Monday, December 29, 2014

10 Deserted Places we discovered in 2014

As 2014 draws to a close, it's time for our annual end of the year tradition. This time, I went through this year's 39 posts and selected the 10 best ones. Some of them are among the most read by you, while other are my personal favorites. 

I would like to take this opportunity and thank everyone who visited this blog during 2014. It is very encouraging to see how many of you were expecting our weekly updates. 

2015 will be somewhat different for Deserted Places as we won't be able to update the blog regularly for most of the year. However, there will still be new posts every now and then and of course there's an archive of more than 100 deserted places from all over the world you can (re)discover! And I promise that once I'm back home from my own adventures, regular updates will resume.

Meanwhile, you can always follow us on twitter or like us on facebook to stay in touch.

Wishing a happy and healthy 2015 to each one of you! 


For more than 60 years, Elliniko International Airport was the main airport of Athens. After it shut down in 2001, an Olympic Complex was construction inside the airport ground which itself was mostly left abandoned. Today, the old airport of Athens is still awaiting its fate. (More photos)

Maunsell Forts were erected during World War II to protect London and other Thames settlements. Decomissioned in the 50s, they were later used as offshore pirate radio stations and one of them even tried to become an independent nation. (More photos)

Part of this abandoned Russian military base on Kotlin island used to be coastline anti-ship complex during the Cold War. Today many military vehicles in good condition can be found inside. (More photos)

4.  Sathorn Unique: Bangkok's ghost skyscraper

Sathorn Unique tower's construction in the center of Bangkok began in the early 90s. The 49-store skyskraper was abandoned in 1997 though when the construction was 80% completed. (More photos)

5.  An abandoned NSA spying station in Berlin

In the early 60's, the American NSA built one of its largest 'listening stations' on top of an artificial hill in west Berlin. Until the fall of the Berlin Wall the station was spying on East Germany but it has remained abandoned ever since. (More photos)

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Monday, December 22, 2014

The abandoned Castle of Mesen in Belgium

The Castle of Mesen or Kasteel van Mesen was built near the village of Lede in Belgium and it's surrounded by seven hectares of parkland. Destroyed and rebuilt several times, the current building dates to around 1628. After 1796 the castle ceased to be in the hands of Bette family and saw a number of reuses, from gin distillery to sugar and potash refinery, tobacco factory and finally a boarding school for girls of high society.

After the school closed, the Castle of Mesen passed into the hands of the Ministry of Defence. Due to the high cost of restorations though it was left abandoned. When a few years ago it failed to be listed as a historic monument, hope faded. The castle was finally demolished in 2010.

SEE ALSO: More abandoned castles around the world // More abandoned places in Belgium // LIST OF ALL DESERTED PLACES 
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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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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.

SEE ALSO: More abandoned schools and universities around the world // More abandoned places in Australia // LIST OF ALL DESERTED PLACES 

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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'.

SEE ALSO: More abandoned amusement parks and abandoned theme parks around the world // More abandoned places in Japan // LIST OF ALL DESERTED PLACES 
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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.

SEE ALSO: More abandoned space exploration facilities // More abandoned places in the United States // LIST OF ALL DESERTED PLACES 
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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 specialized 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 buildings 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. 

SEE ALSO: More abandoned hospitals around the world // More abandoned places in Maryland // More abandoned places in the United States // LIST OF ALL DESERTED PLACES 
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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.