Monday, January 25, 2016

An abandoned Soviet interplanetary communication link center

This abandoned Soviet interplanetary communication link center was photographed by urban explorer Ulter1or, after walking dozens of kilometers through the snow. The complex includes a huge antenna with a diameter of 75 meters (75 feet), as well as a 2-story underground command center.

The main task of this communication center was the monitoring and control of a number of spacecrafts of the pioneering Soviet space program. Among them, the world's first satellitethe first manned space flight, the flight of the first woman - cosmonautthe first spacewalk, and the first transmission of a color image with the use of artificial satellites.

Inside the complex, mechanical equipment and archives have been left abandoned. An underground bunker features the center's control room as well as storage rooms and living quarters. Clothes hanging on hangers and dusty household appliances give the impression that the space is temporarily abandoned and ghost soldiers are still operating the machines. And indeed, the fresh tire marks on the snow indicate there is still some military presence around the area. 

SEE ALSO: More abandoned space exploration facilities // More abandoned military facilities // More abandoned places in Russia // LIST OF ALL DESERTED PLACES 
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Thursday, January 21, 2016

Dair Mar Elia, Iraq's oldest Christian monastery

Situated just south of Mosul, St. Elijah's Monastery, called Dair Mar Elia by locals, was the oldest Christian monastery in Iraq. The monastery was founded in 595 AD by Mar Elia, an Assyrian monk. For centuries, Dair Mar Elia was the center of the region's Christian community, who would visit every year to observe the Mar Elia Holiday, which falls on the last Wednesday of November. The Greek letters chi and rho, representing the first two letters of Christ's name, were carved near the entrance

In 1743, the Persian leader Tahmaz Nadir Shah ordered the destruction of the monastery and the death of the monks who dwelt there for refusing to convert to Islam. Even though it was left abandoned for the next 200 years, it still attracted visitors to its ruins. Some restoration took place in the beginning of 20th century, and during the Second World War the monastery became a place of refuge for the local population.

A significant restoration effort was initiated, ironically, by the US army during the Iraq War. The monastery was enclosed inside the American Forward Operating Base Marez, initially becoming the base's garbage dump. An eagle symbol was painted on an ancient wall, while another wall was smashed by a tank turret blown off in battle. After an American military chaplain realised the monastery's significance, the US troops made a topographical survey of the site and continued guarding it even after the base was vacated. Iraqi archaelogists started working at the site for the first time since before the Second Gulf War in May 2008.

The monastery, which survived complete destruction by war and conquerors for 1400 years, was completely demolished by ISIS at some point before September 2014.

SEE ALSO: More abandoned places in Iraq // LIST OF ALL DESERTED PLACES 
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Monday, January 18, 2016

The abandoned Rockland Psychiatric Center in New York

Rockland Psychiatric Center, known initially as Rockland State Hospital for the Insane, was established in 1927 in Orangeburg, New York. It was a time when mental patients were segregated from society and new psychiatric institutions were essential to relieve older overcrowded ones.

By its peak in 1959, Rockland had more than 9000 residents and a staff of 2000. Its grounds contained a power plant, a farm, a bowling alley used to entertain the patients, and various shops where patients produced things like the hospital's furniture. Once, Rockland State Hospital was named the best planned state hospital in history.

However, as more and more patients were admitted into the hospital, escapes became a regular occurrence. Many murders taking place around the grounds of Rockland were attributed to the hospital's escapees. The situation became worse during World War II when many male attendants left to join the armed forces. The overcrowding and lack of personnel led to many instances of abuse and negligence. Shock therapy and lobotomy were the only treatment methods available for severe cases of schizophrenia and other mental illnesses.

From the 1960's the development of antipsychotic drugs meant that many patients were now able to live independently outside of the asylum system. Since the 1970's Rockland Psychiatric Center has been mainly operating as an outpatient facility. By 1999 it housed less than 600 patients while today the inpatient treatment center has 410 beds.

Starting in the 1930s and 1940s, buildings on the majority of the site have been abandoned and are closed to the public. The abandoned hospital buildings represent one of the largest intact psychiatric hospital facilities in the United States. During the last years, the exterior of these buildings has been used as a shooting location for the tv series Orange is the New Black.

SEE ALSO: More abandoned places in New York // More abandoned places in the United States // More abandoned hospitals // LIST OF ALL DESERTED PLACES
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Monday, January 11, 2016

Tour the abandoned Star Wars film sets in Tunisia

Why would hundreds of Star Wars fans visit the Tunisian desert every year? Because that's the filming location George Lucas chose to film many scenes for his Star Wars movie franchise. Being in the Sahara desert definitely gives you a feeling you're out of this planet which was needed for the movies. The desert also provided inspiration for Lucas. The planet Tatooine was named after the town of Tataouine, located close to a filming location.

Most of the sets are still in relative good state as there was no reason to be taken down due to their location. Star Wars fans have even raised money and worked with locals to restore some of them and today. In 2015 there were reports that Star Wars set were under threat by ISIS, however Tunisian authorities reassured visitors that no such threat exists.

SEE ALSO: More abandoned film sets // More abandoned places in the desert // LIST OF ALL DESERTED PLACES
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Thursday, January 7, 2016

A semi-submerged church in northern Italy

In South Tyrol, northern Italy, close to the Italian borders with Austria and Switzerland, there's the artificial lake of Reschensee (Lago di Resia in Italian), which is known for a little more than the nature surrounding it: the steeple of a submerged 14th-century church which is visible all year round in the middle of the lake. 

Together with the church, the whole town of Graun im Vinschgau (Curon Venosta) needed to be moved to a higher ground to make space for the lake. In total, 163 homes and 523 hectares (1,290 acres) of cultivated land were submerged in 1950. 

Today the church bell, which can be visited on foot when the lake freezes in winter, can be seen on the coat of arm of the newer Curon Venosta town which know sits on the shores of Reschensee. A legend says that during winter one can still hear church bells ring even though in reality the bells were removed from the tower on July 18, 1950, a week before the demolition of the church nave and the creation of the lake.

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Monday, January 4, 2016

Okpo Land: An abandoned amusement park in South Korea

Okpo Land was an amusement park built on top of a mountain, in the outskirts of Okpo-dong neighborhood, on South Korea's Geoje island. The park has a controversial history as it was a site of 2 fatal accidents before authorities shut it down. 

In the middle 1990's a person died on the park's famous duck-themed coaster, but his family received no compensation or apology from the park. When the exact same accident occurred again in 1999, the park's owner disappeared overnight, leaving the second victim's family again with no compensation or apology. Soon after, the park was declared unsafe by the authorities and shut down. For years, the cart where the second victim died, was left hanging off the edge of the ride's tracks. 

What was left from Okpo Land park was finally demolished in 2011.

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