Monday, May 30, 2016

The Spanish ghost town of Belchite, left in ruins after the Spanish civil war

The Spanish village of Belchite, in the province of Zaragoza, became the theater of the Battle of Belchite from August 24 and September 7, 1937 which was fought between loyalist republicans and rebel forces of General Franco. It took just two weeks for Belchite to be destroyed on one of the deadliest of the Spanish Civil War. Although Franco's nationalist forces lost the battle, they went on winning the war which killed around 500,000 people. 

In memory of the 3,000 people who died there, the village has remained untouched since the end of the Spanish Civil War.  After 1939, a new village of Belchite was built adjacent to the ruins of the old. Today, the ruins of Belchite are visited by tourists and they have been used as filming locations in films including Terry Gilliam's 1988 film The Adventures of Baron Munchausen and Guillermo Del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Photos of Australia's disappearing pubs

Australian photographer Ryan Cremer has captured photos of pubs, many of them abandoned, scattered in the Riverina region of New South Wales for his project titled 'Last Drinks'

As the rural economy has declined, so has the population forcing many of those establishments to shut down. Meanwhile, crime rates have soared. According to Cramer, the Balldale Hotel closed after being robbed 6 times. Other pubs faced unprecedented tragedy like The Conargo Hotel which was first built in the 1850s and burnt down in 2014. 

SEE ALSO: More abandoned places in Australia // LIST OF ALL DESERTED PLACES 
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Monday, May 23, 2016

Inside an abandoned military aviation academy in Russia

This abandoned military aviation academy was photographer somewhere in Russia by urban explorer alexdoomer2009 in 2013. It consists of a big academic building which was abandoned about a year before those photographs were taken. However, it looks like someone kept guarding it for some time after that.

Inside the building we can see different rooms like labs, workshop rooms, offices and storage rooms. In a chemistry lab the furniture and equipment are still left intact. Bottles with chemical agents and aviation fuel samples can be see over testing benches. Inside lecture halls the chalkboards are still written with information while storage rooms are filled with books and other equipment. Inside an office wall we can see an old map of the Soviet Union.

SEE ALSO: More abandoned schools and universities around the world // More abandoned places in Russia // LIST OF ALL DESERTED PLACES 
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Monday, May 16, 2016

Inside Cleveland's abandoned Variety Theater

Built in 1927, and initially operating as a vaudeville theater, the Variety Theater was one of the earliest cinemas in Cleveland, Ohio. Owned by Warner Bros. from 1929 to 1954, it became one of the busiest movie theaters on Clevaland's West Side. During the 1970's and 1980's it became a second-run theater and finally a rock concert venue. Bands such as Metallica, R.E.M. and Dead Kennedys are among those who appeared in the 1,900-seat theater.

It was during a Motorhead concert on December 2, 1984 when the loud music cracked the ceiling and plaster began to fall on to the audience. The power was cut off to stop the band from playing. Two years later, a judged order Variety Theater closed. Since then it has remained abandoned and hidden from the public. 

In 2009 the abandoned theater was purchased by Friends of the Historic Variety Theatre, an organization aiming to restore and operate the theater. 

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

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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Peace village, the empty North Korean propaganda village

Kijŏng-dong, also known as 'Peace village' is one of the only 2 villages allowed inside the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating North and South Korea. According to the North Korean government the village contains a 200-family collective farm, serviced by a childcare center, kindergarten, primary and secondary schools, and a hospital.

Observations from the south though paint a very different image. According to South Korea the village was built in the 1950s in a propaganda effort to encourage South Korean defections and to house the DPRK soldiers manning the network of artillery positions, fortifications and underground marshalling bunkers that surround the border zone.

According to observations, the brightly painted multi-story buildings of Kijŏng-dong are just concrete shells lacking window glass or even interior rooms, with building lights turned on and off at set times and empty sidewalks swept by caretakers in an effort to preserve the illusion of activity, while the village is surrounded by extensive cultivated fields.

Massive loudspeakers mounted on several of the buildings deliver DPRK propaganda broadcasts directed towards the South. While originally their content aimed to induce defections from the South, it later switched to condemnatory anti-Western speeches, agitprop operas, and patriotic marching music for up to 20 hours a day. Between 2004 and 2016 both North and South agreed to mutually end their loudspeaker broadcasts, they broadcasts have since resumed after escalating tensions as a result of the 2016 nuclear test.

In the 1980's North Koreans built a huge flagpole standing at 160 m (525 ft) over the village with a 270 kg (595 lb) flag of North Korea which was then the tallest flagpole in the world (today, the 4th tallest). It was built as a response to a 98.4 m (323 ft) tall flagpole from the South Korean side in what became known as the "flagpole war". 

SEE ALSO: More ghost towns around the world // More abandoned places in North Korea //  LIST OF ALL DESERTED PLACES 
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Monday, May 9, 2016

The ghost town of Farina in South Australia

The town of Farina was settled in 1878, 650 kilometres (400 miles) to the north of Adelaide  on the edge of the desert and along the old route of the Ghan railway. Originally called The Gums or Government Gums, its first settlers were farmers who believed in the theory of rain follows the plow, meaning that human habitation and agriculture through homesteading could permanently change the climate, thus making an inhospitable environment livable. 

The 1880's brought some wet weather for Farina and the settlers planned  to grow wheat and barley and expand the town to 432 ¼-acre blocks. By the end of the century, Farina reached a peak population of approximately 600. Then, the town had two hotels (the Transcontinental and the Exchange), an underground bakery, a bank, two breweries, a general store, an Anglican church, five blacksmiths, a school and a brothel. 

Despite the optimistic hopes of Farina's settlers the town's climate didn't change dramatically and the 20th century brought a decline in population. The post office closed in the 1960's and the railway line closed in the 1980's. Today Farina has been turned into a ghost town, with only a few dozen residents living in a small settlement west of the town. 

During the last years there have been volunteer efforts to restore the town, including the repair of the bakery and the addition of informational signs.

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Monday, May 2, 2016

The abandoned Canfranc International Railway Station

Canfranc International Railway Station opened in 1928 in the village of Canfranc in the Spanish Pyrenees. It was the point of entry to Spain for the Pau–Canfranc railway, joining France to Spain and passing through the Somport railway tunnel under the Pyrenees. King Alfonso XIII of Spain and the president of the French Republic Gaston Doumergue were both present on the station's inauguration. 

The huge station, featuring a 240 metres (790 ft) long Art Nouveau building, with 300 windows and 156 doors was essential as passengers, together with luggage and cargo travelling from Spain to France and vice versa had to change trains because of the different rail gauge used in the 2 countries (standard gauge in France vs Iberian gauge in Spain). During World War II, the station became associated with the Nazis during the war, as they used it to transport gold out of France, and tungsten the opposite way.

The station closed in 1970 when a train derailment demolished a bridge on the French side of the mountains. The French decided not to rebuilt the bridge and the cross-border line was closed. Today the station is still in operation for domestic trains, with 2 daily passenger trains to and from Zaragoza-Delicias railway station. However, more modest station facilities are used with the main building remaining abandoned since 1970.