Monday, December 28, 2015

15 Deserted Places we discovered in 2015

As 2015 draws to a close (how fast was that?), it's time to remember the 15 best posts of the year. Again, some of those were the most visited by you, while other, my personal favorites.   

While for most of this year posts on our blog were scarce, we want 2016 to be the year we'll discover more deserted places than ever before. I'll try to have at least 1 or 2 new posts for every week of the year. 

Something else 2016 will bring, starting with our first post of the year next week, will be Google maps links for as many deserted places as possible. Moreover, another old promise of mine will become reality: a catalog of every deserted place we've published, arranged by location.

I would like to thank all of you for visiting this blog, for commenting on our posts and sharing them with your friends online. 

If you don't want to miss any post, you can always follow us on twitter or like us on facebook.

Finally, I'd like to wish a happy and healthy 2016 for each and every one of you!

See you around,

'The most beautiful subway station in the world' is one of New York's ghost stations. City Hall station, featuring Guastavino tile, skylights, colored glass tilework and brass chandeliers has been closed since 1945. They don't make them like that anymore. (More photos)

From Manhattan we move to Brooklyn where the Domino Sugar Refinery was the biggest sugar refinery in the world when it opened in 1882. It finally shut down in 2004 after 148 years of operation and it's a must-see if you're into abandoned industrial buildings. (More photos)

The ghost town of Kayakoy used to be a prosperous village during the second half of the 19th century. Greeks and Turks lived peacefully next to each other but it all changed after 1922. The Greek population was expelled and Kayakoy was abandoned. (More photos)

As many dictators often do, Benito Mussolini built several underground bankers underneath Rome to protect himself as well as other party leaders. This one was built under his Villa Torlonia residence and this year opened to the public for the first time. (More photos)

Keranis used to be the biggest Greek tobacco company. Its Athens factory would produce more than 2.5 million cigarettes per shift. The business went into serious decline in the 1990's and the factory was shut down around the turn of the century. (More photos)

Monday, December 21, 2015

The abandoned Rolling Acres Mall in Ohio

Rolling Acres Mall opened in 1975 in the Rolling Acres area of Akron, Ohio. It started with 21 stores but through the next 2 decades it expanded multiple times reaching more than 140 stores, including five anchor stores, a movie theater and a food court.

The mall's demise began in the late 1990's when it started losing stores. Two of its anchor stores, Dillard's and JCPenney, were downgraded to clearance centers in 1997 and 1999. In 2000 the mall was sold to Bankers Trust who gave the mall a new logo as well as a website. The mall's cinema -closed since 1993- reopened again only to be closed once more 2 years later. 

In 2006, big stores started leaving Rolling Acres. Target, Dillard's Clearance Center and Macy's were all closed by 2008. The only stores to remain in operation by the end of the year in the now empty mall were Sears and JCPenney Outlet. Both of them finally moved out in December 2013. Since then, the abandoned Rolling Acres Mall has changed owners multiple times. None of them were able to reopen it. 

SEE ALSO: More abandoned malls around the world // More abandoned places in Ohio // More abandoned places in the United States // LIST OF ALL DESERTED PLACES 

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Monday, December 14, 2015

Deserted places around crisis-hit Greece

Starting in 2009, the Greek debt crisis and the subsequent policies of austerity, have taken their toll all over Greece. Unemployment and homelessness have soared, while state-provided health, education and welfare services have deteriorated. 

Even though the country's de-industrialization began back in the 1980s, the economic crisis was the last nail in the coffin for Greece's factories. Many of them went bankrupt while other were moved to neighboring countries with growing economies and lower wages. 

The country is now dotted with the hulks of formerly flourishing factories that for decades churned out wealth for their owners and provided a sure if modest livelihood for multitudes of workers. 
Some of the plants are guarded by former staff, others padlocked or open to anyone prepared to dirty a pair of trousers. Inside are the relics of their former activity: Piles of wine bottles, stacks of crockery, idle machinery. Scattered among them are the imprints of the people who worked there — rotting boots and gloves, personnel files, dust-infused jackets left hanging on nails and never reclaimed. 

The crisis, combined with political incompetence, was also the main reason why other infrastructure, such as the former Athens airport or the former Olympic Games sites remained deserted and weren't put to use for years. 

Associated Press photographer Petros Giannakouris travelled around Greece to capture those abandoned places. 

SEE ALSO: More abandoned industrial sites around the world // More abandoned airports // More abandoned sport facilities // More abandoned Olympic venues // More abandoned places in Greece // LIST OF ALL DESERTED PLACES 
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A meat factory in Corinth, destroyed by fire in August 2014 while it had stopped working months before

An abandoned Hellenic Ceramics (ELKE) factory in Halkida 

An abandoned factory of The Chemical Products and Fertilizers Company in Piraeus, shut down in 1999

Abandoned strawberry hothouses near the village of Manolada

A plane in the former Hellinikon International Airport

Thursday, December 10, 2015

The underwater statue of Christ of the Abyss

If you dive 18 meters (55 feet) under the Mediterranean sea off the coast of San Fruttuoso in the Italian riviera, you will discover a submerged bronze statue of Jesus Christ with his head and hands raised skyward.

Christ of the Abyss, which is 2.5 meters (8.2 feet) tall, was sculpted by Guido Galletti, and placed in the Mediterranean Sea on August 22nd, 1954 near the spot where Dario Gonzatti, the first Italian to use Scuba gear, died in 1947. After almost 5 decades underwater, the statue was corroded and completely covered by crustaceans, while a hand had been detached, probably by an anchor. In 2003, Christ of the Abyss came back to surface to be restored and returned to the water on a new base a year later. 

The original plaster cast of the statue is stored in the National Museum of Underwater Activities, while 3 more copies of it exist: a copy of the statue was submerged in 1962 in Key Largo, Florida. Another copy was placed in September 17, 1972 in Lake Palü, Val Malenco, and a smaller copy of the Christ exists off the coast of St. George's, Grenada since 1961. 

SEE ALSO: More underwater abandoned places // More abandoned places in Italy // LIST OF ALL DESERTED PLACES 
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Monday, December 7, 2015

An abandoned Chinese fishing village, overtaken by nature

This Chinese fishing village has been left abandoned for more than 50 years, and now has been overtaken by nature. The village is on Gouqi island, one of the 394 islands that form the archipelago of Shengsi islands. Although the area still attracts over 100,000 fishermen every winter, fishing practices have diminished during the last decades leading to the abandonment of previously flourishing fishing villages. 

Monday, November 30, 2015

Inside the abandoned Silverdome

The Silverdome, located in Pontiac, Michigan, with a seating capacity of 82,000 used to be the largest stadium in the NFL. It opened in 1975 and it was the home of Detroit Lions for the next 26 years as well as the home of Detroit Pistons on NBA from 1978 to 1988. When it opened, it featured a fiberglass fabric roof held up by air pressure, the first use of the technique in a major athletic facility.

Silverdome was used for a variety of athletic and non-athletic events. It hosted games of the North American Soccer League, the 1994 FIFA World Cup, and many basketball tournaments including the NBA. As a concert venue, Silverdome hosted WWE's Wrestlemania III, and artists such as Elvis Presley, The Who, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling StonesBruce Springsteen, The Jackson 5, Metallica and Madonna. The attendance record was broken on September 18th, 1987 when Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass in front of 93,682 people.

After the Lions moved to Ford Field in 2002, activity in the Silverdome dropped drastically although it still hosted some events. The city of Pontiac began to experience several years of serious financial problems and made several unsuccessful attempts to sell Silverdome due to the continued high maintenance costs of the stadium. Silverdome was finally sold in 2009 to Greek-Canadian real estate developer Andreas Apostolopoulos for only $583,000 while its 1975 cost was $55.7 million. The collapse of real estate prices in the Detroit metropolitan area as well as the incompetence of the local government have been blamed for the absurd sale price.

The new owner reopened Silverdome briefly between 2010 and 2012 for a few events. Apostolopoulos wanted to to bring top-tier pro soccer back to Detroit but Silverdome was too big to only host soccer games. The facilities started to deteriorate and in 2014 the owner decided to auction off any equipment that can still be auctioned. A few weeks ago, Apostolopoulos decided to demolish Silverdome in 2016 and sell the 127-acre (514,000 sq m) land its built on.

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. 

SEE ALSO: More abandoned theme parks and abandoned amusement parks around the world // More abandoned places in North Carolina // More abandoned places in the United States // LIST OF ALL DESERTED PLACES 
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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 advised to remain indoors for their safety.