Monday, December 15, 2014

Inside the UN buffer zone in Cyprus

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 (11 feet) to 7.4 kilometers (4.6 miles). 

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.

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Blogger Tricks

Monday, December 8, 2014

An abandoned college campus in Australia

This abandoned college is in the northern suburbs of Perth, Western Australia. The entire TAFE (Technical And Further Education) campus, which included restaurant, library, lecture theatre, scores of classrooms and other buildings has been left abandoned for years together with much of its equipment and furnishing.

More deserted places in Australia

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Monday, December 1, 2014

Expoland, an abandoned amusement park in Japan

Expoland amusement park in Osaka, Japan, opened as the amusement zone of Expo '70, the International Exposition hosted in the city in 1970. It was supposed to be a temporary part and closed down after the end of the exposition but reopened in 1972 due to its popularity. The park covered an area of 20 hectares and included more than 40 rides and attractions, 19 restaurants and shops.

In May 5, 2007, a tragic accident took place at Expoland. Fujin Raijin II rollercoaster derailed resulting to the death of a 19-year-old university student while forty people were injured and thirty-one were taken to the hospital. The investigation revealed that the ride derailed due to a broken axle. None of the ride vehicle's axles had been replaced for fifteen years.

The park reopened after a series of safety inspections but closed again on December 9, 2007 due to lack of customers. In 2008 there were reports that Paramount Pictures is looking to turn the Expoland site into a theme park. In 2009, 20% of the park's area was renovated and reopened as a new theme park called 'Farm Expo'.

More deserted places in Japan

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Monday, November 24, 2014

NASA's abandoned launch sites

American photographer Roland Miller has spent 25 years photographing NASA's facilities around the United States. With the rise of private programs though, many of those sites are now being left abandoned. 

For his latest book, Abandoned in Place, Miller visited 16 space launch sites and research facilities in areas including Virginia, Florida and California, taking readers on a “photographic exploration of the American space launch and research facilities that played a crucial role in the early period of space exploration. The goals of this project are to preserve and portray these abandoned, deactivated, and repurposed sites through photography that surpasses the official government approach to documentation and to lend historical and artistic insight to the subject.”

Among the facilities he visited, always accompanied by an escort, were the Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama, the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi and the Kennedy Space Center at the Cape Canaveral in Florida.

More deserted places in the United States

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V2 Launch Site with Hermes A-1 Rocket, Launch Complex 33 Gantry, White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, 2006

Launch Complex 36 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station

Horizontal Gantry from Base, Gemini Titan Complex 19, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, 1991

Monday, November 17, 2014

The abandoned Montebello State Hospital in Baltimore

Montebello State Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, was originally known as Sydenham Hospital for Communicable Diseases, as it specialised in the research and therapy of infectious diseases such as smallpox, tuberculosis, poliomyelitis and meningitis in an era when antibiotics didn't exist. 

The hospital campus was originally constructed between 1922 and 1924, and it consisted of seven Italian Renaissance Revival style buildings designed by noted Baltimore architect Edward Hughes Glidden.

The hospital closed in 1949 and some of its buildings were taken over by the Montebello State Chronic Disease Hospital, later known simply as the Montebello State Hospital. New buildings were later built on the campus while some of the old hospital buldings were left abandoned. 

The campus was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1998, however its old abandoned buildings were demolished by the site's new owners in 2013. 

More deserted places in the United States

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Monday, November 10, 2014

Hitler's hospital: The abandoned Beelitz Sanatorium

Beelitz-Heilstätten hospital, also known as the Beelitz Sanitorium, was build in 1898 by the Berlin Workers Health Insurance Corporation for the victims of tuberculosis. Its location, outside the city of Berlin, was ideal as the patients could benefit from the peaceful environment and the clean air. The hospital grew in size over the decades and it featured its own power station which offered the necessary heat during the winter.

When World War I broke out in 1914, Beelitz-Heilstätten was converted in order to care for the the massive casualties inflicted at the front. In the late 1916, a young soldier called Adolf Hitler was sent there to recuperate from a thigh injury acquired during the Battle of the Somme. During the later decades many would start calling Beelitz, 'Hitler's hospital'.

Beelitz-Heilstätten once again became a sanatorium until World War II when it was converted to a military hospital again. Many of its buildings were destroyed by Allied bombing.

After the war, Beelitz- Heilstätten was part of the East Germany and under control of the Soviets who used it as a treatment center for the soldiers stationed in the area. It was also used for the treatment of many East German government officials, including Erich Honecker.

In the early 1990s the Soviets left the area and the hospital was abandoned. Today, only a few of its 60 buildings are in use (as a neurological research rehabilitation center and a care and research center for people with Parkinson’s disease) while the rest of the building remains abandoned. The location was used as a film set for the 2002 movie, The Pianist and the 2008 film Valkyrie. Rammestein's music video for Mein Herz Brennt was also filmed inside the abandoned hospital.

Monday, November 3, 2014

The ruins of Deception island

The Deception Island is an island in the South Shetland Islands archipelago off the Antarctic Peninsula. The island is the caldera of an active volcano with its waters being warmer than those in the surrounding area while its horseshoe shape provides a great shelter for ships.

For these reasons, in 1912 the Hektor Whaling Company was issued with a license to establish a shore-based whaling station, one of the many that were popping up in Antarctica. Whale oil was on high demand as it was used in oil lamps and to make soap and margarine. Approximately 150 people worked at the station during the austral summer, jamming whale carcasses into huge iron boilers to extract over 140,000 barrels of whale oil.

With the discovery of substitutes for whale oil such as kerosene and vegetable oils, the use of whale oils declined. Whale oil prices dropped during the Great Depression of the 1920s, and the factory operations were abandoned by 1931. Everything was left untouched on the island for a decade until a British warship destroyed the oil tanks and some remaining supplies in order to ensure it could not be used as a German supply base. The British finally establish a scientific base in 1944 but they had to abandon it by 1969 due to volcanic activity. 

Today, the island is a tourist destination and there are 2 summer only scientific stations, an Argentinian and a Spanish. A lot of ruins and abandoned facilities from the sealing and scientific stations of the past can still be found on the island. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Inside the Honecker nuclear bunker in 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 (16 miles) 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 (230ft) 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.

Its submarine-like tunnels divided by heavy metal doors lead on to 170 rooms. It was fitted with a fountain, power generators, air conditioning and "springed" rooms able to cushion residents from detonations. Over 

Its construction began in secret in 1978 and finished in 1983, It was intended to house the East Germany leader Erich Honecker who ruled the German Democratic Republic (GDR) for almost two decades and 400 staff. It is rumoured that Honecker himself visited the bunker only once and wasn't happy with its environment.  

Although urban explorers had found a way to enter inside earlier, the bunker opened for the first time to the public and for only 3 months in 2008, with its walls now covered in mould and the decontamination chambers long-defunct.

Monday, October 20, 2014

10 abandoned London Underground stations

London Undergournd is the oldest and one of the largest transit systems in the world. During its 150 year history, some of the stations built had to close, mainly due to low passenger numbers. In this post, we take a look at 10 such ghost "stations".

1.  Aldwych tube station

Aldwych station opened in 1907 (as Strand Station) and closed in 1994 due to low passenger numbers. Since then, it has been used as the setting for scenes for various movies and TV programs including V for Vendetta and Atonement.

See also: Visiting the abandoned Aldwych Tube Station

2. City Road Tube Station

City Road station was open from 1901 till 1922 when it shut down due to low usage. The station's building was demolished during the '60s but the lift shaft remains still in place. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Old Taylor distillery in Kentucky

The Old Taylor distillery is located just southeast of  Frankfort, Kentucky in Woodford County. It was built in 1887 by Col. E. H. Taylor Jr., a longtime Frankfort mayor and descendant of Presidents James Madison and Zachary Taylor. The distillery was known for being the first to produce one million cases of straight bourbon whiskey. The Old Taylor's 83-acre complex was not only a place that made good bourbon whiskey but also one of Kentucky's most popular tourist attractions and a place for gatherings and weddings. 

Col. Taylor died in 1922 at age 90. The distillery was sold in 1935 and was later consolidated with the adjacent Old Crow distillery. It shut down in 1972 when bourbon sales slumped. Whiskey barrels continued to be aged in Old Taylor's warehouses until the early 1990s.

Since 1972, when the distillery shut down, the property has been vandalized, neglected and reclaimed by nature. In May 2014 the new owner of the site announced plans to restore and reopen the Old Taylor distillery, putting it back to the Bourbon Trail.