The Unfinished Royal Palace at Tell el-Ful, Jerusalem


The unfinished ruins of the Royal Palace at Tell el-Ful in Jerusalem.


(Image: Eli.berckovitz. Unfinished ruins of the Royal Palace at Tell el-Ful)

The Middle East has long been a place of upheaval. This unfinished shell of a building, which stands at one of the highest points in the region, is testament to that. Construction of the building began in 1965, intended as a summer home for King Hussein of Jordan after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. The site was one of great historic importance, as its prominent hilltop location “ known as Tell el-Ful “ had long been associated with the biblical Gibeah.





(Image: Daniel)

Whether this association is accurate has been a topic of ongoing debate. Archaeologists have for years argued over the findings of numerous excavations. But even many of those who do question Tell el-Ful’s link to Gibeah – including Tel Aviv University’s Israel Finkelstein (pdf) – accept the area may have been inhabited at least as far back as the 7th or 8th centuries BC.





(Image: Daniel)

Excavations initially got underway at Tell el-Ful in 1868. Subsequent digs uncovered layer upon layer of fortifications, including a set of ancient ruins, which are understood to have been built by the biblical King Saul.

The abandoned, unfinished shell of the Royal Palace on Tell el-Ful was to be built over these ruins of Saul’s ancient residence, and the original plans were grand. Intended not only as a summer home but a place where visiting dignitaries could stay, relax, and no doubt be impressed, the three-storey structure was set to be clad with Jerusalem stone, a building material that hearkened back to the area’s ancient history.





(Image: Daniel)

But plans were halted just two years after construction began, when Israel seized control of the West Bank in the Six-Day War of 1967. The two-storey cement structure was little more than a skeleton then, and since that time, it’s become a haven for all manner of less-than-savoury characters.


The view from Tell el-Ful overlooking Jerusalem


(Image: Judae1. The view from Tell el-Ful overlooking Jerusalem)

The incomplete Royal Palace’s future on Tell el-Ful remains uncertain. Stilled owned by the ruling family of Jordan, local authorities in Jerusalem have reportedly been reluctant to allow renovations at the abandoned property atop the ancient “Gibeah of Saul”.

Keep Reading: Lifta: Abandoned Palestinian Ghost Village at Edge of Jerusalem (Photos)

Aldeia de Broas: A Ruined Portuguese Ghost Village


These ruins mark the ghost town of Aldeia de Broas in Portugal.


(Image: Reino Baptista. The Portuguese ghost town of Aldeia de Broas)

These crumbling farm buildings are understood to mark the last remnants of Aldeia de Broas, a ghost town in Mafra, a municipality in the Lisbon District on the west coast of Portugal. According the Wikipedia, the lost community had been inhabited for centuries but became a ghost town in the 1960s when its last resident died. Judging by the photograph, the years have clearly not been kind.

Atmospheric as the above photograph is, Google Earth offers a more comprehensive glimpse back in time, as the ruins of the old village can clearly be seen from above.


The ruins of Aldeia de Broas from above.

Read Next: The Forgotten Ghost Town of Baltimore, Indiana

The Forgotten Ghost Town of Baltimore, Indiana


The sole surviving building in the ghost town of Baltimore, Indiana


(Image: Huw Williams. The last surviving building in Baltimore, Indiana ghost town)

There isn’t much left of Baltimore, Indiana, but the settlement’s sole surviving building must have been grand in its day. The handsome red brick mansion near the intersection of Baltimore Hill Road and Indiana State Road 263, surrounded by cultivated farmland, dates back to the 1880s.


Period drawing of Baltimore, Indiana, now a ghost town.


(Image: J. H. Beers and Company, Chicago)

Not to be confused with the larger Maryland city of the same name, the Indiana ghost town lies on the banks of the Wabash River in Warren County’s Mound Township. Founded in 1829 by William Willmeth and Samuel Hill, the settlement was once a bustling little community with a peak population of 70.


Historic plan showing the layout of Baltimore, Indiana, now a ghost town where barely a trace remains.


(Image: Warren County Recorder)

Once home to a post office, a general store and a number of homes, Baltimore, Indiana fell into decline around the 1840s when construction of the Wabash and Erie Canal was completed on the far side of the river. As is so often the way of things, this waterway, which connected the Great Lakes to the Ohio River, would itself fall out of use over time.


Historic tombstones in the small cemetery at Baltimore, Indiana.


(Image: Huw Williams)

Not that it would come as any comfort to the spectres of Baltimore, of which now barely a trace remains, save for the red brick house mention above and a collection of tombstones in the ghost town’s old cemetery.

Related: Ghost Towns: 20 Haunting Abandoned Villages of the World

Indonesian Boeing 737 Veers Off Runway at Wamena Airport


Boeing Boeing 737-301, registration PK-YGG, in landing incident at Wamena Airport, Indonesia


(Image: Papua Police/File via The Jakarta Post; Boeing 737 in runway incident at Wamena)

Yesterday it was reported that a Boeing 737-301 belonging to an Indonesian cargo company had suffered a “runway excursion” at Wamena, the largest town in the country’s Papua highlands. The freighter, which was operated by Jakarta-based Tri-MG Intra Asia Airlines, had arrived from Timika and reportedly veered off the runway on landing.

A Tri MG Airlines official told FlightGlobal that the incident occurred around 11:50 local time on July 18th. The registration of the 737 involved in the incident was PK-YGG. According to FlightGlobal, the official said that “the crew felt heavy pressure on the aircraft while landing” before the plane veered off the runway.





(Image: Papua Police/File via The Jakarta Post; Boeing 737 PK-YGG)

FlightGlobal wrote: “The aircraft’s attitude suggest that the entire undercarriage may have collapsed. In one image, the leftside landing gear has been torn backwards, the wheels lying next to the aircraft’s flaps. There is no evidence of fire.”

Meanwhile, The Jakarta Post reported that “the left wheel and undercarriage of the aircraft had fallen off when the plane touched down.” All five people on the aircraft, including four crew and a passenger, survived the incident. No other injuries have been reported.

The 29-year-old plane, which was carrying 15,000 kilograms of rice, mattresses and construction materials, reportedly left the runway at around 100 metres from its landing point and skidded for almost a kilometre, passing over a flooded ditch and hitting a wall.


The terminal building at Wamena Airport in Papua Province.


(Image: WMX Wamena Airport; the airport terminal)

The same Boeing 737 aircraft was also reportedly involved in an incident last April when cargo was pushed to the back of the plane as it was being loaded at Wamena, causing the aircraft’s nose to rise several metres off the ground.

Boeing 737-301 PK-YGG was delivered to Piedmont Airlines in 1988 and has been operated by Tri-MG Intra Asia Airlines since April 2012. Wamena Airport, which lies 6,200 ft above sea level and is surrounded by high mountains, is known for its unpredictable weather patterns.

Read Next: Defunct Airliner in a Quarry on Bukit Peninsula

A Forgotten Shipwreck on Gullane Bents (East Lothian)?


Possible shipwreck on Gullane Bents in East Lothian.


(Images: Urban Ghosts. A forgotten shipwreck at Gullane Bents?)

If you turn to Google looking for a shipwreck on Gullane Bents, in Scotland, chances are that most search results will direct you to two historic midget submarines wrecks, which lie half-buried in the sand of nearby Aberlady Bay, and can be visited at low tide.

Wading along the picturesque East Lothian beach yesterday, however, I came upon what from a distance looked like a rock. But on closer inspection it was clearly man-made, forged of steel, and similar in appearance to the entrance hatch of the abandoned midget submarines along the coast.


A forgotten wreck on Gullane Beach?

There’s no evidence (that I know of) of such a vessel on Gullane Bents, and it’s likely the explanation is rather more prosaic. But if you do know more about the history of this apparent maritime relic, we’d be intrigued to learn more. Is it a forgotten shipwreck from a bygone era, or something else?

Read Next: 10 Deserted Islands in the Firth of Forth (Scotland)

The Attractive Ruins of Lilbourne Railway Station


The overgrown remains of Lilbourne railway station in Northamptonshire.


(Image: G-Man. The attractive ruins of Lilbourne railway station)

By comparison to many of the abandoned railway stations we’ve featured on Urban Ghosts, the remains of Lilbourne station may appear like little more than a ruined rural platform. But there’s something undeniably photogenic about the above scene, which shows a double track-bed turned vehicle access and a short country platform slowly returning to nature.

Lilbourne station in Northamptonshire, England, opened on the Rugby and Stamford Railway on May 1, 1850. It began as a single track and was later doubled in 1878 due to passenger demand. When the 1923 grouping led to the establishing of “The Big Four of the New Railway Era”, the Rugby and Stamford came under the control of the London Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS).

Lilbourne station remained opened until 1966, closing in the same decade that many rural stations and branch lines faced the dreaded Beeching Axe. The railway station gave its name to the nearby RAF Lilbourne airfield, a First World War Royal Flying Corps station that was home to the Sopwith Camels of No. 73 Squadron.

Read Next: 13 Abandoned Stations & Disused Platforms of the London Underground

A Levitating Yoda on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile


A levitating Yoda on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh


(Images: Urban Ghosts. A levitating Yoda on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile)

For many years, Edinburgh’s Old Town has been a go-to destination for tourists and street performers alike, both in and out of festival season.




Amid the throng of the Royal Mile yesterday, this levitating (and unusually tall) Yoda drew the attention of many curious passers-by.




Whether or not he was actually using the Force, the illusion caused at least one observer to take a look down his Jedi robes. He’s also apparently something of a fixture by the red telephone kiosk at the foot of the Lawnmarket – making an appearance on Google Street View.




If memory serves, this is the first time that Yoda has put in an appearance on Urban Ghosts. But Star Wars fans may enjoy an assortment of other distant galactic oddities, from the sad wrecks in an X-Wing graveyard to a full-scale Millennium Falcon and real-world film locations.

Stedsans in the Woods: Permaculture Farm & Retreat Made From Upcycled Materials


Sustainable architecture in Sweden: Stedsans in the Woods permaculture farm and retreat.


(Image: Lendager Group. Stedsans in the Woods permaculture farm)

Set to open later this month, Stedsans in the Woods is a permaculture farm offering a sustainable retreat amid the natural beauty of southern Sweden, plus comfortable accommodation made from upcycled waste materials.

Nestled amid the beautiful forests and lakes of Halland province, the farm lies at the heart of one of Europe’s least populated regions. But despite its seclusion, Stedsans is just four hours from Stockholm and two and a half hours from Copenhagen.


Stedsans in the Woods


(Image: Lendager Group)

Aiming to set “new standards for sustainability”, Stedsans in the Woods is the vision of Mette Helbæk and Flemming Hansen, who spent 15 years managing restaurants together and most recently ran Stedsans ˜sterGRO in Copenhagen, Denmark.

But by 2016 they were seeking their own patch of land away from the big city, and found the perfect place on the shore of Lake Halla, not far from the town of Hyltebruk.





(Image: Lendager Group)

To help bring their vision to life, the pair sought the services of sustainable architects Lendager Group, who designed the building’s around existing materials already present at the site, upcycling waste wood from old barns and glass from abandoned greenhouses.

The goal was “to create a development that exists in harmony with the landscape,” designboom reports. “Treading lightly on the terrain, the design team used rammed earth for the buildings’ inner walls, while external façades use stones and boulders uncovered during the excavation process,” the website added.





(Image: Stedsans in the Woods)

With accommodation to suit all budgets, Stedsans will serve as both a retreat “where wild nature meets beautiful luxurious meals and permaculture farming”, and a “lab for discovering better ways to eat, live and connect with nature”.

From the website: “From the summer of 2017 Stedsans is realising a dream of combining the surroundings of wild nature and a permaculture farm with the luxury of eating a beautiful meal made from the best and freshest ingredients possible, and a comfortable and stylish place to rest by the lake. All this in a living laboratory searching for better ways to live and eat.”





(Image: Stine Christiansen for Stedsans in the Woods)

We’re excited to follow this project as it develops. For more information, be sure to check out the Stedsans website.

Telfer Subway: Sealed Pedestrian Passageway to Abandoned Dalry Road Station


The Telfer Subway beneath Edinburgh's Western Approach Road was built during the mid 19th century by the Caledonian Railway to allow access to Dalry Road station, now closed.


(Image: Urban Ghosts. The Telfer Subway beneath Edinburgh’s Western Approach Road)

For those walking from Dalry to Fountainbridge, in Edinburgh, a popular underpass beneath the Western Approach Road has for decades provided a convenient pedestrian shortcut between Caledonian Crescent and Dundee Street. Many residents of Gorgie-Dalry are familiar with the Telfer Subway, which dates back to the 1840s. But not everyone knows that the brick-lined underpass lies beneath the remnants of a long-abandoned railway station, or that it once gave access – via a now-sealed passageway and steps – to an island platform above.

We’ve featured the remains of Dalry Road station’s Edinburgh-bound platform before, but felt that its sealed access tunnel, which is hidden in plain sight inside the underpass, also deserved a mention. The former entrance to the passageway lies approximately half way along the Telfer Subway, where the Victorian brickwork gives way to a blank wall of concrete (below).


The sealed access passage to disused Dalry Road station's abandoned island platform inside the Telfer Subway underpass in Edinburgh.


(Image: Urban Ghosts. Sealed platform access to Dalry Road station inside Telfer Subway)

Meanwhile, up above, there’s no evidence of the access steps on the remains of the ruined island platform (which also once featured a waiting room). Whether or not the station steps live on, cocooned within the forgotten passageway, is unknown. But it’s likely the platform access was infilled before its entrance in the Telfer Subway was blocked off forever.


1945 image showing Dalry Road station's island platform


(Image: Google Earth. 1945 image showing Dalry Road station’s island platform)

Dalry Road station was built as part of the Caledonian Railway’s North Leith Branch during the mid 19th century. When the station closed in the 1960s, the Telfer Subway was retained as a useful shortcut between Caledonian Crescent and Dundee Street, and has remained popular with pedestrians ever since.

But in 2015 it was reported that the council was considering closing the Telfer Subway – the scene of several assaults and muggings over the years – in favour of a toucan crossing over the Western Approach Road. The proposal proved unpopular with residents who consider the underpass to be an important part of Dalry and Fountainbridge’s local history. Two years on, the Telfer Subway remains open and is monitored by CCTV.


Contemporary aerial photograph of the site once occupied by Dalry Road station in Edinburgh.


(Image: Google Earth. The same scene today. Dalry Road station has long disappeared)

The lost Dalry Road station platform access is one of many rail and tramway relics in Edinburgh that have been sealed off from the public gaze forever. Others include a hidden railway tunnel in Leith, the Scotland Street tunnel’s gated portal at Waverley station, and a subterranean winding room from the Edinburgh Corporation’s original cable-hauled trams. The latter lies frozen in time beneath Haymarket.

Disused Rails in Buccleuch Street, Melrose (Marmions Brasserie)


The disused narrow gauge railway track within close of Marmions Brasserie, Melrose.


(Images: Urban Ghosts. Disused rails within close of Marmions Brasserie, Melrose)

Yesterday, while strolling around the attractive town of Melrose, I stumbled upon a railway oddity that immediately intrigued me. Having visited this historic community in the Scottish Borders on several occasions, I’m well acquainted with the Melrose railway station which, though disused, is partially preserved alongside the A6091 road. (The elegant Victorian station building is now an Italian restaurant.) But this oddity wasn’t associated with the old station, which was built in 1849 by the North British Railway and remained in use until January 1969. Rather, it lay across town in Buccleuch Street, and featured a disused railway track – curiously sunk into the concrete floor of a narrow close, or passageway, running from front to rear of a restaurant building.

The building in question, which stands opposite the Melrose post office, houses the award-winning Marmions Brasserie. The ‘close’ runs down the right side of the building at ground level, connecting Buccleuch Street to a small courtyard at the back of the brasserie.


The mysterious rails lie rusted in the concrete and may indicate an old wagonway or industrial tramway.


(The mysterious rails lie rusted in the concrete and may indicate an old wagonway)

The mysterious narrow gauge railway is almost as wide as the passageway itself. Its purpose is unclear, though it was presumably installed when (or after) the structure now housing Marmions Brasserie was first built. The rusted steel tracks indicate an old tram or wagonway (like the one at Harewood House) that may once have been used to carry goods from their roadside drop-off to the storage yard beyond.


The 'close', or entrance passagway, in which the abandoned railway track lies, can be seen on the far right of the Marmions Brasserie building.


(The ‘close’, or entrance passagway, can be seen on the far right of the Marmions Brasserie building)

We’re unsure whether, at one time, the rails extended further than the length of the close, but perhaps you can shed some light on this intriguing wagonway track? If so, please drop us a comment below.

Related: 10 Forgotten Plateways & Wagonways of Britain