Monday, November 28, 2016

Inside the abandoned villages of Hong Kong

Just outside central Hong Kong, in the vast area known as New Territories, many once-thriving villages, have now been left abandoned and overtaken by nature. Many of these remote settlements were flourishing until the 1950s. Then, people started to move to the urban areas to find better-paid jobs, while others took advantage of Hong Kong's ties to the UK and went oversees to work in the Chinese restaurant business. 

By the 1960's an increasing number of people moved away from these villages, abandoning the rural homes, and traditional lifestyles like farming and fishing became less viable. Today, houses and other buildings in villages such as Chau Tau and Sham Chung have been consumed by Hong Kong's climate and fast-growing foliage. Even though some former residents would like to return to their villages, it's hard to so as the government doesn't offer enough services in those rural areas. Today, the only ones who visit Hong Kong's abandoned villages are hikers and urban explorers. 

SEE ALSO: More ghost towns around the world // More abandoned places in Hong Kong // LIST OF ALL DESERTED PLACES 
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Monday, November 21, 2016

The underwater Soviet Rummu prison in Estonia

The Rummu prison, which opened in the 1940s by the Soviet Union in what today is Rummu, Estonia, was built in a convenient location: near a limestone quarry that inmates of the labor camp were forced to excavate. 

Forced labor at the site continued until the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. After the prison shut down, the quarry quickly filled with groundwater and as no one was there anymore to pump out the water, it immersed in it some of the utility buildings and machinery, thus forming a lake. 

Today, the crystal clear lake that was formed in the site of the quarry has become a location for nature photography, hiking, scuba diving, and a summer spot for music and sports events. The lake has a unique appearance due to the minerals that were disposed there when it was still an excavation site. 

Although swimming and diving in the lake is extremely dangerous, many visitors ignore the warning signs. At least 2 of them have died there during the last years. 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

The abandoned 'Orient Express' train in Belgium

Left abandoned in a railway yard somewhere in Belgium, these old trains are rusting away. The national railway company of Belgium placed them there until a railway museum is built. In 2012, some trains had to be moved as the city was going to built a new parking site. 

The only train that was left behind was an old type 620 train. Those trains were once the pride of Belgium railways, but today this is the only one left. The train went viral online when an urban explorer called in an 'Orient Express' train. Orient Express was the name of a long-distance passenger train service created in 1883 and linking Paris to Istanbul. From 1977 to 2009, when Orient Express service ceased operations, the train was linking Paris to Vienna. The Orient Express trains never passed through Belgium

The abandoned train in Belgium might not be an Orient Express train but it is an impressive reminder of a past era. 

SEE ALSO: More abandoned trains and railway stations around the world // More abandoned places in Belgium // LIST OF ALL DESERTED PLACES 
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Monday, November 14, 2016

The abandoned Essex County Jail of New Jersey

The old Essex County Jail was built in 1837 in the University Heights section of Newark, New Jersey. It was designed by architect John Haviland, a major figure in the American Neo-Classical architecture of the 19th century, most notable for Eastern State Penitentiary. Known then as Newark Street Jail, it was built to replace an earlier structure built at the present site of the Grace Episcopal Church

The jail consisted of a two story square building, built of brick and local brownstone in the Greek Revival styleIn 1890, the original building was expanded with multiple additions increasing the number of prison cells up to 300. The jail was also updated to include running water and toilet facilities in each cell. Later expansions also took place in 1895, 1904, and 1909.

The prison closed in 1970 after a new jail was built. Initially, the Essex County Narcotics Bureau moved in and used the building until a judge ordered the evacuation of the building due to deteriorating structural conditions.

In 1991, scenes for Spike Lee's film Malcolm X were shot at the jail and at the same year Essex County Jail was added to the National Register of Historic Places. However, the lack of maintenance and a fire in 2001 have caused a part of the jail to collapse. There were plans for a new science park to be built at the site after the remaining parts of the jail will be demolished, however the the city has rejected the plans and seeks to have the jail restored. Today it is the oldest surviving government building in Essex county. 

SEE ALSO: More abandoned prisons around the world // More abandoned places in New Jersey // More abandoned places in the United States // LIST OF ALL DESERTED PLACES 

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Monday, November 7, 2016

The abandoned public toilets of London

Back in the Victorian era London, public toilets were considered a necessity. The first of those 'public loos' were built over rivers but their output was enough to choke off the flow of the Fleet River, a tributary of the Thames.

It was engineer George Jennings who pioneered London's distinctive 'public conveniences' - tiled underground chambers marked by iron railings or arches at street level. 

Today of course most those public lavatories have shut down. Most of them remain abandoned, littered and vandalized, while few have been successfully converted into cafes, bars and shops. 

SEE ALSO: More abandoned underground places around the world // More abandoned places in the United Kingdom // LIST OF ALL DESERTED PLACES 
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Thursday, November 3, 2016

The abandoned 'El Caballo Blanco' theme park of Sydney

'El Caballo Blanco' (The White Horse) was a Spanish-inspired amusement park, which opened in 1974 in the Catherine Field suburb, south-west of Sydney, Australia. The park was opened by Western Australian business entrepreneur Ray Williams who had brought the first Spanish horses in Australia a few years earlier. 

El Caballo Blanco's main attraction was its Andalusian dancing stallions, but the park also featured miniature Falabella miniature horses, and a number of non-equestrian related amusements such as waterslides, train rides, and a small wildlife zoo.

After the park shut down in 1999, the site was partly used to store items such as carpets, until a fire engulfed much of the building housing the main show arena. In 2015, demolition of the remaining buildings and attractions commenced to make way for a residential development.

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