You see the hauntingly beautiful pictures of the fallen grandeur of abandoned buildings, and you think, "I want to see those for myself." But watch out. Some of the world's most fascinating modern ruins are also the most hazardous. Here are some abandoned sites that you could risk life and limb to visit.

The near-ghost town Centralia, Pennsylvania

The population of the city started to dwindle after mining operations ended in the 1960s: in 2010 it had only ten inhabitants.

An underground mine fire started here in 1962, which is still burning and producing toxic gases and smoke, causing the abandonment of the neighboring town named Byrnesville, too. Only a few buildings are standing now.

(via Proper Pictures)

Dallol, Ethiopia, the place that holds the record for the highest average temperature for an inhabited location, with buildings made of salt blocks.

Dallol was a salt, slyvite and potash mining community, abandoned in the late 1960s. There aren't any roads, only camel caravans and armed Afar tribesmen, because the place is close to the Eritrean border.

(via volcanodiscovery)

Ağdam, Azerbaijan, once a town with more than 150,000 inhabitants, empty since the Nagorno-Karabakh war.

The residents were force out of the city by Armenian forces in July 1993.

(via Sometimes Interesting)

Pripyat, Ukraine, evacuated after the Chernobyl disaster in April 1986.

Some parts of the city could be discovered, because the radiation level is relatively small, but the visitors must stay on roads and should enter to only a few buildings with the tour leader. Lots of buildings are dangerous to explore and the areas covered with vegetation has much higher radiation levels.

(via IAEA Imagebank and Wikimedia Commons)

Hashima Island, one of the 505 uninhabited islands in Nagasaki Prefecture, commonly called Gunkanjima (means Battleship Island).

The coal mine of the island was operated from 1890 to 1974. In 1959 the island had 5,259 inhabitants, living in some concrete blocks built from 1916.

Hashima was closed between 1974 and 2009, but now a small portion is open to visitors. Many urban explorers wants to visit the closed area, although some of its buildings have already collapsed.

(via KNTRTY, Jordy Meow 123, Σ64, Hisagi and Mitsuhiro)

Varosha, Cyprus, a thriving tourist destination until the 1970s, before the Turkish Invasion of Cyprus started in 1974 and the whole place was fenced off.

Now it's one of the most surreal places in the world: the cars are parked in the streets, dishes are still on tables and everything looks like it was abandoned only hours ago. The problem is that you will be shot if you're caught.

(via Tony Woods, Michael Kirian, Sergej Fomin and Kriisi)

Port Mulgrave mine, North Yorkshire, UK

The ironstone mine was opened in 1857, later it was connected to a nearby railway with a narrow gauge railway. The line was closed in 1934. The tunnel is in bad condition, some parts are collapsed, so any exploring might be really dangerous.

(Photos taken by Phill.d/Flickr)