Monday, August 25, 2014

Ordos, China: The world's largest ghost town

Kangbashi New Area, part of Ordos City in the Chinese Inner Mongolia, was built in 2004 to house 300,000 people. It was part of an ambitious plan to create a glitzy, state-of-the-art commercial and residential zone that would house affluent citizens. 17 billion yuan were spent to transform the area into a  postmodern metropolis with spaceship-like government towers, Dubai-style skyscrapers, museums, libraries, theaters, sculpture squares and luxury bungalows.

However, only about 2% of the buildings were filled. High home prices were blamed for keeping prospective buyers away. Today about 20,000-30,000 people live in the city which has population density of 469 people per square kilometer, which is less than 5% of the average for Chinese small cities. As the city remained virtually empty, prices fell from $1,100 per square foot in 2006 to $470 a square foot in December 2011 but that wasn't enough to attract new buyers. Today, most of residents of the district are government employees who bought their houses with a discount of 50% or more. The remaining houses were bought by coal tycoons who then chose to live elsewhere.










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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Athens Olympic Games sites, 10 years later

Two years ago, we took a look at the 2004 Athens Olympics venues, 8 years after the Games, and found most of them to be abandoned and in disrepair.

This summer, 10 years after the Olympic Games, we find that almost nothing has changed. 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.

Meanwhile, just last week the Greek government announced that it has no responsibility for the condition of the Athens Olympic facilities and that most of them will be sold to private investors soon.

See also: Athens Olympic Games sites, 8 years later

More deserted places in Greece

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Monday, August 11, 2014

The abandoned town of Kharanaq in Iran

The abandoned village of Kharanaq is near the city of Yazd, in central Iran. Build in the shadow of a scenic mountain, the site is occupied for at least 4,000 years while some of the mud brick houses still standing today are up to 1,000 years old.

Only a few people live in Kharanaq today. Until a few years ago there was even a guest house in the village but not many tourists visit the area. Some restoration work is taking place around the village .


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Monday, August 4, 2014

An abandoned Thai shopping mall overtaken by fish

New World shopping mall in Bangkok, Thailand used to be an eleven storey building. Its top seven floors were demolished in 1997 though as it was found to be in breach of the city's building codes. In 1999 the mall was burned down in a suspected arson and several people were killed. Since then, the building remained abandoned.

As its roof had collapsed, the basement floor remains under several feet of water year round. During the early 2000's, an unknown person introduced a small population of the domesticated Koi fish species do deal with the growing mosquito problem. The population began to thrive and the mall's basement became a self-sustained urban aquarium.

Blogger and photographer Jesse Rockwell took some photos in the abandoned mall last year, which quickly went viral.










Monday, July 28, 2014

An abandoned record factory in Athens

To expand in the markets of the Middle East and the Balkan region, British Columbia Graphophone Company, later known as Columbia Records, decided to operate a factory in Athens, Greece. Built between 1928 and 1930 in an area of 3,5 acres (14,000 sq. meters), the Columbia factory produced gramophones, vinyl records, radios and later cassettes for over 50 years. In 1935 a recording studio, the first in Greece, also opened inside the factory.

Being the only record production facility in the region, more record companies, such as His Master's Voice (later EMI), Odeon, and Parlophone chose to produce their records there. Columbia factory saw its golden years between the 1950s and the 1980s. Hundreds of Greek music records were produced there during this time. The factory's success however was mainly due to the exports of records and later cassettes to the Middle East, especially Lebanon and Egypt. By 1978, 350 people were working in the factory while the exports proceeds were about 5 million dollars per year.

Columbia's recording studio closed in 1983 and the whole factory was shut down by 1991. In 2006 it was decided that one of the 7 buildings would be preserved in order to be turned into a museum while the rest of the factory would be demolished. Activists and politicians vowed to resist any development plans in the area and until today the Columbia factory remains abandoned.

More deserted places in Greece

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Monday, July 21, 2014

An abandoned 1920s cabaret theatre in Berlin

This abandoned cabaret theatre was discovered in the central Mitte area of Berlin, Germany. It opened in 1905 as a musical hall and restaurant, named “Fritz Schmidt’s Restaurant and Festival Halls” and soon became an established venue for Berlin’s ballroom society. In 1919 it changed operators and became “Kolibri Festival Halls and Cabarets”. It was the era of the German "Kabarett" and that was when this theatre hall had some of its best days. It all ended at some point after 1934 when the Nazi regime started its crackdown on the cabaret scene. 

The cabaret theatre was found inside an abandoned three-storey building surrounded by taller apartment buildings. After tons of rubble were removed from its interior, a 300 square metre (3230 sq feet) ballroom with wall paintings and metre-high stuccoed ceilings was revealed. The kitchen on the ground floor had a special lift to send up food and drinks to the hall on the second floor. LAVA architecture firm undertook the task of restoration of the building in order to be used as a space for performances and exhibitions, studios, meetings and conferences, and luxury apartments for short term and executive rental.

All photos by Moritz Gruppe GmbH/Ronny Goyn/www10.aeccaffe.com

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Monday, July 14, 2014

Fort Jefferson: An abandoned island fortress off Florida

In the lower Florida Keys, within the Dry Tortugas National Park there's an unfinished and abandoned island fortress, which is the largest masonry structure in the Americas. Fort Jefferson was built by the U.S. Army in 1846 to assist in the fight against piracy in the Caribbean Sea

The design called for a four-tiered six-sided 1000 heavy-gun fort, with two sides measuring 415 feet (126 meters), and four sides measuring 564 feet (172 meters). On the parade ground inside the fort's massive brick walls there were living quarters for soldiers and officers, gunpowder magazines, storehouses, and other buildings required to maintain the fort. An important part of the construction was carried out by slaves. 

Fort Jefferson's peak military population was 1,729. To support such a large population in an area lacking fresh water (hence the name 'Dry Tortugas'), an innovative system of cisterns was built into the walls of the fort. However, the system was never used in practice, cracks were created in the cisterns due to the enormous weight of the outer walls, allowing seawater to contaminate the fresh water supply. 

During the Civil War, with construction still under way, Fort Jefferson was used as a prison for deserters. In 1867, a Yellow Fever epidemic killed many prisoners. By 1888 the Army turned the fort over to the Marine Hospital Service to be operated as a quarantine station as the cost of maintaining it due to the effects of frequent hurricanes and tropical climate could no longer be justified. 

On January 4, 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who visited the area by ship, designated the area as a National Monument, while in 1992 the Dry Tortugas, including Fort Jefferson, was established as a National Park. Today, tourists can reach the island by ferry or by chartered seaplanes and private yachts and tour the abandoned Fort Jefferson. 

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Monday, July 7, 2014

Yekaterinburg TV Tower: The tallest abandoned structure in the world

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 (720 feet) while, according to plans, it was intended to be 400 meters (1,300 feet) 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.

More deserted places in Russia 


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Monday, April 28, 2014

An abandoned Moscow water park

The construction of the Akvadroma water park was approved in 1997, in preparation for the 1998 World Youth Games in Moscow

The ​​43,500 square-meter (468,000 sq. feet) building was 9 floors tall (with 3 more floors below ground) and included 5 swimming pools, water slides, track and field, guest rooms for athletes, offices, cafes, and a physiotherapy and medical center.

Akvandroma wasn't ready for the Games but its consruction went on until February 2002 when the site was abandoned. In July 2007, the building was purchased with plans to be converted into a shopping mall. All pics via zoopunks.livejournal.com

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The mysterious dome houses in southwest Florida

Built in 1980 at Cape Romano, these dome constructions was a DIY project of retired oil producer Bob Lee. His family spent much of the 80's nside the self-sustaining and solar-powered homes but started visiting less after 1992 when hurricane Andrew caused damage in the area but not the dome houses themselves.

In 2005 the abandoned houses were purchased by John Tosto just before hurricane Wilma caused serious damage to the domes and washed away some of the coastline. Two years later the local authorities asked Tosto to remove the houses but his inaction resulted in hefty fines. 

Today the dome houses remain abandoned and completely reclaimed by the sea and only accessible by boat for locals and tourists to explore.

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