A few miles off the coast of Japan lies "Battleship Island,"
or Gunkanjima (軍艦島), the Japanese nickname for Hashima Island
, due to its resemblance to the Japanese Tosa battleship
. The island was formerly a densely populated coal mining town
, purchased by Mitsubishi in 1890, but by the 1960s the coal was running out, and in 1974 the island was quickly vacated as Mitsubishi offered residents jobs elsewhere
. Now, the island is an urban explorer's dream
, though the island is not completely open to the public for tours
. Last year, Google trekker walked the island
, providing a virtual tour of the island. And if the roughly 40 year old ruins aren't foreboding enough, Bryan James put together a Chrome experiment
called Hashima Island: Forgotten World
, based on the Google maps tour of the site.
Fort Carroll is an abandoned Army fort on an artificial island in Baltimore's harbor.
Robert E. Lee designed its hexagonal structure and supervised its construction, which the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers commenced in 1848. The fort was declared defunct in 1921, having never seen combat. Sitting in the middle of the Patapsco River, it can be seen clearly from the Key Bridge (named after a witness to an event at Baltimore's more famous fort
), but rarely is it seen up close
. Certainly, it helps if you have a boat
. [more inside]
Excuse Us While We Kiss The Sky. [Single page view]
"By day they work as computer programmers and stock boys and academics. But at night they are known as urban explorers. The Brooklyn Bridge, London's Shard
, Notre Dame—each structure is an expedition waiting to happen. Each sewer, each scaffold, each off-limits site is a puzzle to solve. No wonder the cops are after them. Matthew Power embeds with the space invaders and sees a world—above- and belowground—that the rest of us never knew existed." [Via]
5 Pillars of the Abandoned World is a tour through lost landscapes and shrugged off citadels. From the Gothic, Disney villainness ominousness of Miranda Castle
to the distant splendor
(photo by Cédric Mayence
) of the abandoned Luxembourg Stock Exchange. Don't feel left out, North Americans: the US has plenty of holy, holey structures to sweep you off your feet. Fan favorite for urbane decrepitude, Detroit has lots to see. The St. Agnes Catholic Church
is the place to be
for the religiously inclined ramshackle rambler. Need a place to put up your feet? The Book
offers a cozy spot to spread out your tour guide
and relax. When you're ready to move on, just head over to Michigan Central Station
and hop on the last train to forever.
The world's an awfully big stage. There's a lot to take in
, but don't worry about a thing. Just enjoy the show
. There's no hurry; what's already gone isn't going anywhere. [more inside]
Ghost town in Belgium will lose its street art when it ceases to exist
. "For 700 years, Doel stood near Antwerp along the Scheldt River in Belgium. As Antwerp expanded in the 20th century, its port needed more space, and Doel quickly became a target for demolition. Trying to force residents out, the government scheduled demolitions multiple times, but were beaten by popular protests from the 1970s through the 1990s. But despite the will of the people, Doel could not be saved and in 1999, the town was officially scheduled for complete demolition. Since that time, residents have trickled out, but artists have made their way in. As more of the town became abandoned, street artists from across Europe came and began to debut their works around Doel.
" [more inside]
An urban explorer
of Silent UK breaks into London's The Shard
(pictures inside), the 310 meter high vertical city
designed to be the highest building in Western Europe.
The Atemporality of "Ruin Porn": Part I
, Part II
sneaked into a Russian military rocket factory, found no guards, and started taking pictures
. Some of them are pretty amazing
was a village in the Yamanashi Prefecture
in Japan that gained unwanted international attention in 1995 as a key location for Aum Shinrikyo
, the religious cult behind a number of acts of violence, including the Sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway. To change the nature of attention given to the picturesque village, a new attraction was built on the former site of the cult complex: Gulliver's Kingdom
, a mixed up theme park
with a Scandinavian town, a petting zoo, a French puppet theater to tell the story of Gulliver, and a 45 meter version of Gulliver himself, pinned to the ground
. The park was opened in 1997, but Niigata Chuo Bank was facing serious problems two years later
, collapsing "under the weight of nonperforming loans." The theme park's owners were the largest borrowers from the bank, and the park closed in 2001
. The park was finally purchased in 2002
in the 3rd auction attempt. In 2006, Kamikuishiki disappeared
, divided and the parts merged into neighboring municipalities. The next year, Gulliver's Kingdom was demolished
, leaving behind photos
(new and old
), and memories
The division of post-WWII Berlin reached everywhere in the city, even underground, sealing stations throughout the long decades of the Cold War. They were the first “ghost stations”, which can now be found everywhere: the Paris Metro (previously)
, Los Angeles
, the London Underground
, New York City
, and the aforementioned Berlin
, remaining as entombed time capsules that are passed by millions every day.
) explored the Paris Metro for quite some time, and came back with great photos and a series of posts
on what's down there. [more inside]
Abandoned Detroit Public Schools
"People tend to have a visceral reaction to the sight of books piled ten feet high and left to rot in a windowless warehouse or strewn about a classroom floor. They seem to have more sympathy for books than for the children who’ll never have the chance to use them. Half of Detroiters cannot even read. Unemployment is above 20 percent and our streets are filled with hopeless people. When I see schools left like this, I know exactly what waits for many of these kids. I see it every day on the streets." [more inside]
Virtual hacking is cool but place hacking makes it core again, brachiating across scaffolding to get the shot on your Digital SLR that maximizes your flickr stats, raking in the google adsense cash and conforming to a zerowork ethos if we get pro at it. Sleep in ruins, sell your photos of disgusting shit to tourists. Rinse off in a petrol station sink and repeat. We are the nerds that finally walked away from their computers and we are behind that scaffolding covering the building you ignore everyday when you walk by it going to work, we just loved on that place like no one has in 20 years. We are psychotopological terrorists and we will shove that masterlock up your ass.
A "reformed archaeologist" talks about exploration of urban ruins
. Modern urban ruins.
Chairman Mao's Underground City
is a pictorial travelogue of a small part of the tunnels that Chairman Mao had built under Beijing to serve as a nuclear fallout shelter. The intrepid urban explorers come across some surprising things. The complex, which was built by hand, could house three hundred thousand people for up to four months
and had amenities such as restaurants, cinemas and roller rinks. Here's a short Travel Channel feature
on the Underground City.
has been featured here once
before, but Jim Griffioen's site
photo-documenting his discoveries in and around Detroit deserves a look.
Griffioen was recently interviewed [direct mp3 link]
on the American Public Media radio program The Story
. [more inside]
Miru Kim: Making art of New York's urban ruins.
"At the 2008 EG Conference, artist Miru Kim
talks about her work. Kim explores industrial ruins underneath New York and then photographs herself in them, nude -- to bring these massive, dangerous, hidden spaces into sharp focus." [Via]
Into the black.
At nearly five miles, it's the longest transportation tunnel
east of the Rockies. Built in 1874, its construction
took 200 lives, nearly bankrupted the state of Massachusetts
, and served as a crucible for modern engineering. Journey into the Hoosac Tunnel
, urban exploration destination
and the most haunted place in New England
Urban exploration Japan: abandoned mining town.
Step into the doctor's office for a dose of creepy. Three-part photo essay. [more inside]
"Q: What the hell is this site
about? This is a site about urban exploration in the Ozarks." Abandoned water slides
, underground tunnels
, abandoned buildings
and half-demolished malls
throughout Missouri were all once fair game for this blog, and remain fair game for those who post in Underground Ozarks' forums
Like to poke about in abandoned buildings? Sure you do. But since you're not doing so right now, this guy
has quite a few photo sets
to tide you over. [more inside]
Beneath the Neon
is a book-length account of author Matt O'Brien's exploration of most of the 400+ miles of flood-control tunnels underneath the glitzy lights of Las Vegas. This excerpt
contains an interview with one of the hundreds of people who manage to live in these tunnels, despite the lethal floodwaters that sometimes wash through. Here's another excerpt
, and there's also a Flickr gallery
of images from the book's photographer, including graffiti galleries
, enterprising inhabitants
, and rarely seen perspectives of the Strip
of several galleries full of Japanese "urban ruins" photos, including abandoned amusement parks
, apartment blocks
, bowling alleys
, & much more, including Battleship Island
, the (previously posted
) abandoned coal mining island off the coast of Nagasaki. Via
Despite the occasional cheesy superimposed nude
(nsfw), for the most part this photo series
of images taken by Charles Bodi inside a decaying thermal generating station is quite nice; my personal favorite
or Battleship Island
is 480 x 160 meters and was home to more than 5000 people
for more than 40 years it is a microcosm
of 20th century industrial development
. A soundtrack
to the photos. Or take the multimedia tour
. Urban exploration
is short on text but thick with photos. Even without captions for every picture
, contextual clues
can give us a disturbing idea
of what life
might have been like
in the Wayne County Child Development Center
(before it was abandoned, razed, and turned into a golf course
). The rather-less-easy-to-navigate Northville-Tunnels.com also has photos and information.
There have been a number of urban exploration or modern ruins photography posts here over the years, but I couldn't find any that linked to my new favorite modern ruin site, opacity.us
. With 85 galleries of subjects as gorgeous as Bannerman's Arsenal
and as haunting as the Verden Psychiatric Hospital
, it's a treasure trove of entropy on film.
The Williamson Tunnels
"The explanation most commonly offered [for the construction of the tunnels] is that having risen from humble beginnings, the rich retired merchant was touched by the poverty which pervaded the Edge Hill district and offered construction labour to the unemployed as a gesture of generosity"
got me thinking about a couple of places on Long Island, NY, that are pretty scary.
The Kings Park Psychiatric Center
, for example
. I've been there at night
, and I tell you, knowing
some of the history
, it's terrifying.
It's also strangely beautiful.
You've probably seen Modern Ruins
, Forgotten New York
, and even Lost America
... but have you seen the abandoned island of Gunkanjima
[via Boing Boing]
are a window into human histories, they tell the stories of the past through the stark
presence of objects and architectures
. Perhaps the most powerful aspect of ruins
is the subject that is missing
in the photographs; the people who once worked, lived, walked, talked, slept and dreamed in these spaces
Consider: a man in a suit on the roof of the Pan Am/Met Life Building.
Yeah, that's a real photograph. Continuing the ever popular theme of urban exploration
, the Jinx Magazine guys have documented
some of their more audacious adventures. (warning: flash on the last link)
Are You Up For The Challenge?
It's about adventure! Urban Challenge is not how fast or how far you run or how well you know the city. Did Columbus know the seas well enough to look for a new route to the West Indies? Did Lewis & Clark adequately train for their expedition to find the Northwest Passage?