19 Stunning Photos of Nature Transforming Abandoned Wastelands

Humans love to marvel over our mastery of nature. We've built skyscrapers and fortresses, canals and highways, museums and schools. We've bent the natural world to our whims — often at the expense of the environment. 

But civilization is a fragile creation. As everlasting and unshakable as we think our modern buildings and cities are, Mother Nature always finds away to persevere, to expand and to thrive. As we abandon our buildings or leave them in disrepair, nature is quick to move in and assert itself. 

Below, these vivid photos capture the unstoppable force of nature — and how the natural world continues to survive and thrive in the face of concrete and steel.

The abandoned 'Little Belt' railway that connected Paris' main railway stations to the fortified walls of the city in the 19th century.Reddit
The abandoned remains of the SS Ayrfield (originally launched as SS Corrimal), built in the U.K. in 1911 and registered in Sydney, Australia, in 1912.Reddit

A vending machine, brought inland by the tsunami, in an abandoned rice field inside the exclusion zone near Minamisoma in Fukushima prefecture, on Sept. 21, 2013.Reddit
Tree roots overwhelming the bricks on a sidewalk. Location unknown.Reddit
Kudzu taking over an old roller coaster at Nara Dreamland in Japan.Reddit
Moss-coated tables in a cafeteria at an abandoned ski resort in JapanReddit
The ruins of Ta Prohm, part of the Angkor Wat complex, in Cambodia.Reddit
An abandoned fisherman's town in Kamchatka, Russia.Art People Gallery
Room in a burned out and abandoned hotel near Erfurt, Germany.Reddit
An abandoned shopping mall taken over by fish in Bangkok, Thailand.Art People Gallery
The Chatillon Car Graveyard, a neatly arranged collection of vintage cars abandoned in the woods near Chatillon, BelgiumArt People Gallery
A tree eating a bicycle on Vashon Island, Washington State.Art People Gallery
The infamous "piano tree" of Monterey, California. An artist allegedly placed the piano around the tree, and the piano has since been removed. This photo was taken in 2011.Art People Gallery
An abandoned "Wizard of Oz" theme park in Beech Mountain, North Carolina.Reddit
A flooded and abandoned monastry in Kalyazin, Russia.Reddit
An abandoned bridge in Taiwan.Reddit
An abandoned mill in Sorrento, ItalyArt People Gallery
The city of Pripyat, Ukraine, abandoned after the Chernobyl disaster.
Abandoned bumper cars in the Chernobyl exclusion zone.Getty Images