Abandoned Places

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 of light.

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 captivity.

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, Italy

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 1970s.

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[1] 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 tours.

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 years.

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 Sorrento.

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 well-guarded.

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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