Abandoned places are cool: this is a fact. Some are creepy, others
are romantic, or even mysterious - but they're all very
cool. These spots around Europe are all well worth looking out if you are after something different.
Please note: the details of these abandoned places were accurate at the time of reporting, however developers have a habit of purchasing abandoned places at a cheap price and re-developing them. This may well have occurred to any of the abandoned sites listed here since the time this information was published.
Tunnel of Love, Klevan, Ukraine
This green, beautiful 3km long tunnel in a forest in western
Ukraine, is used by a single private train that supplies a local
factory with wood. The tunnel is a favourite spot for couples to go for
walks, as it’s said that if their love is sincere, their wishes
will be granted.
Spreepark, Berlin, Germany
Spreepark fun park was opened in 1969 as Kulturpark
Plänterwald, covering an area of 29.5 hectares. The area is
situated in the north of the Plänterwald, next to the river Spree.
It was the only constant entertainment park in the GDR, and the only
such park in either East or West Berlin. On 18 January 2002, Norbert
Witte (owner), together with his family and closest coworkers moved to
Lima in Peru. They shipped six attractions (Fliegender Teppich,
Butterfly, Spider, Baby-Flug, Wild River, and Jet Star) in 20 ship
containers, having been allowed to do so by the authorities who
believed they were being sent for repair.
Since 2002 the park has not opened for visitors. In August 2002 the park was declared completely insolvent and the area was allowed to fall into disrepair. The Ferris wheel still stands, but has not operated since the park's closure, likewise, the remains of other attractions can still be found on-site.
Canfranc Railway Station, Canfranc, Spain
When it was first opened, in 1928, Canfranc International Railway
Station was the epitome of Art Nouveau. The main station for the line
that connected France and Spain by rail then became associated with the
Nazis during the war, as they used it to transport gold out of France,
and Tungsten the opposite way. The railway, and thus the station, met
its demise when in 1970 a derailment caused a bridge on the French side
of the border to fall. The French opted to not rebuild it, so the
line’s use halted abruptly. Nowadays, the station’s main
building is abandoned but had its roof replacement not too long ago. It
is otherwise in a state of disrepair, fenced off and closed to the
public except during guided tours in July and August offered via the
local tourist office.
Petite Ceinture, Paris, France
Did you know that there's an abandoned railway circling Paris?
The Chemin de fer de Petite Ceinture was built in 1852 to connect the
Parisian railway terminals within the city's fortified walls.
Most of the line is abandoned today, but small sections of it have been
reused for other railway purposes. Those who venture along the Petite
Ceinture describe it as a quiet, natural garden space within the city
Croix-Rouge, Paris, France
Once the terminal station for Paris' metro line 10, the
Croix-Rouge metro station had a short-lived history as a metro station.
Built in 1923, the station was only used up until 1939, when France
joined WWII. After the war ended, the station was never reopened due to
its proximity to the Sèvers-Babylone station and has since been
popular with urban explorers seeking Paris' secret spots.
Restaurante Panoramico, Lisbon, Portugal
This old restaurant was built by the Lisbon Council in 1968. Sitting
in the middle of the Monsanto Forest Park, Panoramico is said to have
the best view of Lisbon. Despite being in quite a derelict state, you
can still see some of the original artworks decorating the place,
including some Portuguese tiles by Manuela Madureira.
Teufelsberg, Berlin, Germany
Built on top of an artificial hill made out of the rubble from
Berlin’s streets after World War II, this abandoned tower was one
of the NSA’s largest listening towers in the world throughout the
Cold War. After the NSA left, a group of private investors bought the
facilities off the capital’s council and had plans to renovate
it, but this never came to be.
Beelitz-Heilstätten, Beelitz, Germany
The Beelitz-Heilstätten Sanatorium was one of the biggest
hospital complexes in its heydey. Built in three phases over the course
of the first three decades of the 20th century, the sanatorium also
became a hospital for wounded soldiers during both world wars and then
up until the fall of the Soviet Union. Some of Beelitz’s
buildings will look familiar, as they were used for shooting Roman
Polanski’s The Pianist, and Tom Cruise’s Valkyrie.
Nowadays, some of the complex’s buildings have been renovated,
but most of them are still abandoned.
Krampnitz Military Base, Potsdam, Germany
Krampnitz is an abandoned Nazi and Soviet military base. Every
room has some indication of Krampnitz’s past. First
built by the Nazis in 1937 as an Army Riding and Driving School for its
growing army, the Soviets then moved in as soon as World War II was over, where
they remained till 1992. Since then, the entire complex has been
abandoned but has become a hotspot for urban explorers.
Human Zoo, Paris, France
Racism is deeply embedded in modern culture. Slavery of African
people, ethnic cleansing of Native Americans and colonialist
imperialism are seeds that intertwine to create racism that still has
impacts today. One example of the sad human history of racism - of
colonizers seeing themselves as superior to others - is the long
history of human zoos that featured Africans and conquered indigenous
peoples, putting them on display in much the same way as animals.
People would be kidnapped and brought to be exhibited in human zoos
which served as a place for the "common white man" to see people from
all around the world exhibited in their "natural habitats". It was not
uncommon for these people to die quickly, even within a year of their
The idea of a human zoo grew out of Carl Hagenbeck of Germany running exhibits of what he called "purely natural" populations, usually East Asian Islanders, but in 1876, he also sent a collaborator to the Sudan to bring back, "wild beasts and Nubians." The traveling Nubian exhibit was a huge success in cities like Paris, London, and Berlin. Over the next 40 years more than thirty-five thousand men, women and children left their homelands during the high noon of Imperialist Europe and took part in 'exotic spectacles'. Entire families recruited from the colonies were placed in replicas of their villages, given mock traditional costumes and paid to put on a show for spectators. An opportunity to demonstrate the power of the West over its colonies, the expositions became a regular part of international trade fairs and encouraged a taste for exoticism and remote travel.
The World's Fair, in 1889 was visited by 28 million people, who lined up to see 400 indigenous people as the major attraction. The 1900 World's Fair followed suit, as did the Colonial Exhibitions in Marseilles (1906 and 1922) and in Paris (1907 and 1931) which displayed naked or semi-naked humans in cages.
The Parisian Human Zoo, names Exposition Tropicale, was built in 1907 and featured six different villages, representing all the corners of the French colonial empire at the time - Madagascar, Indochine, Sudan, Congo, Tunisia and Morocco. The villages and their pavillions were built to recreate the life and culture as it was in their original habitats. This included mimicking the architecture, importing the agriculture and appallingly, the exhibits inhabiting the replica houses. A Congolese replica 'factory' was built in Marseille as part of a colonial exposition. Congolese families were also brought over to work in the factory. In February 2004 its remains were burnt down.
The human inhabitants of the 'exhibition' were observed by over one million curious visitors from May until October 1907 during the first exhibition. It it estimated that between 1870 up until the 1930s, more than one and a half a billion people visited various exhibits around the world featuring human inhabitants. When the Exposition Tropicale ended its four month run in October 1907, it is unknown how many of the participants returned home safely. Villagers were enticed by lecherous agents or even mislead by their own village chiefs into joining circus-like troupes that toured internationally. The distinction between person and specimen was blurred. From Marseille to New York, their vulnerability in a capitalist world was exploited every step of the way. Some would eventually find their way home after a few years, but others would never make it. If they didn't fall victim to diseases unknown to them; smallpox, measles, tuberculosis; they would die of adversity in an alien world.
Nowadays, the zoo is seen as a stain in France's history. The buildings are abandoned and decaying, and the rare exotic plantations have long disappeared and the Vincennes woods are taking over the 'villages'. In 2006 the public was granted access to the gardens but few people actually visited them. The entrance is marked by an Asian inspired portico of rotting wood and faded red paint. A hundred years on and there’s still an eerie presence of ladies clutching sun parasols and men in bowler hats arriving, eager to see the exhbits under the now crumbling colonnade. Visitors can instantly feel a sense of anxiety upon entering and quickly develop an understanding that this is not a place that the French are proud of. If the French government destroyed the gardens, there would be accusations of trying to cover up the past. If they were fully restored, it might be construed as a commemoration of colonial European use of power. And so the garden remains, hauntingly beautiful; a neglected embarrassment. Gardeners stopped coming a long time ago. Wild and verdant, mutations of untamed tropical plants plucked from their homelands are left to fester in a junkyard of French colonial history.
Tropicana, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
The Tropicana leisure resort in Rotterdam was one of those places
that just tried to be too much at the same time. Built in 1988 as a
Sauna, Beauty Centre, Party Centre, and Club, the place enjoyed a spell
of good times during the 90s. But then people stopped coming. Tropicana
then changed hands several times, with the new owners trying to
reestablish it as the cool place to go, but to no avail. In 2010
Tropicana closed the last of its still running rooms.
Circuit Reims-Gueux, Reims, France
Not much of the original circuit is left, but there’s still
plenty to see at the Circuit Reims-Gueux. Once the scene of Formula 1
battles down it’s two long straights, the circuit held the last
of its races all the way back in 1972. The longest straight was then
converted into a dual carriageway, and other parts of the circuit were
demolished, but the best part, the pit lane, was left untouched.
Walking along the pit straight is like walking into the past, with
adboards from the 60s.
Reschensee or Lake Reschen is an artificial lake in the western
portion of South Tyrol, Italy, approximately 2 km south of the Reschen
Pass, which forms the border with Austria, and 3 km east of the
mountain ridge forming the border with Switzerland. The lake is famous
for the steeple of a submerged 14th-century church; when the water
freezes, this can be reached on foot. A legend says that during winter
one can still hear church bells ring. In reality the bells were removed
from the tower on July 18, 1950, a week before the demolition of the
church nave and the creation of the lake.
Chateau de Noisy, Dinant, Belgium
The castle was built in 1866 by the English architect Edward Milner
under commission from the Liedekerke-De Beaufort family, who had left
their previous home, Vêves Castle, during the French Revolution.
However, Milner died before the castle was finished. Construction was
completed in 1907 after the clock tower was erected. Their descendants
remained in occupation until World War II. A portion of the Battle of
the Bulge took place on the property, and it was during that time, the
castle was occupied by the Nazis. In 1950, Miranda Castle was renamed
"Château de Noisy" when it was taken over by the National Railway
Company of Belgium (NMBS/SNCB) as an orphanage and also a holiday camp
for sickly children. It lasted as a children's camp until the late
Buzludzha Communist Headquarters, Gabrovo,å Bulgaria
The Buzludzha Monument on the peak was built by the Bulgarian
communist regime to commemorate the events in 1891 when the socialists
led by Dimitar Blagoev assembled secretly in the area to form an
organised socialist movement with the founding of the Bulgarian Social
Democratic Party, a fore-runner of the Bulgarian Communist Party. The
Monument was opened in 1981. No longer maintained by the Bulgarian
government, it has fallen into disuse.
Buyukada Orphelinat, Istanbul, Turkey
On an island, miles away from everywhere surrounded by gates and
barbed wire is one of the largest wooden constructions ever built.
Built in 1898 as a hotel, it was never allowed to open for lack of
proper planning permissions. It remained abandoned for a long time
until a wealthy Greek philanthropist turned it into a school and
orphanage for children.
The building was abandoned in the sixties and exudes something quite incredible. Wardens live in a tiny house on this land of sheep and chicken and are not allowed to let you in. They will give you a smile and a firm «No» the reason being the near state of collapse of the buildings which are still miracoulously standing. Go round the building and remain well behind the barriers; you will get a good overviw of this building which was once listed as one of the most beautiful places in the world. FYI, the place is now back into the property of the Greek Orthodox Church, following a long legal process, although no rehabilitation project is under consideration at the moment.
Pripyat amusement park, Pripyat, Ukraine
The Pripyat amusement park in Pripyat, Ukraine was an upcoming
amusement park. It was to be opened on May 1, 1986, in time for the May
Day celebrations (decorations for this event are still in place in
Pripyat today) but the plans were interrupted when on April 26 the
Chernobyl disaster occurred a few kilometres away. The park was opened
for a couple of hours on April 27 to keep the city people entertained
before the announcement to evacuate the city was made. Today, the park,
and in particular the Ferris wheel, are a symbol of the Chernobyl
disaster. The amusement park itself is located behind the Palace of
Culture in the centre of the city.
Underground defence fortifications, Maastricht, The Netherlands
The city of Maastricht once possessed great political and strategic
importance. As an enclave of the dutch Republic between the Spanish and
Austrian-Netherlands, the principality of Liege and located on the
banks of the river Maas, the city has a great importance during the
XVIth and XVIIIth centuries. Many surrounding walls, ramparts, bastions
and military forts make up a protection built along the wars and the
years. In addition to the famous labyrinth of marl and tuff quarries,
Maastricht possesses an underground network specially made for purposes
of military defence. We had the chance to explore the casemates
network, indispensable element of the defensive position.
As the demolition work carried out in 1868 was only superficial, the
underground network remained virtually intact. One still can see
examples of constructions dated from 1690 to 1822. Constructions are
mainly beautiful brick barrel-vaults and walls of marlstone. More
recently, from 1941 to september 1944, most parts of the underground
defence systems were used as bomb shelters. By the end of the war the
system had a capacity of a 23.000 civilians. Some estimates go up to
30.000. Most inhabitants of Maastricht prefer the damp atmosphere of
the casemates above the comfortable purpose-built concrete bomb
shelters, because the old fortifications were layed out on a deeper
lever in the undeground of the city (about 4 to 8 meters).
This underground network is unfortunately not accessible anymore. A small part still can be visited as a tourist from the bastion Waldeck.
Catacombs of Paris, France
The Catacombs of Paris are underground ossuaries in Paris, France,
which hold the remains of more than six million people in a small
part of the ancient Mines of Paris tunnel network. Located south of the
former city gate "Barrière d’Enfer" (Gate of Hell) beneath
Rue de la Tombe-Issoire, the ossuary was founded when city officials
had two simultaneous problems: a series of cave-ins beginning 1774, and
overflowing cemeteries, particularly Saint Innocents. Nightly
processions of bones from 1786 to 1788 transferred remains from
cemeteries to the reinforced tunnels, and more remains were added
during later years. The underground cemetery became a tourist
attraction on a small scale from the early 19th century, and has been
open to the public on a regular basis since 1874 with surface access
from a building at Place Denfert-Rochereau in the extreme southern part
of the city of Paris.
The entry to the catacombs is in the western pavilion of the former
Barrière d'Enfer city gate. After descending a narrow spiral
stone stairwell of 19 meters to the darkness and silence broken only by
the gurgling of a hidden aqueduct channeling local springs away from
the area, and after passing through a long (about 1.5 km) and twisting
hallway of mortared stone, visitors find themselves before a sculpture
that existed from a time before this part of the mines became an
ossuary, a model of France's Port-Mahon fortress created by a former
Quarry Inspector. Soon after, they find themselves before a stone
portal, the ossuary entry, with the inscription (in French) "Stop! This
is the Empire of the Dead").
Beyond begin the halls and caverns of walls of carefully arranged
bones. Some of the arrangements are almost artistic in nature, such as
a heart-shaped outline in one wall formed with skulls embedded in
surrounding tibias; another is a round room whose central pillar is
also a carefully created "keg" bone arrangement. Along the way there
are other "monuments" created in the years before catacomb renovations,
such as a source-gathering fountain baptised "La Samaritaine" because
of later-added engravings. There are also rusty gates blocking passages
leading to other "unvisitable" parts of the catacombs – many of
these are either un-renovated or were too un-navigable for regular
Nicosia International Airport
Following the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, the United Nations
Peacekeeping Force established a buffer zone between the Greek Republic
of Cyprus and the newly created Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
The Green Line, as the demilitarized zone is also called, runs for more
than 180 km (112 miles) cutting the island of Cyprus in two. The zone's
width ranges from 3.3 meters to 7.4 km. Today there are still thousands
of people who live in several villages or work in farm land which
happens to be inside the zone. In the part of the zone that crosses to
city of Nicosia though, the situation is different. The zone contains
many houses and businesses left abandoned in 1974 as well as the
Nicosia International Airport which has seen no flights since 1977.
Soviet Submarine Base, Balaklava, Ukraine
Although the Ukrainian town of Balaklava itself has functioned as an
active military port for centuries, the submarine base was not
constructed until 1957. It was during the Cold War, amidst escalating
sabre-rattling between the US and USSR, that Stalin issued the
directive to establish a fleet of nuclear submarines in the Black Sea.
The quiet, Crimean town of Balaklava was chosen as the site for the
base, as here the sea enters the land by way of a narrow strait, while
the twists and contours of the coastline served to render the submarine
base invisible from prying eyes.
Immediately the town was secured, classified, construction began on
‘Objekt 825.’ It was a project that would take four years
to complete, as more than 120,000 tons of rock were cut and
painstakingly removed to form vast, subterranean chambers open to the
water. It was claimed that the submarine base in Balaklava was
virtually indestructible – its secret docks and corridors
protected by a shell of concrete and steel, capable of surviving a
direct nuclear strike of up to 100 kilotons.
The Balaklava submarine base saw heavy use throughout the Cold War
period – working in close association with the Soviet Black Sea
Fleet stationed at Sevastopol – and not least at the time of the
Cuban Missile Crisis; the positioning of US Hercules missiles in Turkey
provoked the Soviets to respond with nuclear armament in allied Cuba,
as well as scrambling their nuclear submarines from Balaklava in
anticipation of a counterstrike against Turkey itself. Right up until
the fall of the Soviet Union, in fact, the facility at Balaklava
remained one of the USSR’s strongest deterrents to play against
its enemies in Europe.
Unlike many such facilities, the secret nuclear submarine base at
Balaklava Bay survived beyond the fall of the USSR. It remained in use
until 1993, when the decommissioning process eventually began with the
removal of vessels, their torpedoes and nuclear warheads. The last
Russian submarine sailed out of Balaklava Bay in 1996.
For a long time the complex lay abandoned; much of it was unguarded,
and it was largely forgotten by the population who gradually began to
drift back into an unrestricted Balaklava. Later, in 2000, the Russian
Federation gifted the abandoned base to the Ukrainian Navy. The museum,
officially denoted the ‘Balaklava Naval Museum Complex’,
was founded by Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence on 30th December
2002. Opened to the public on 1st June the following year, the museum
plan included portions of the 600-metre central tunnel as well as a
weapons plant, an (empty) nuclear storage arsenal and a number of
residential quarters and offices. The Complex lies on the west side of
the river that flows through the town, a series of deep caverns that
stretch for a length of over 600 metres before emerging from a second
opening on the far side of Mount Tavros.
On 17th March 2014 the Crimean Parliament declared its independence
from Ukraine, leading to the formal annexation of the peninsula to
Russia. The Ukrainian military forces stationed in Crimea were ordered
to surrender, their bases and facilities switching to the ownership of
the Russian Federation. Since then the Museum has been closed. If the
hidden bulk of the installation has been maintained to the same
standard as those areas opened to the public, then it’s difficult
not to speculate whether Russia might be tempted to put these cavernous
facilities back to use some day, if they have not done so already.
Hara Submarine Base, Estonia
The old Soviet submarine base beside the village of Hara
hasn’t been abandoned for that long, but it looks like it
hasn’t seen a soul in generations. Built between 1956 and 1958,
the base was once central to Soviet military operations in Estonia
– and continued to be a major base of operations for nearly four
decades. If the base itself looks a little non-traditional,
that’s because it is – much of it is built from stone
reclaimed by tearing down countless stone walls from nearby villages.
The remains of an old lighthouse – little more than a foundation
now – still stand out in the water, overlooking what was once a
bustling military base.
What little metal is left, is rusting away; the whole thing looks
more than a bit precarious now. Graffiti artists have taken over the
rest of the compound, and it doesn’t seem entirely possible that
there are still people living who saw it when it was a hub of Soviet
power. The Baltic states were never accepting of their Soviet
overlords; in 1989, 2 million of hem joined hands in a peaceful protest
that drew worldwide attention to the boot heel which Estonians and
their neighbors were laboring under. It was only 3 years later that the
base was abandoned, and now, it’s a dark reminder of dark times.
Sazan Island Submarine Base, Albania
Sazan is a small island off the coast of Albania. At one time, it
was the home of a Soviet submarine base staffed by a small contingent
of Whiskey-class submarines. In 1961, Albania withdrew its membership
from the Warsaw Pact and suddenly, the Soviet base on Albanian soil was
open season. Albania seized the submarines that were there, increasing
their navy considerably.
By the 1990s, the submarines were all but obsolete, though, and the Albania military wasn’t replacing them. The base fell into disrepair, and was all but abandoned. Now, while there are plans being tossed around for opening the island as a tourist location, nothing shows signs of coming to fruition – for now, the old submarine base, along with the small town that provided living quarters for the base’s personnel and their families, are abandoned, an eerie, desolate sight against the beauty of the landscape.
In addition to being a submarine base, there’s also a labyrinth of tunnels that run beneath the island. It was also home to a chemical and biological weapons plant, and now, it’s the site of a small outpost that’s mostly used to monitor pirate and smuggling activity between Albania and Italy. Most recently, the abandoned base has found something of new life as a training field for the Royal Navy. In 2013, Royal Marines ran training missions through the Cold War relic, prepping for scenarios that involved combating pirates and terrorist organizations.
Submarine Pen, Vis Island, Croatia
Today, Vis is a huge destination spot for tourists from around the
world, and it’s easy to see why - it’s beautiful. It is
out-of-the-way enough to make it feel like you’re somewhere truly
special, but Vis has been occupied since the founding of its first
settlement in 397 B.C. It was, of course, much, much later than that
when it became known as a hugely important, strategically crucial spot
for a military base. The first of the modern military tunnels were dug
out of the Vis hillsides in around 1944, when the location became
crucial to those that were fighting for the island’s independence
from the so-called Benign Dictator, Marshall Tito.
Abandoned in 1989, the island was shrouded in secrecy throughout its operation as a military base. The abandoned submarine dock is perhaps one of the most noticeable of the remnants left behind after the demilitarization of the island, cut deep into a mountainside. After the end of World War Two, it was one of the largest and most important of Yugoslavia’s military bases, and it was during this period that most of the base was built.
Leading from the submarine docks are a huge network of underground
tunnels capable of providing integral military support; popular
throughout the Cold War as well, the military presence is still felt
throughout the beautiful, incredibly picturesque island - if anything,
its surroundings make it even more surreal. Now, the 3,600-odd
residents on the island co-exist with empty barracks, disused tunnels
and empty dry docks rather than military personnel, and they’ve
made tourism their livelihood.
Keroman Submarine Pens, Lorient, France
In 1941, the Germans, then occupying France, chose to establish one
of their U-boat headquarters in Keroman, a neighborhood of Lorient. But
the submarines quickly became targets of constant bombing from Allied
air forces. The Germans decided to build five U-boat bases on France's
Atlantic Coast - at Brest, La Pallice (La Rochelle), St Nazaire, La
Rochelle and Bordeaux - and a Mediterranean base at Toulon. The largest
of these, in Keroman, would house the 2nd and the 10th U-boat flotillas
for the bulk of the Battle of the Atlantic. Karl Donitz, then supreme
commander of the U-boat Arm, moved his staff in the Kernevel villa,
just across the water from Keroman, in Larmor-Plage. The construction
required the participation of 15,000 workers. The three bases have
impressive dimensions and were constructed and subsequently coined KI,
KII, KIII. The submarine base area has changed over the years.
During the Second World War, Germany, established a similar
submarine naval base at La Pallice, the main port of La Rochelle. A
German stronghold, La Rochelle was the last French city to be liberated
at the end of the war. The base is one of five similar massive concrete
bunkers built by the Nazis on the French Atlantic coast. The base is
located a few kilometers west of La Rochelle, inside the commercial
port of La Pallice.
The La Pallice submarine base was used in Wolfgang Petersen's epic movie, an excruciatingly claustrophobic account of life beneath the waves aboard a German U-boat during WWII. The base was also used in Raiders of The Lost Ark - the producers of that film even borrowed Das Boot's submarine.
Communist era bunkers in Albania
During the 40-year Communist leadership of Enver Hoxha, more than
700,000 bunkers were built across Albania. Beginning in 1967 and
continuing until 1986, the Albanian government carried out a policy of
"bunkerisation" that resulted to 1 bunker to be built for every four
citizens. The bunkers were built in literally every possible location
ranging from "beaches and mountains, in vineyards and pastures, in
villages and towns, even on the manicured lawns of Albania's best
hotel". They were constructed from concrete, steel and iron and their
common type is that of a small concrete dome set into the ground with a
circular bottom extending downwards, just large enough for one or two
people to stand inside.
Bunker construction stopped shortly after Hoxha's death in 1985 but
today thousands of them still dominate the Albanian landscape. Although
they never served their purpose during Hoxha's rule, bunkers were used
to temporary shelter Kosovo Albanian refugees during the 1999 Kosovo
war. From the 90's and onwards bunkers have often been used as houses.
There have been various suggestions for what to do with them: ideas
have included pizza ovens, solar heaters, beehives, mushroom farms,
projection rooms for drive-in cinemas, beach huts, flower planters,
youth hostels and kiosks.
Rummu Soviet Prison, Estonia
The Rummu prison, which opened in the 1940s by the Soviet Union in
what today is Rummu, Estonia, was built in a convenient location: near
a limestone quarry that inmates of the labor camp were forced to
excavate. Forced labour at the site continued until the fall of the
Soviet Union in 1991. After the prison shut down, the quarry quickly
filled with groundwater and as no one was there anymore to pump out the
water, it immersed in it some of the utility buildings and machinery,
thus forming a lake. Today, the crystal clear lake that was formed in
the site of the quarry has become a location for nature photography,
hiking, scuba diving, and a summer spot for music and sports events.
The lake has a unique appearance due to the minerals that were disposed
there when it was still an excavation site. Although swimming and
diving in the lake is extremely dangerous, many visitors ignore the
warning signs. At least 2 of them have died there during the last
Honecker nuclear bunker, Berlin
Codenamed 17/5001, this secret bunker was one of the communist
world's most advanced bunkers, built to protect the leaders of the
former East Germany from a nuclear attack but it was never actually
used. The three-storey bunker was built in a forest 25km north-east of
Berlin, near Wandlitz, where the the East German government was
accommodated in a special colony. The bunker reaches a depth of 70m
below ground. 85,000 tonnes of concrete were used while a four metre
thick 'blast cap' over the bunker was designed to protect from
explosions above. Complex filters shielded the bunker's occupants from
radioactive or biological agents.
Athens Olympic Games Venues
Most of the venues for the 2004 Athens Olympics venues are today
abandoned and in disrepair. Even though the Games were considered a
success back in 2004, there were no plans whatsoever for the future use
of most of the sporting facilities. Many of them were never used again
in the last 10 years, while others, such as the Athens Olympic Sports
Complex, don't receive proper maintenance due to lack of funding. In
2014 the Greek government announced that it had no responsibility for
the condition of the Athens Olympic facilities and that most of them
would be sold to private investors.
Elliniko International Airport
Elliniko International Airport was the first, and for all its 60
years of operation, primary airport of the Greek capital. Its
construction begun in 1938 but was cut short due to World War II.
During the Nazi occupation of Greece, Kalamaki airfield, as it was
known then, was used as a Luftwaffe base. After the end of occupation,
a second runway and later, in 1969, a second terminal were constructed.
Even from the 70's it was obvious that the airport was nearing full
capacity and Athens needed a newer airport, further away from the city
centre. The location was chosen early on but the construction begun
only after Athens was given the 2004 Olympics. Eleftherios Venizelos
airport finally opened on March 27th 2001. On the same day, an Olympic
Airways Boeing 737 bound for Thessaloniki was the last flight to depart
Ellinikon. After its closure, the western part of its runways was
redeveloped. An Olympic Complex was constructed with venues of
Canoe/Kayak, Hockey, Baseball and other sports. Those venues though
were mostly left abandoned after the 2004 Olympics. A numbner of
abandoned aircraft still sit on the aprons near the terminal.
Greek Islands villas
As the economic crisis hit Greece in the early 2000s, the
development and sales of many hotels and villas in the Greek islands
has been postponed. Many buildings have been left unfinished, waiting
for a better time, sooner or later. Dutch photographer Patrick Van Dam
travelled around Greece for this project. He says: "The projects were
developed on the most wonderful and unique locations. On hillsides with
breathtaking sea views or on mountains surrounded by olive trees,
enclosed with privacy and serenity. The architectural lines combined
with the ash-grey concrete structures are an attractive contrast
against the rough, red-coloured rocks, the warm yellow high grass and
the olive green bushes and trees. This almost abstract scenery shows a
unique synergy between architecture and nature. It creates a new and
intriguing landscape in which failure, poverty and hopelessness are
easily forgotten." Photo: Patrick Van Dam.
Poveglia island, Venice, Italy
Just a short distance away from Venice, Italy, there's the tiny
Poveglia island, which has been called 'the world's most haunted
island'. Venetians still have stories to tell about ghosts seen on the
island, some friendly and some not. To understand why Poveglia has this
reputation, we have to dive into its troubled past.
From 1776, Poveglia, which belonged to Venetian government was used as a check point for all goods and people coming to and going from Venice by ship. A few years later, in 1793, there were several cases of the plague on two ships, and consequently the island was transformed into a confinement station for the ill until it shut down in 1814. Venetians believed that the island was haunted by the ghosts of all those terminally ill who died on it. It is estimated that more than 100,000 died on the island over the centuries. Their bodies are still being discovered inside mass graves.
Mussolini's secret bunker, Rome, Italy
In order to provide shelter to bureaucrats and party leaders during
World War II, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini built several secret
bunkers under the city of Rome. Now, many of those bunkers open to the
public for the first time. This bunker was a 55 m (180 ft) long
converted wine cellar, deep beneath Mussolini's residence, Villa
Torlonia, which housed the dictator and his family from 1925 to 1943.
Mussolini ordered its construction in 1940, fearing his house would
become the target of an Allied bombardment.
The bunker had 3 escape routes and was quipped with a double set of steel, gas-proof doors, and a sophisticated air filtering system that could provide oxygen for 15 people for 3-6 hours. Later, Mussolini decided to build another bunker, and then a third, which was still unfinished by the time he was arrested in 1943.
Abandone Mill, Sorrento, Italy
In the town of Sorrento near Naples, southern Italy, there's a deep
canyon, also known as 'The valley of the mills'. There, between thick
vegetation there's the old mill, functioning since the beginning of the
900's and used to produce flour. The mill was abandoned around 1866
when the creation of Tasso square isolated the mill from the sea,
provoking a rise in the humidity, which soon forced the mills
abandonment. Today the mill is among the tourists attractions of
Chisinau Circus, Chisinau, Moldovia
This abandoned circus is situated in the heart of Chisinau, the
capital and and largest city of the Republic of Moldova. It was
originally constructed back in 1981 when the country was known as the
Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic and it was a part of the USSR. In
the Soviet era, circus was very popular and this is why this large and
impressive building was built. In its auditorium there is space for
2,000 spectators. Times changed though and today Moldova is one of the
poorest countries in Europe. The circus closed in 2004 for repairs but
it never opened again. The inside however remains almost intact,
perhaps waiting for better days to come.
Casino Contanta, Romania
Built in Constanta, one of Romania's most historic cities, Casino
Contanta was commissioned by King Carol I around 1900 and inaugurated
in August 1910. For the next 80 years it gathered the country's wealthy
as well as international jet setters. Built in Art Nouveau style by
Romanian architect Petre Antonescu, the casino overlooks the Black Sea
and has become a symbol for the city. During World War II, Casino
Constanta was used as a hospital and was later refurnished as a
restaurant. After many years of operation, though it was considered too
expensive to maintain. After passing hands several times over the
years, it closed down in 1990 and has remained abandoned and in
disrepair ever since. However, it was declared a historic monument by
the Ministry of Culture and Religious Affairs of Romania and remains
Ciudad Real Central Airport, Spain
Ciudad Real Central Airport is an abandoned airport in the south of
Ciudad Real, near Madrid. The airport opened in 2009 and cost 1.1
billion Euros. It shut down in April of 2012. It was intended to serve
both Madrid and the Andalusian coast, each accessible by AVE high-speed
train in 50 minutes. However, due to poor planning and overoptimism,
major deficiencies in the early planning stages were overlooked. The
airport never had demand from the major airlines, with carriers Nostrum
and Vueling announcing routes but terminating them a few months later.
The passenger traffic was measured in the low thousands, compared to
the anticipated traffic of up to 10 million. From October of 2011 no
airline made use of the airport; it was only used occasionally by
private jets. Spanish financial crisis deteriorated the situation and
the airport ceased operation on 13 April 2012. The airport has since
been sold and the site subject to redevelopment.
Zwentendorf Nuclear Power Plant, Austria
There is a genuine nuclear power plant in nuclear-free Austria
– and that's not a contradiction! The construction of the plant
was just completed when Austria took the decision not to go down the
nuclear path after all. So the brand new power station at Zwentendorf
never went operational. It has been a well-maintained "ruin" ever
since. Zwentendorf is a unique opportunity to see a complete nuclear
site from top to bottom, in more detail and closer up than would be
possible anywhere else in the world. Access is by guided tour only,
though, and you have to sign up for these well in advance. Visitors get
to tour the full works of a nuclear power plant - including the inner
core of the reactor. As a tourist site, that's totally unique in the
world! All that at zero risk of radioactivity, since the plant has
never been in operation. If you come here without being signed up for a
tour there's not much to see. There is a set of info panels outlining
the history of the plant and its present and future uses. And a
large-scale LED display presents the figure for the electricity
generated by the solar panels on and next to the old plant.
TV Tower, Yekaterinburg, Russia
The Yekaterinburg TV Tower is one of the landmarks of the major
Russian city and also has the title of the tallest abandoned building
in the world. Its construction started in 1983 but it was put on hold
during the collapse of USSR. The tower today stands at 220 meters
while, according to plans, it was intended to be 400 meters tall, after
an antenna was added. The elevators were never installed and anyone who
wants to go up its 26 floors (not including the tower's base) has to
take the stairs. Due do some construction errors, the tower today is
slightly leaning. During the 1990s, Yekaterinburg TV Tower was
illegally used for BASE jumping but after some fatal accidents it was
eventually sealed in 2000. Throughout the years there have been plans
to renovate and use the tower but until today nothing has been decided.
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