildings are abandoned.

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Athens’ Olympic venue abandoned.
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Milos Bicanski/Getty Images

It’s not unusual for Olympic stadiums and venues to become abandoned after the games. But, Athens’ venues – which now lie in ruin – are especially noteworthy because the country went $15 billion over budget.


As the country suffered from severe economic issues, its overly elaborate Olympic venues became dilapidated.

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Athens’ Olympic pool now abandoned.
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Milos Bicanski/Getty Images

The country simply had no use for its larger investments like the Olympic swimming pool and baseball stadium.


Even the volleyball court — built specifically for the Olympics — lies in ruins.

The struggle of finding a use for Olympic venues after the games’ end is not uncommon for host cities all over the world.