There is something so interesting about a relic of the past that has been cast aside and forgotten. The questions are endless: Who lived here? Why did they leave? Was there a war, a famine? Why did no one move into the abandoned building? What were the beliefs of those who lived here? How did they build such a magnificent building? The beauty of the unknown paints a layer of realism in your work as well as draws in the reader, who hopes to uncover the mystery. Don’t give your reader all the information up front, let them uncover the mystery of the past.
As for this picture. I am instantly reminded of Skyrim. Yes, a video game, but one that is full of beautiful images and a rich backstory. Just like this game, your fantasy world should be complete with years of history and fallen cultures. In Skyrim you can find beautiful buildings ravaged by time and the best part is, as you explore you find clues to the building’s past. You might discover who lived there or why it was abandoned. Even skeletons and forgotten diaries can be found to help you put the story together. Bring your world to life by giving it a past, but don’t give it all away. No one wants to read an in depth history of a made up world (Tolkien fans aside). Keep your readers guessing by letting them piece together the history little by little.