The village of Belchite in north-eastern Spain was almost completely destroyed during the Spanish civil war, after General Franco's forces clashed with Republican troops there. A new village was eventually built next to the remains of the old, which can still be visited today.
It was the discovery of gold in the early 1860s which led to the town of Barkerville springing up in British Columbia, Canada. Supposedly named after the English emigrant who first struck gold there, it was abandoned after the Great Depression, and now operates as a tourist attraction.
In 1923, the Greek and Turkish governments signed an agreement that saw millions of Greek Orthodox Christians in Turkey and Muslims in Greece "exchanged". The village of Kayaköy in Turkey, once home to about 2,000 Greek Christians, was left empty.
Half-buried in the sands of Namibia's Namib desert is a former mining villlage known as Kolmanskop. The settlement was built by German miners after a diamond field was discovered there, and at one point boasted a bowling alley, ballroom, hospital and casino. Its last residents left in the 1950s.
Burnt-out cars and rusted tram lines can still be seen in what was once Oradour Sur Glane, a French village which was the scene of a massacre by Nazi troops in 1944. 642 people were killed on the site, which has been preserved by the French government as a memorial.
The fortress-like island of Hashima in Japan was home to thousands of people from the late 1880s onwards, when it was used as a coal mining facility. After Mitsubushi bought the island in 1890, huge apartment blocks were constructed for the workers, as well as a concrete sea wall to protect them. After the mine closed in 1974, the island was deserted.
After 1986's Chernobyl disaster, the city of Prypiat, built to house workers at the Chernobyl plant, was left completely empty. Chernobyl itself, however, is still believed to be home to a small number of people.
Only a handful of people are believed to remain in the Syrian city of Quneitra, a once-bustling settlement which passed into Israeli hands in 1967. When the Israeli army withdrew in 1974, it was almost completely destroyed, and has never been rebuilt.
In 1903, a leper colony was established on the Greek island of Spinalonga. About 400 people lived there over the half century until its closure in 1954, and the island has never again been inhabited. It is now a popular tourist destination, with regular boat trips operating from neighbouring Crete.
On Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire stands Imber, an village which was requisitioned by the Ministry of Defence to serve as a training ground in the Second World War. Its residents have never been allowed to return.
A statue of Lenin stares balefully out from Pyramiden, a desolate Russian settlement on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen. Once a prosperous coal mining area, it was bought by the Soviet Union in 1927, but was abandoned during the Russian financial crisis in 1998.
The Wild West boomtown of Bodie sprung up after gold was found in 1850, and is believed by some to have once been one of California's biggest cities – featuring two banks, a railway, a red light district, and even a Chinese quarter. But by 1915, it was already being referred to as a ghost town, and has now become a historic park.
Wittenoom in Western Australia began to decline in the late 1960s, when health concerns were raised about the mining and milling of asbestos that took place there. The government eventually ended up encouraging residents to relocate, and today, the town's name has been eradicated from maps and signs
Ghost towns: in pictures - Telegraph