Monday, November 23, 2015

Follow the yellow brick road of the abandoned Land of Oz theme park

The Land of Oz theme park opened in 1970 in the town of Beech Mountain in North Carolina. The park was created with the intention to make the ski resort town a year-round destination. On its opening day, it attracted 20,000 visitors. Among its attractions, a small museum showcased props and costumes from the 1939 film.

In 1975, a fire destroyed some artifacts of the museum including the dress worn by Judy Garland in the movie. The theme park closed down in 1980 and for the next decade fell in disrepair with many props vandalized, stolen, or left exposed to the elements. However, some of the park, including parts of the yellow brick road, a few munchkin houses, some of the later costumes, and sections of the witch's castle were preserved. In 1991, the park reopened for a day for Beech Mountain's Independence Day celebration. 

In the late 1990s, former employees returned to the park for a reunion. A few years later 'Autumn at Oz' became an annual event. Today, Autumn at Oz attracts thousands of visitors on the first weekend of every October when the abandoned theme park returns back to life. 

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Monday, November 16, 2015

Cleveland's old aquarium

The former Cleveland aquarium opened in February 6, 1953 in Gordon Park, in the Glenville neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio. The facility, which operated under the Natural History Museum, featured 50 freshwater and marine exhibits, including sharks, swordfish, seahorses, eels, squid, octopus and coral. Among the most rare species were a pair of Australian lungfish and red-bellied piranhas

In 1967 the aquarium tripled its capacity, extending its old buildings. In the 1970s though, the it experienced financial deficits despite the large crowds it gathered. The increase of the admission cost wasn't enough and the aquarium finally closed for the public in June 1985 and ceased operations in April 1986. Its exhibits were moved to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo while its buildings became the dog training facility of the Cleveland Police Department. A new aquarium opened in Cleveland in January 2012.  


Saturday, November 14, 2015

A deserted Paris is mourning

On the evening of Friday 13 November 2015, a series of terror attacks across the city of Paris left at least 129 people dead while more than 350 were injured. 

In response to the attacks, France was put under a state of emergency and security was heightened. Public schools and universities in Paris remained closed on Saturday while sport events were postponed. Many tourist attractions, including Eiffel tower and Disneyland, remained closed. Paris residents were adviced to remain indoors for their safety. 

More information: November 2015 Paris attacks

Monday, November 9, 2015

The deserted Ducor Hotel of Monrovia

Ducor Hotel used to be one of the most prominent hotels not only in Liberia but in the whole Africa. Built in 1960 on the highest point of Monrovia, the 5-star hotel had 106 rooms and it was eight stores high.

Being the first international-class hotel constructed in Liberia (operated by Intercontinental Hotels), Ducor Hotel was frequented by politicians, diplomats and business people from across the continent. It host many important meetings between African leaders and its various amenities (French restaurant, swimming pool, tennis courts) made it popular with tourists and visiting professionals from all around the world.

Ducor Hotel closed in 1989, just before the coup of Charles Taylor which led to the First Liberian Civil War. The hotel was damaged and looted during the war and eventually its rooms were occupied by displaced residents of many of Monrovia's slums. In 2007 the government evicted the squatters and a year later it leased the hotel to the government of Libya with plans to renovate and reopen Ducor Hotel. However, with the fall of Gaddafi government, these plans were abandoned and Ducor Hotel remains abandoned until today.

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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The romantic 'Tunnel of Love' in Ukraine

The much photographed "Tunnel of Love" is an amusement railway located near Klevan, Ukraine. The arch-shaped branches of trees create a tunnel three kilometers (1.8 miles) in length. Couples can be seen from time to time, enjoying the romantic atmosphere.

More deserted places in Ukraine

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Monday, November 2, 2015

Inside the Jaisalmer ghost airport in India

Jaisalmer Airport, located in the north-western Indian state of Rajasthan, was supposed to boost the Jaisalmer town's tourism after its construction finished in 2013. Until today though, the airport was never officially inaugurated and it has seen no scheduled flights. 

Built at a cost of $17 million, it is one of the 8 airports India has constructed over the last decade. None of them have entered service. The previous Indian government thought of new airports as a way to encourage travel and commerce across remote parts of the country so they scheduled the construction of 200 of them. However, the airports alone weren't enough to bring tourism. Today, dozens of Indian airports remain deserted as it wouldn't be profitable for the airlines to schedule flights when there is no demand for air travel. 

Jaisalmer Airport is big enough to handle more than 300,000 travellers a year, with parking bays for three 180-seater narrow-body jets. As no travellers have passed through its gates, it joins the list of deserted, ghost airports.

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Mexican Island of the Dolls

Dolls with severed limbs, decapitated heads and blank eyes can be seen all over the abandoned Isla de las Muñecas - the Island of the Dolls. The island, created as an artificial agricultural plot or chinampa, in the canals of Xochimilco, south of Mexico City, used to belong to a man called Julián Santana Barrera.

The story goes that Barrera found a little girl drowned under mysterious circumstances while he was not able to save her life. Near her dead body he found a floating doll, possibly belonging to the dead girl. He picked up the doll and hung it to a tree, as a way of showing respect to the spirit of the girl. That's when he started collecting the old broken bodies of dolls from the canals and rubbish tips, and hang them from branches and tree trunks to keep away evil spirits and appease the spirit of a dead girl he had found.

He then started believing that the dolls were possessed by the spirits of dead girls and that they would come to life every night and walk around the island. In 2001, Barrera was found drowned at exactly the same place he discovered the little girl 50 years earlier. Since then, visitors stared going to the island, often bringing their own dolls. The creepy dolls are today the sole inhabitands of Isla de las Muñecas.

More deserted places in Mexico

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