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  1. History The construction of Caversham Tunnel, now a disused railway tunnel that was cut through a solid sandstone embankment, began in September 1871 in the Kaikorai Valley. Cutting work began on the Caversham side around the same time, but construction of that side of the tunnel did not begin until March 1872. Both sides were joined in almost perfect alignment on 26th September 1872. The 865-metre-long tunnel was fully completed by late February 1873, and a celebratory dinner was held to commemorate the occasion. The tunnel was officially opened for service by Sir Julius Vogel, the eighth premier of New Zealand (prime minister), in December 1873. A party made the first excursion of the line from Dunedin to the Green Island terminus which was located near the coal pits of Messrs Sampson and Brown. A celebratory luncheon was held in a nearby field on the same day. The first passenger service was run on the line in July 1874, from Dunedin to Green Island terminus. A one-way ticket cost fourpence, while a return-journey cost sixpence. Additional links, such as one to Balclutha via the Chain Hills, were later opened at the end of the 1870s. For the time it was operational, however, the tunnel is said to have claimed a total of three lives. In 1876, a Green Island police constable named Henry Vernon was hit by a train while walking through the tunnel. Later, in 1897, a farmer named Kenneth Kennedy fell from a train while it was passing through. And finally, in 1900 an assistant guard named Robert Burns slipped from the train while moving between carriages in complete darkness inside the tunnel. In spite of the seemingly high mortality rate, the service was used up until 1910, when a larger replacement dual line took over all rail traffic. The replacement line sits a few hundred metres away from the original Caversham Tunnel. Over the next few years the tunnel remained closed to the public and was almost forgotten, until there was a flood in 1923. Unfortunately, the deep cutting and tunnel provided a drainage conduit for the Kaikorai Stream which had burst its banks. As a result, the water was guided straight into the large flat areas of South Dunedin. Hundreds of people were forced to evacuate their homes, and many lost valuable possessions. It is reported that drainage issues with the tunnel were addressed at the outset of World War Two, when the tunnel was fitted out as an air raid shelter that could be used by the public in the event of an attack. After the war, ownership of the tunnel passed to the council. It was used during the sixties to lay electrical cables and sewage lines; however, the structure itself has since been left to slowly deteriorate. Lacking any means of proper drainage has resulted in the tunnel filling with thick mud and water, and it is now deemed a dangerous structure. To keep people out, the council erected a barbed wire fence around the Kaikorai Valley side, and a large gate on the Caversham portal. Although there have been talks to convert the tunnel into a pedestrian walk/cycleway, with locals offering to pay for the lighting, all formal proposal have been rejected due to ‘theoretical cost estimates’ and ‘drainage problems’. Our Version of Events After a long night of drinking ale and whisky, we were hungover as fuck as we made our way over to Caversham to seek out the legendary ‘secret tunnel of Dunedin’. According to local legend, the tunnel was said to be nestled among trees and concealed by the motorway. It took a fair bit of faffing around to find the exact location of the tunnel, and a little bit of running along the motorway (thankfully the motorways here are a lot different to European ones). With no footpath and a sharp drop to our right, we had to carefully choose a quiet moment and hit legs. With our vision slightly blurred, and everything swaying ever so slightly, we tried to keep our focus on the white painted line on the road as we jogged. With the taste of ale steadily returning to our mouths, jogging is all we could manage. By the time we reached the entrance to the tunnel, sweat was dripping from us. The post-alcohol effect was in full swing, but we were keen to get the tunnel under our belts. I stood in front of the wire fence and gazed up at the barbed wire fixed across the top for a while. I was waiting for it to stop moving so I could perhaps think about climbing over. The fence was spinning a little bit too, and no matter how hard we held it, it just wouldn’t stop moving. Eventually, though, we managed to get onto the other side. We headed down a set of old decayed wooden steps. They were covered in foliage and, consequently, we stumbled our way down them as some of them had completely disappeared altogether. At the bottom we reached a large number of pipes poking up from the floor, and a small hut just to the left of us. These, as we quickly discovered seemed to be part of Dunedin’s sewage system. Unfortunately, it was at that precise moment we became sober enough to notice the bubble-guts syndrome had begun. We were going to have to make this a quick explore, before nine pints of arse soup demanded to be set free from the trap doors. Stumbling over sewage pipes seemed to bring the sensation on ever more, so it was time to squeeze the cheeks together, tightly. One slight stagger over a pipe or tree root and that would be it. Disaster. Entering the tunnel itself wasn’t difficult from here. But, the reports about the mud certainly don’t exaggerate. The sludge was incredibly sticky and we very nearly lost our boots to it. The floor in the first sections resembled a swamp, and in parts was almost at welly breaching point. It’s was almost as if the sewage pipes were leaking… Things got a little easier further on though, for some of us. With the help of a very handy handrail on the right hand wall, The Mexican Bandit was able to climb onto a ledge of raised mud that seemed to have solidified. Using the slightly rubbery feeling ‘handrail’, which was caked in years of slimy grime, he made quicker progress. He continued like this for quite a few metres, leaving us swamp dwellers far behind, until something caught his eye. Squinting, to properly focus his vision in the dark conditions, he could make out a sign plastered onto the ‘handrail’. It read either ‘DANGER 600 VOLTS’, or ‘6000’. In the heat of the moment, his vision was playing tricks on him, adding zeros to the situation, but he swiftly let go in any case. Apparently wellies are excellent at preventing electrocution, but I guess he didn’t want to test that theory out. For the most part, Caversham Tunnel is a bit samey throughout. It’s a very different style to the railway tunnels we have in England though, so it felt quite unique being all natural rock rather than Victorian brick. There was a small brick section around 400 metres into the tunnel though, and for a very brief moment excitement made the hangover subside. Upon discovering that the brick section was more like an underground bridge, however, disappointment set in and the battle to hold the ale inside ensued once more. There were other interesting features of course, such as the millions of seashells which littered the floor (the swamp ends halfway through, and the remainder of the tunnel is relatively dry). They were all different shapes and sizes, but I have no idea why they were there. The final interesting feature to add to the growing list would be the sewer we found that runs beneath the main passageway. We’d managed to stumble across a semi-broken lid, so decided to have a peek inside to see if there was anything interesting. And behold, there was: Dunedin’s shit floating about right beneath our feet. And to be perfectly honest, whatever you’ve been eating Dunedin, you need to stop… Explored with Nillskill and The Mexican Bandit. South Dunedin Flood (1923) 1: 2: 3: 4: 5: 6: 7: 8: 9: 10: 11: 12: 13: 14:
  2. Between 1995 and 2016 I've visited Romania twelve times. I was almost in every area of this country - in Transylvania and Wallachia; traveled from the southern Danube in the Banat to the northern Maramures and Bukovina, and from the Hungarian border in the west to the Black Sea coast in the east... During these trips, of course I also have explored various abandoned castles and manor houses. Even if I show a lot here, it's not all that I've visited there… But I just show a mix of well-preserved buildings up to ruins. Some of these buildings are no longer abandoned today (If I know, I'll write the current state in brackets.). Because of the large amount, I write only brief information about the places. The photos are partly already older and / or taken without tripod, therefore the quality isn't always the best. Sometimes I only show exterior shots - because most of the Romanian castles are plundered and empty; some of them weren't accessible either. In advance a short lesson in Romanian: Castelul = castle Conacul / Vila = villa / mansion / manor house Palatul = palace Cetatea = castle (fortress) Herghelie = stud farm 1. Castelul Kornis (emptied and partly collapsed now) Built in 1573-1593, expanded in the 18th century, later used as a school, destroyed in World War II. The only Romanian castle with statues of unicorns that I know (there are two of them in front of it). 2. Castelul Brukenthal (in renovation) Built in 1750-1760, abandoned in 1940 due to a fire. 3. Castelul Banffy (in renovation) Built in the end of the 14th century, expanded in the 17th-18th century, destroyed in World War II. 4. Castelul Bornemissza Built in 1848, later used as a hospital. 5. Castelul Bethlen Built in 1667-1683, later used as school, kindergarten (nursery), prison and champagne cellar. 6. Vila Dobrescu (for sale or already sold) Built in the 18th-19th century, in the 1930s inhabited by a Romanian lawyer and mayor. 7. Castelul Haller (large parts are collapsed now) Built in 1610, expanded in 1704. 8. Cetatea Fagaras (renovated and converted into a museum) Built in 1310, conversion to a fortress in 1538, expanded in the 17th century, later used as military headquarters. 9. Palatul Cantacuzino (has been fenced due to danger of collapse) Built in 1911-1913, destroyed during earthquakes in 1940 and 1977. 10. Conacul Wass Built in the 19th century, later used as a school. 11. Castelul Haller Built and expanded in 1721-1771, abandoned after the extinction of the family. 12. Palatul Spa (demolished now) I don't know anything about its history. 13. Castelul Zsombory (sold) Built in 1892. 14. Casa Orthodoxa The “Orthodox house” was part of a fortified church. 15. Castelul Tholdi (partly burnt down) Built in 1640, later used as orphanage. 16. Castelul Rakoczi-Banffy (re-inhabited) Built in 1664-1669. 17. Castelul Lonyai Built in 1484, expanded in 1630 and about 1850, destroyed in World War II. 18. Castelul Teleky (in use as a barn and storage area) Built in the 18th century. 19. Castelul Teleky-Wesseleny Built in the 18th century. 20. Castelul Pekry (in private use) Built in 1681, expanded in 1732, later used as kindergarten (nursery) and school. 21. Castelul Wass-Banffy (guarded) Built in 1439, expanded in the 16th century, later used as a school. 22. Castelul Konopi Built in 1748, expanded about 1800, expropriated and nationalized in 1948, returned to the owner in 2007. 23. Castelul Karoly Built in 1418, rebuilt in 1730, expanded in 1896, destroyed in World War II. 24. Castelul Karatsonyi Built in 1793, later used as nursing home and orphanage, abandoned in 1989. 25. Castelul Wass (renovated and re-inhabited) Built in the 18th-19th century. 26. Ansamblul Castelului Mikes - Nemes - Beldy Pal (Three small castles and mansions side by side. Partly re-inhabited now, partly in use as a barn and storage area) Built in the 18th-19th century. 27. Castellul Wass-Banffy (partly in use again) Built as a royal summer residence in 1752-55, expanded 1809, later used as a school. 28. Castelul Bethlen (in renovation for a museum) The exact time of its construction is uncertain, but probably in the 16th century. After expropriation used as a storage for artificial fertilizer. 29. Castelul Bethlen-Teleky (in renovation, but it works very slowly) Built in 1625, partly destroyed by fire in 1849. 30. Castelul Apafi / Apaffy (renovated and converted into a museum) Built in 1552-1556, expanded in the 17th century, later used as a school, abandoned about 1990. 31. Vila a primului-ministru (in renovation) Built about 1940 as an apartment for the Prime Minister, later used for military and school, as well as a film set in 1985. 32. Herghelie Homorod Built in 1820-1830, later expropriation, abandoned in 1989. 33. Vila Rosia Montana I don't know anything about its history. 34. Cetatea Losonczy-Haller Built in 1295, expanded in 1645-1652. 35. Conacul Buteni I don't know anything about its history. 36. Conacul Kemeny Built in the end of the 18th century, expanded in the 19th century, later expropriation and used as a company site and storage facility for fertilizers, abandoned about 1990. 37. Conacul Beldy (Should be sold - for over a million euros...! Of course there was no buyer. Most parts are collapsed now) Built in 1880. 38. Castelul Martinuzzi-Bethlen Former monastery, conversion to a castle in 1545-1551, expanded in the 17th-18th century. 39. Cetatea Oradea The oldest parts were built in the 11th century, expanded different times, later used for military purposes. 40. Castelul Kemeny (renovated and today in use as a cultural house) Built in 1805, later used as a school, abandoned in 2005. 41. Castelul Bay Built in the end of the 19th century. 42. Castelul Teleky Built about 1290, expanded in 1850-1859. 43. Castelul Bolyai (most parts are collapsed now) Built in in 15th-16th century, later used as a school, abandoned in the 1970s. 44. Vila Lugoj I don't know anything about its history. 45. Vila Nopcsa I don't know anything about its history. 46. Conacul General Berthelot (renovated in 2010 and now the seat of the Romanian Academy) Built in the end of the 19th century, later used as an agricultural warehouse. 47. Castelul Kornis- Bethlen Built in 1545, expanded in 1650-1660. Later used as a school.
  3. We walk ignoring the gems than some buildings hide. Blinded by their walls, time keep this palace as a shelter of fantasy and dreams. bem-vindo. If you want to see the full set, go to: http://the-lostsouls.blogspot.com.es/2016/09/o-palacio-escondido_28.html
  4. History (Part One) The area where Brisbane is now located was originally discovered by European colonialists in 1799, when Matthew Flinders first explored Moreton Bay. He spent a total of fifteen days there before returning to Port Jackson. Before the area was seized, so to speak, a number of Aboriginal tribes resided in the area; notably the Jagera and Turrbal tribes. It was used as a seasonal settlement area and several camps capable of sustaining between 200 and 600 people would be erected each year, within the vicinity of the good fishing spots. Due to its suitability for farming, fishing, timbering and the potential use of other useful materials, a town was initially built on that land that would, in due course, become Brisbane. The first settlement, however, became a penal colony after free settlers in Sydney petitioned to have their worst convicts sent somewhere else. The first convict colony, led by Lieutenant Henry Miller, was established at Redcliff Point in 1824. However, by 1825 the entire colony was forced to move further south, closer to the Brisbane River – the current site of the Central Business District. The town grew steadily over a number of years, although it remained very primitive. There were no stone or brick buildings, only wooden huts, and the sole link to civilisation was the very occasional arrival of a ship from Sydney, which would dock in Moreton Bay rather than Brisbane River. As the settlement grew it was ascribed the name Edenglassie; a portmanteau of the two Scottish cities, Edinburgh and Glasgow. As expected, the name failed to appeal to those residing there and it was soon changed to ‘Brisbane’, in honour of Governor Thomas Brisbane. The first stone buildings started to appear in 1827/28, with the construction of the Commissariat Store and the Prisoners Barracks. The Commissariat Store, which still exists today, was built using stone quarried from Kangaroo Point, and lime, for mortar, through burning oyster shells taken from Amity Point. The barracks soon became the largest building in the settlement at the time and it had the capacity to hold up to 1000 convicts. The town of Brisbane was beginning to grow at a considerable pace, nevertheless, the colony still remained reputed for being a harsh place to work and live. Among the convicts, and indeed people outside the colony, it was known as a ‘prison within a prison’. Records indicate that in the period between February and October 1828 alone, over 11,000 lashes were inflicted on 200 convicts. Hundreds of convicts were reported to have fled into the bush in the first few years because of the brutal conditions. Although many perished, a few, such as Scottish-born James Davis, managed to succeed at living as ‘wild white men’ among the Aboriginal people. In addition to the threat of punishment inside the settlement, local Aboriginals also attempted to starve out the colony by destroying many of the crop fields. *More on the development of Brisbane’s drainage system will continue in the next report. Our Version of Events As you will have noticed, if you’ve been following some of the other reports we’ve posted from Sydney, much of Australia’s surface level abandonment gets trashed or demolished pretty quickly. That’s not to suggest that there’s nothing out there, they’re just few and far between and many become well-kept secrets. Anyway, having discovered this for ourselves, feeling a little disappointed, we decided to head up to Brisbane where there’s a large draining community, to try our luck exploring something else. Fortunately, we managed to contact a well-known explorer in those parts, who goes by the name of Darkday, and she was willing to meet up with us. So, after accepting her offer we decided to hop on the train and go check out what lies underneath Australian streets. The train journey wasn’t too bad, since all we had to do was sit there and eat Australian cookies, which I seem to have acquired a taste for. At the station we then waited for a car to pick us up. But, not knowing what Darkday actually looked like at that point, we had to poke our head inside random vehicles and simply ask for someone by that name. After a short while Mayhem seemed to get vibe and decided to hop into a car that had just pulled up. I climbed in after him, and after quickly glancing at the people inside, I deduced that they seemed friendly enough. It was only then though, while sat in the back; feeling a little awkward and uncertain that we hadn’t just clambered into some randomer’s car, that I remember to actually check that we were indeed in Darkday’s car… We were, so all was good. We had a good chat with Darkday on our way to the first location, and she explained that this was known as the ‘darkie’ of the city, Brisbane’s classic drain explore; something all major Australian cities have in the exploring world apparently. But, before we could get down and dirty, we were, following typical WildBoyz tradition, quite unprepared for getting wet, so we had to request a quick stop at a Woolworths (good old woollies survives!) to pick up some appropriate-ish footwear. After a quick pit-stop, and a change of shoes, we headed directly to the location. Inside, things were a little different to our drains. For one, the ovoid shape was rather unique. Second, Aussies don’t mind getting wet; they’re not pussies like most of us UK lot with our wellies and waders, so quite quickly we found ourselves wading through water. I did explain, in our defence, that it’s a lot colder in the UK. Third, following on from that last point, the heat down there was incredible: describing it as a sauna perhaps sums it up succinctly. I felt as though I’d shed a few pounds afterwards. And finally, the wildlife down there is starkly different to the creatures we’re accustomed to. Some of this included, but was indeed not limited to, cockroaches, big spiders, killer spiders, lizards called ‘dragons’ and eels – although we didn’t see any eels in here. The drain itself changes throughout, as we passed through brick sections which were built by the convicts (I’ll explain more about this in the next report, to avoid putting a huge history in this one), spray-over concrete areas and the standard modern concrete pipe. Towards the end we came across some of the ‘dragons’ Darkday has been telling us about, and we watched as she attempted to rescue them, to save them from an imminent death down inside the drain. She explained how they get trapped down there after falling inside. And that was our first drain in Australia. All in all it was great to see a part of Brisbane’s historic past, and to enter somewhere that’s well-trodden by the Cave Clan. The night certainly wasn’t over, though. Afterwards, we made our way to a public barbeque and, after a quick safety brew to uphold our English roots, a bit of food and a few bevvies, we made our way to the next drain on the list: ‘the Batcave’. Explored with Ford Mayhem, Darkday and Darkday’s Accomplice. 1: 2: 3: 4: 5: 6: 7: 8: 9: 10: 11: 12: 13: 14:
  5. Solo jaunt. History Ha ha. Sorry, I used the Romanian name for this one just to get your attention. Dear reader, I present to you this once-infamous political prison, Doftana aka the Romanian bastille. Once one of the most cruel, harshest prisons in Romanian history, it's now largely forgotten about by Romanians, and quietly rots away near the Carpathian mountains just outside the village of Campina in Prahova county. Built in 1895 as a place to house nearby workers for the mine workings, it was converted in 1921 to a political prison for communists, among which the most famous prisoners were the former prime minister of Romania Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej (1952-1955) and former communist dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu (1968-1989). Both were imprisoned as young adults for their ideology, subjected to some of the foulest, most deranged treatment you can imagine. Doftana would eventually close in 1958, before being transformed into a museum during the communist period, in doing so becoming in effect a "communist shrine." Eventually, in addition to an earthquake in 1977 and declining visitor numbers it closed in 1990, after the anti-communist revolt in 1989. Since then it has been left to rack and ruin, its once impenetrable walls crumbling at the mercy of harsh weather, metal thieves and vandals. For a more in-depth history, I'm not going to make a pastiche of someone else's already superb write-up, so please make a visit to Darmon Richter's Bohemian Blog here. I'll add my own interpretation below. My visit This was a place I wouldn't miss at any costs, despite it not being that epic compared to the likes of H15 and such. At the same time, my nerves were sky high; if you've read the last two reports on this place, you'd think that even if the place is a ruin it would be a near-impenetrable fortress. Yes, literally. Dragging Arold to Campina with me, we got a taxi driver to take us there. A young man about my age, surprisingly he spoke English fluently and talked to us about the prison, how he used to play there with his friends when they were children. Nowadays however, he warned that security had been put in place to stop us getting in. Having spoken to Darmon about it before, with the dogs free roaming the place I thought they would be virtually unavoidable. We got to the gates, and all was dead. The cabin on the right was empty and derelict now. However, I nearly screwed things up when I walked up the (I assume) guard's driveway to their house, making the dog bark. Get back. Right, we can't approach from the front. I need to flank it from behind, just like I planned. I made my way up a road that went along the hill with Arold, until I found a gate to an empty field. Arold wasn't feeling up to it unfortunately, so I bade farewell to him before he made his way back. Down the hill, I thrash my way through bushes and trees before I spot a grey building. It was the toilets. I got to the fence, all looks quiet still. No dogs. Jumping straight over the fence, I could tell the place was well looked after, with all the grass cut regularly and open space. Danger zone! I first check out the guard towers that are dotted round the place, but all the stairs inside had long since rotted away, so they wouldn't provide me with access. I had to keep running, so I got to the entrance building and BOOM! I was in within seconds, having not seen a single soul. So far so good, but still nervous. I made my way into the courtyard, which by contrast had been completely let go and was overgrown. From here all the buildings were wide open. Time to start shooting. Having seen footprints and even a dog pawprint in the dust, I was rightfully on edge and started shooting the upstairs part first. Nevertheless, shooting Doftana was absolutely fascinating, and I sought to capture it for what it is: a cold, horrible, crumbling concrete shell. The cells above were part of one of the more open, less restricted wings for prisoners. These prisoners were allowed to socialise in the courtyard, but if caught trading cigarettes and contraband they would be sent to H, the block dedicated to the most barbaric of treatments. This block I assume was dedicated to prisoners who were to undergo hard labour. Knowing what they were subject to, I can only think the conditions were marginally better than H. As you can see, it's absolutely clear what a dire state Doftana is in. It won't be long until the entire cell block collapses in on itself, finishing Doftana off. And so we come to the solitary confinement cells, block H. Look at the lower cells relative to the windows. Absolutely no light could shine in when the doors were closed, plus the floors were flooded. During winter without heating and with inmates living on rations barely possible to survive on, many died here. It's virtually impossible to capture the emotion invoked by architecture in a photo, but dear reader, how do you think you would feel if this was your cell? You wouldn't survive, would you? I wouldn't, that's for sure. It was time to move onto the west cell blocks. Thus far I heard plenty of dogs barking, and possibly footsteps, but to be honest it was probably wind and dogs from afar. I was at leisure to roam undisturbed. Internal courtyard, now long since overgrown. I headed back to the front building. It was clear this had been converted to a museum post-closure, but anything of value had long been plundered. All that remained was a smashed up diorama. Theatre room. The projection room was bare, before you ask. It was time to make my escape. Not wanting to push my luck, I didn't stop to take externals. I dashed out the way I came in, never seeing a single guard or dog in sight. So there we have it, Doftana Prison. What does the future hold? Sadly not a great deal for the present moment. It's used for airsoft games sometimes, but that's it. It's a listed building too, but reuse would be difficult not just because of its ruinous condition, but also the history. On the final day of our tour, Arold and I visited Sighet Prison in Maramureș; this was very similar to Doftana inside, having been opened in 1897 (albeit exclusively, unlike Doftana) as a prison. In the 1950s when Doftana had already closed this was used to detain prisoners under the communist regime, and the conditions and treatments were hardly much better than what happened at Doftana. As I walked round, we were shown a map of the prisons used by the communist regime to imprison political prisoners. I wondered why Doftana wasn't listed, and now I know why; it's because this building is the the complete opposite. Sighet was a prison run by the communist regime, now preserved as a memorial to the victims of communism. Doftana was a prison museum during that time, and became a shrine to communism. Ultimately, if there's one thing I can conclude from visiting the two, it's that no matter how many crimes against humanity are committed, history seems to find a way to repeat itself. It just puts on a different guise each time. Doftana and Sighet are sides of the same dirty coin. Pessimistic, but look at the Conservative party in the UK; they want to revoke the human rights act, and too many people sit by and let it happen. If you've got this far, thank you for reading. Love and best wishes, True British Metal x
  6. Visited with Arold. History Casino Constanta is an historic monument built in Art Nouveau style between 1904 -1910, to meet the needs of the Black Sea tourists in the period known as La belle Époque: a time when well dressed gentlemen would read the newspaper early in the morning, enchanting ladies walked on the promenade, the sound of military music filled the atmosphere on sunset, inviting people to “dance” in their impeccable evening outfits. The man who conceived this challenging project, very modern at that time, was Daniel Renard, a young Romanian architect of Swiss origin. The building is exceptionally rich in decorations inspired by the vegetal and marine worlds: waves, climbing plants, beautiful flowers and fantastic shell windows, make you believe that you are in an undersea palace, where Poseidon is waiting to greet you on his throne, behind the curtain of the majestic theatre stage in the main room. The Casino is challenging your imagination step by step, with every ornament, every broken mirror, and every crack in the wall producing an emotional rollercoaster outlined by the magnificent view of the sea. What used to be the main social and cultural attraction of the city in the past is lying in despair today, completely neglected like a true old man celebrating his 100th anniversary alone. During World War II, the building was transformed into a hospital, and during the communist regime was a restaurant where, weddings, baptisms and communist events were organized. Little by little its fame started to fade. Having closed in 1990, in the 2000s the casino was taken under the care of the Municipality of Constanta. In 2007 the municipality signed a concession contract on 49 years with the Israeli company Queen Co Leisure International (QLI), in exchange of 140,000€ annually. QLI stated publicly that they would invest 15 million euros in renovation and transforming the casino into an international entertainment center, the biggest in Romania. The optimistic company forecasted that the investment was going to be recovered in 5 years, yet another 4 years passed and still nothing happened. The municipality ended the contract and started searching for a buyer. Soon enough this decision started a public scandal, where the Ministry of Regional Development and Tourism (MRDT) promises to take over the problem. The old Casino is supposedly going to be restored completely with funds from the MRDT’s budget. The new dates are placing the beginning of the renovation work in maximum one year after the Casino is officially under MRDT administration, and another 2 years to finish the work. So far the first deadline for starting the project is going to be August-September 2012. Our experience Casino Constanta. The most famous derelict building in Romania. After our trip to Moldova and Transnistria, there was no way I was going to miss this. It's the icon of Constanta; ask a Romanian what there is to see in the city apart from the impeccable Black Sea beaches, and they'll probably mention this. It even appears in the Lonely Planet guide! Up until this year according to Tripadvisor visitors were allowed inside, but recent reports suggested this stopped. I thought if worst comes to worst I'll just sneak in round the back through an open window, easy enough... but I wanted to be on the safe side and be guaranteed entry. A good job I did what I did, and contact the City Hall. I emailed them for permission, which was granted provided Arold and I signed an affidavit to say that they weren't responsible for any injuries incurred as a result of us going inside. Fantastic! Don't you just wish it could be like this in the UK? Just sign a form and the doors are flung open for you. Obviously it's under council care and a listed building, but I wasn't expecting the level of security they had at this place. When we arrived, we saw two guards outside in a cabin. They spoke no English, but somehow got the message that I was granted permission by the mayor to go inside. They called somebody up, and out comes a younger guard from inside the building, who spoke English fluently. Two guards outside and one inside, for one small building; this place is a fortress. I showed him my passport, and then Arold and I were granted free roam. The sights here are among the best of their kind. Absolutely exceptional details in every room. For a 1990 closure, particularly being so close to the abrasive salty sea air and water, it's survived exceptionally well. You can tell attempts have been made to restore the building in the past judging by workers' tools left behind; sadly nothing has happened to this day. Still, vandalism has thankfully been kept to an absolute minimum. The majority of the building had been accessible, but there were a few rooms which were nailed shut presumably to prevent break-ins and animals (although cats and pigeons inevitably found their way in). Again, a damn good job I didn't try to sneak in with the guard inside! One of my best photos ever. And to you dear reader, I present you now with Poseidon's lair. The centrepiece, the theatre! It was in this room that damage and decay was clearer after 26 years of disuse. Yet it still conveys a real sense of grandeur on an epic scale. Maybe I'm getting whipped up in hysteria, but could this be one of the best locations I've ever done? Heading backstage And now to round things off. And an external. So there we have it. On a final note I just wanted to say this. Even if it's now an EU member state and tourism is increasing, Romania is still a criminally underrated destination. Explorer or not, I simply cannot recommend the country enough. Get out there and find some more gems; there are cities like Hundeoara ram jammed with derelict industry so I hear! Not only that, you've got some of the best mountain ranges in Europe and most beautiful cities you'll ever see. Get out there! Love as always, True British Metal x
  7. I wanted to visit the building for more than two years, but I was never before in the area of this country. And I would probably not flew there this summer, if would not have been reports that the building is to be restored soon. Meanwhile, I doubt this message; but at least the rumor has had the consequence, finally to realize the visit. Currently, the former casino can only be visited with permission. Even at night a guard was present. The building was commissioned around 1900 and it was built between 1904-1910. Because maintaining was too expensive, the casino closed in 1990. Allegedly, already in 2013 the EU has approved 10 million € for the renovation. If this is true, it is surprising that nothing has happened within the last three years. I asked the town council by email whether there are plans for a renovation in the near future, but I'm still waiting for an answer. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40
  8. Situated half way up a mountain in a sleep little Austrian village, we arrived here after a rather long drive through the day. We planned to sleep inside for the night, but upon a quick scout round we couldn't find a way in. We mooched back to the car and got the tents, and found a flatish bit of grass to set up on. I was about to call it a night until i looked up - one of the most beautiful skies i'd ever seen. After a rather short debate we trooped back to the car to get the cameras - along with beers and snacks and set up for some shots. Unfortunately the cloud started to roll in, and we were greeted with a rather beautiful thunderstorm over the mountains in the distance. In hindsight, i'm glad we didn't get in at first, because it was a truly enjoyable night sitting around with a few beers, chatting and taking photos. This was taken from outside my tent - and what a beautiful view we woke up to the next morning. After a rather poor nights sleep - mostly down to the fact we were pitched on a hill and kept sliding down in our tent, we packed up and before we left had another look round. Thankfully we found an open window - one we'd missed in the dark, so retreating to the car once again to get our cameras before making our way inside. It seems the local vandals have hit this place too - with some awful graff in places but i avoided photographing these bits mostly. Overall it was a rather pleasant explore, with some beautiful views I won't be forgetting any time soon. As always, thanks for looking!
  9. History In spite of Dunedin’s falling population throughout the twentieth century, Kenmure Intermediate School was built in 1974. Like most other architecture constructed in that era, the school’s buildings are distinctly modernist; this means the structures adhere to design principles that are open to structural innovation, yet they make rational use of modern-day materials and limit the amount of ornamentation in any project. The school survived for less than twenty-five years, as it was later merged with Kaikorai Valley High on a nearby site in 1997. Presently, the site neighbours a former landscaping and nursery business, and some sort of truck depot which itself looks as though it is slowly turning into a graveyard. As for the school, it is rumoured that the local police armed offenders squad occasionally use it as a training site. Our Version of Events Realising that it’s been a while since we posted anything from New Zealand, we decided to quickly pop back over the water and see what’s going on in Middle Earth. As it turns out, very little has changed since we were last there, except for the few odd abandoned sites that have a habit of popping up from time to time. One of these is Kenmure Intermediate School, which we’d actually seen once before, but dismissed as being a collection of dilapidated sheds. You will see why when you get to the photographs. Access to the site wasn’t particularly difficult, although it did involve a fair bit of waiting around. Dunedin is one of those cities that seems virtually silent, until students decide to have a party in their veritable ‘ghetto’, or when it’s time to explore. Two guys in chequered truckers-style shirts gazed in our direction for a long while, until someone inside their house diverted their attention. Our patience paid off; with their backs turned we were soon inside the school which, bizarrely, looks nothing like a school. For the most part, the school itself is pretty trashed, and most of the rooms seem stripped. As you wander around the buildings, however, an increasing number of clues begin to emerge, which suggest that this site was in fact an educational establishment. Quite a few of the old classrooms still have blackboards (which are actually green) in them and, for reasons unbeknownst to us, there were rather a lot of seats left over, all scattered chaotically around the site. Unfortunately, there were few tables, so we weren’t able to get any lifelike classroom shots. All was going very well for the first hour (the site is surprisingly large), until the sound of a pneumatic drill began to ring throughout the buildings. The single pane windows rattled violently in their frames, as the juddering steadily became more intense. The door of a nearby fridge even swung opened. Wondering what the fuck was happening, we decided to have a quick look outside. Outside, we edged forwards, creeping up a steep hill made up of rubble and other random shit, to take a sneaky peak at what was on the other side. Sure enough, there was a guy on the other side with a large tool of some description, laying into the floor like Tigger on LSD. Surrounding him was some sort of large truck depot; although, many of the trailers and cabs looked as though they’d been there for a while. A long row of silver trailers sat parked to the left of us. Several moments later, a we noticed a second guy walk over to one of the trucks in the distance. We watched him climb inside and start the engine. A moment later it roared past us, heading towards what looked like an exit. Neither the pneumatic drill guy, nor the truck driver seemed to notice us, though, so we headed back inside the school to finish taking photographs. The sound of the drill thing began very intermittent after a while, and it seemed to get very close at one point, but we came across no one else inside the school. By the end of the explore we’d decided that the truck depot must still be active in some sense; perhaps used for long-term storage, or something of this nature. 1: 2: 3: 4: 5: 6: 7: 8: 9: 10: 11: 12: 13: 14: 15: 16: 17: 18: 19: 20: 21: 22: 23: 24: 25: 26: 27: 28: 29: 30:
  10. I've visit this sort of farmhouse at the end of last year. During a little vacation in Luxembourg I had the change to take a look at this place. I'm suprised that there is no other topic about this one on os. On the outside it looked a bit scary, hidden by trees and bushes. On the inside there are some nice spots to see. I especially loved the bedroom upstairs. In the barn are a few cars, but on my way out I've found another car, a classic one, hidden in a kind of cave lol. Here's a selection of some pictures I've made, more you can find on my flickr. #1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7 #8 #9
  11. History Malabar Battery, also known as Boora Point Battery, was constructed at Malabar Head in 1943, during WWII. The battery comprised part of the coastal defence positioned at Bare Island Fort, Henry Battery and Banks Battery; it was built as an aggregate to reinforce the existing structures in place. Early in 1942, after the fall of Singapore, the Australian government feared a Japanese invasion and since the country lacked defences they sought help from the United States. In reality, Japan never planned an invasion as it was deemed unfeasible to try and carry out a takeover; their only significant action against Australia involved advancing through the South Pacific, in an attempt to isolate Australia by slowing the advance of allied forces. At Malabar Battery, two six inch Mark XII gun emplacements were installed. In addition to the guns, an underground counter bombardment facility was constructed, adding to the overall firepower of the defensive structure. This was fitted with ‘gun crew ready rooms’, an ammunition supply/store area and an engine room. A single track tramway was also fitted, traversing from the ammunition drop off point to the ammunition supplies in the basement, and finally to the two gun emplacements themselves. Further sections to the battery included northern and southern searchlight blockhouses, and a barracks and toilet block for the facility. After the war, like most of the other lookouts and defences across Australia, Malabar Battery was decommissioned and the guns were removed. Since then the site has remained abandoned and an alluring target for Australia’s graffiti ‘artists’. Our Version of Events Next on our list of sites to see: the legendary Malabar Battery. Originally, we had intended to meet up with another explorer who’s located in Sydney and he had wanted to take us out to this location, but, due to unfortunate timings, he was busy. Nevertheless, we took it upon ourselves to get on a train, then a bus, and then a second one, all the way down to Malabar. By all accounts, the area looks particularly picturesque when looking at photographs of the coastline, but heed our warning – looks can be deceiving! Only when we were happily on our way, on the first bus, did we noticed that a couple of our fellow travellers were wearing ankle tags. As various normal-looking people got off, more and more dodgy looking characters got on. The bus suddenly began to feel like a prison transfer, rather than a public service. At the point where we had to change buses, we noticed a group of security guards gathered at the bus stop; their job it seemed was to hop on the buses as they drove into Maroubra and Malabar. Once again we found ourselves in ghetto territory. In the beginning, judging by the names, we were expecting to find small Spanish-looking towns: how wrong our first impressions were. We hopped off the bus in the middle of a housing estate somewhere, after I saw a bay out of the window that looked strangely familiar. Indeed, we’d managed to drive to the opposite side of the bay so had to walk back towards our desired location. This didn’t matter so much as we were able to enjoy some of Malabar’s fantastic coastline. It took less time than we’d imagined to cross the bay, and before we knew it we were standing outside the nearby water treatment plant. Since it’s inconveniently in the way, blocking access to the wilderness behind it – where the batteries are located – we were forced to traverse the cliffside. We made slow progress up the rocks, but eventually we caught sight of the buildings we’d been looking for. Careful to avoid snake and other beasties, we wandered into narrow sandy tracks within the bushes. They continued on for quite some time and, since the bushes were high, we weren’t able to see where we were going. Continuing on, using pure instinct (luck), we eventually stumbled upon the crumbling remains of the former battery. The intense glow of the graffiti must have guided us there. With daylight fading quickly we decided to cover the site as quickly as possible, hence why I didn’t manage to get any photographs of the spotlight nests. It didn’t really matter though since there was plenty more to see. At first it seemed that all of the entrances had been sealed, as we’d been warned by others, but after some searching in the bushes we soon discovered what we were looking for: a great big dirty way inside. And that was that really, once inside it felt a little bit like the film, Outpost, with its long concrete tunnels and various chambers. Fortunately, there didn’t appear to be any murderous Nazi ghouls or experiments inside this bunker, so we made it back out again just as the sun had fully set. Only at that point, though, did we realise that we had to wander back through the bush to get out again… Explored with Ford Mayhem. 1: Some Australian Wilderness 2: One of the Spotlight Nests in the Distance 3: Inside the Bunker attached to the Observation Post 4: Former Trenched Walkway and Barracks 5: Former Tramway 6: Main Observation Post 7: Inside the Underground Bunker 8: Stairs (up) to one of the Gun Emplacements 9: Doorway to a Former Ammunition Store 10: Ammunition Storeroom 11: Heading Towards the Second Tunnel 12: Fallen Ventilation Shaft 13: More Underground Tunnel 14: Underground Rooms in the Bunker 15: Old Ventilation Duct 16: Large Underground Corridor 17: Following the Former Tramlines 18: End of the Line (Flooded Second Ammo Store Downstairs) 19: Gun Emplacement Outside 20: Huntsman Spider Merry Christmas Everyone!
  12. History (Part Three) Since Brisbane was a penal colony, free settlers were not permitted to erect any sort of permanent camp near or inside the town. As the flow of convicts declined towards the 1840s, however, the British government decided to prepare unused land around Moreton Bay for European settlers, to separate them from the prisoners. Once they arrived, much of the timber that was felled in the clearing process was used in the construction of new homes and buildings. Rights and land ownership of the Aboriginals was not recognises at this time, therefore compensation for annexing the land was not required, nor expected. By the late 1860s most of the Aboriginal people living within the vicinity of Brisbane had died out, through gunshot wounds or disease. Detailed accounts from that era indicate that most of the remaining Aborigines by this time chose to trade with the settlers who relied on their labour (tree cutting, ferrying, water carrying) and goods (firewood, fish, shellfish). For years Brisbane remained less developed than other Australian cities. It was often described as a regional outpost, even in spite of the discovery of gold – most of which was sent to Melbourne and Sydney – since the town had far fewer classical Victorian structures. Floods continued to plague the town throughout the 1800s as the development of drains was slow, even with a large ‘disposable’ workforce. Although it was officially recognised as a city in 1902, and played a crucial part in the defence of Australia during the Second World War, simple amenities such as a citywide sewer system was still not completed until the 1970s. Up until this time many people outside the CBD still relied on ‘thunderboxes’ (outhouses that made use of nightsoil or septic tanks). After the 1974 flood caused by Cyclone Wanda, which was described as ‘a particularly bad one’, Brisbane City Council centred their finances and efforts on creating a flood mitigation scheme. A large number of concrete pipes were implanted across the city thereafter. Many of these replaced the former Victorian brickwork drains built by the convicts, since they were considered less reliable and expensive to repair. The new drains positioned throughout the city worked well up until January 2011, when the city unfortunately flooded once again. It was estimated that more than three-quarters of the Queensland area was affected by flooding though, so little is likely to have prepared the city for a disaster of this scale. In Brisbane city itself over 20,000 houses were inundated, alongside other key sites such as the CBD, Suncorp Stadium and a number of bridges. The flooding allowed a high number of bull sharks to enter the city; many of these were sighted swimming through a number of major streets. In the aftermath there was much criticism, pointing out that land management and flood defence was dangerously inadequate. While building work continued soon afterwards and the city began to expand at a tremendous pace once more, many people pointed out that key parts of the infrastructure should receive attention first, alongside the implementation of reforestation projects, to compensate for the rapid deforestation that has occurred in recent years. To date, however, these issues remain unsolved. Our Version of Events With another day spare to spend in Brisbane we decided to go spend some of it underground again. Grabbing a few Victoria Bitters for the journey, we travelled up met with Darkday at Kangaroo Point; a very Australian sounding place that’s a popular climbing spot. As it turned out, Dangered and Deranged were keen to meet up once more too, so we met up with the entire gang from the previous day. Half an hour or so later, we were all standing inside a large concrete pipe with the roaches, cracking open a few bevvies everyone had brought along for good measure. Once again it was like a sauna, so a cold one went down quite well. For some reason though, this drain was a little steamy at the beginning and the lens refused to clear, so my first set of shots probably aren’t as good as they could have been. On the upside, this drain didn’t have much water in it at this point, so walking was easy-going. Further on, as the pipe opened up into a larger tunnel the steamy situation got a little less steamy, so taking photos became easier. As with the other drains we’d explored, this one was teeming with wildlife. This one perhaps had the most spiders in it compared to the others - big fuckers too! A little way down the large tunnel, one was strategically positioned above one of the arches where there’s a split leading into two individual passageways: that was probably one of the largest I’ve seen yet. At first I was surprised to find so many down here, having been told that this drain was tidal, but it became apparent later on that only the very end is tidal; judging by the gunge coating the brickwork down there. After the drain splits, we found ourselves following a winding passage. The other tunnel runs adjacent and is linked occasionally by several smaller passages. Eventually it leads to some of the older brickwork, which made a nice change from the darker concrete. At this point things got a lot muddier and much more slippery. It was clear that the water enters this section quite regularly. Nevertheless, we’d timed it just right and the tide was at its lowest point, so we didn’t get too wet. In spite of timings, however, and watching the weather forecast prior to going underground, we briefly experienced what happens when it suddenly rains in Australia and you happen to find yourself underground. As some of the others were climbing out, I stayed behind with Dangered to take a few more shots. At this point, and much to our surprise, it began raining – which didn’t seem like much at the time. Several moments later the pipe behind me started gushing with water, so we decided to hit legs, as we say up north, and make a hasty exit. We left just at the right time it would seem, since there was a heavy downpour just after we returned to the cars. It just goes to show that the spontaneous downpours actually do occur in Australia, often with little warning… Explored with Ford Mayhem, Darkday, Deranged and Dangered. *We want to offer a quick thanks to all those who took the time to come and meet us while we were touring around Brisbane. It was great to meet you all, hear some of your stories, and experience the exploring scene on the opposite side of the world. 1: 2: 3: 4: 5: 6: 7: 8: 9: 10: 11: 12: 13: 14: 15: 16: 17: 18: 19:
  13. A very interesting house but unfortunately in very bad shape. 1 2 3 4 5
  14. A small house with some furniture. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
  15. My first contribution on this forum. An abandoned countryside manor somewhere in the north of my home country, Portugal. Hope you like it #1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7 #8 #9 #10 #11 #12 #13 #14 #15 #16 #17 #18 #19 #20 #21
  16. How to post a report using Flickr Flickr seems to change every time the wind changes direction so here's a quick guide on how to use it to post a report... Step 1 - Explore and take pictures Step 2 - Upload your chosen pictures to Flickr like this.. Step 3 - Once your images are successfully uploaded to flickr choose a category for the location that you have visited... Step 4 - Then "Start New Topic".. You will then see this screen... Step 5 - Now you are ready to add the image "links", known as "BBcodes", which allow your images to display correctly on forums.. Step 6 - Then click "select" followed by "view on photo page".. Now select "Share" shown below.. Step 7-13 - You will then see this screen... Just repeat those steps for each image until you're happy with your report and click "submit topic"! You can edit your report for 24 hours after posting to correct errors. If you notice a mistake outside of this window contact a moderator and they will happily rectify the problem for you
  17. Galaxy Soho is a huge office and retail space designed by world renowned architect Zaha Hadid, known for her outlandish constructions. It opened in 2012 and received a RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) international prize for it's outstanding architecture. However construction involved the demolition of some of Beijing's ancient hutongs so there was controversy over the effect of the project on Beijing's heritage. Having seen a couple of pictures online I fancied a look at this but never anticipated on making it up the roof. I found an open door and strolled in like I was meant to be there although much of the complex is still empty so I stood out like a sore thumb, not to mention the fact I was clearly a foreigner. I took a lift up to the top and found the emergency stairs but as soon as I opened the door I saw a security jacket only a few metres away from me coming my way. I managed to find somewhere to hide as he walked past and found a way out onto the balcony courtesy of a cleaner sweeping up out there. I ran round quickly and grabbed a few snaps before he eventually clocked me and started having a go at me in Chinese, then a woman appeared and started saying her piece as well although she seemed to find it all quite amusing. I played dumb and responded in English with lots of 'I'm just taking photos' type comments and they eventually gave up. Anyway, I didn't want to push my luck so a couple more pics and I was on my way. Anyway, pictures: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. Thanks for looking
  18. History Caringbah High School, which was split over two campuses, opened in 1960, in the Sutherland Shire of Sydney. Originally only the Southern Campus; the site that this report is based on, existed, but a second northern campus was constructed a few years later to cater for an increasing student population. Both sites were linked by a covered walkway that took five minutes to cross. After the redevelopment the southern site became the main administrative building, and also housed the music, technology and applied science classrooms. All other classes were located on the northern campus. Caringbah was well known for being a high achieving school and every year – on average – eleven students would achieve 99+, twenty three would achieve 98+, and forty eight 95+. Over 98% of all students would go on to attend university. In view of its success, it later became a selective school in 1989, after being nominated by local authorities. In 2007 it was discovered that the southern site’s foundations were constructed on unstable clay. Subsequently, a project to consolidate all of the school’s facilities commenced later that year. By 2010, only the northern site remained, and the southern campus soon attracted the mad and the bad. It wasn’t long before the southern campus was heavily vandalised and subject to a number of arson attacks. In 2012, in one of the worst instances, the former school hall was destroyed. Several other fires have occurred throughout the remaining buildings since then. One of the unique features of the school is that it has attempted to utilise some of the former site, such as the areas where the covered walkway once existed. In this space students and staff have begun to create an Outdoor Learning Centre inside a large pod. The central pod has five smaller ones attached and inside some of these students can engage in bush tucker activities, xeriscaping and meditation. The school has also developed a ‘regeneration area’ on the former driveway that allowed teacher’s to drive between campuses. In this space pre-European plant life has been reintroduced, to increase knowledge about biodiversity and attract indigenous wildlife. Our Version of Events After our first day in Sydney proved to be a little disappointing in terms of the exploration we got done we endeavoured to do little bit more research the early the next day, in search of more ‘abandos’ ripe for the picking, and then made use of our Opal cards to get to them. Looking much like the other tourists around us, we blended in nicely. However, after arriving at our first site of the day we soon discovered that it was heavily graffitied and halfway through being demolished. It wasn’t a good start, but we continued on our journey to Caringbah High School anyway. The next hiccup… we managed to miss the station we were supposed to get off at and ended up at the end of the line, where we promptly walked off the train and straight onto one that would take us back up the line. That’s what happens when you start to drink a couple of bevvies in the middle of the day! An hour later than expected we arrived outside the former gates of the school. Needless to say, it looked shit. Once again, like every other one we’d seen so far, this abandoned building was covered head to toe in graff; the shit pubescent sort of scrawl, not the fine artwork we’re used to seeing across Sheffield. Nevertheless, rather than turn around and head for the next explore, we decided to get out of the sun for a wee while and take a look around. Inside, the building is just as fucked as it looks from the exterior. There was graff absolutely everywhere, even in the places you’d imagine it would be impossible to etch a marking. This too, like the other building we’d visited earlier that day, seemed to be in the middle of being demolished. As a result, most of the first building we entered was entirely stripped. We were shocked then when we passed through the second block and actually found physical remnants that proved this building was indeed a former educational facility. We spent a bit more time wandering through the few remaining classrooms, imagining how shit it probably was sitting indoors in the heat we were experiencing. By now we were getting a little more used to the idea that dangerous creatures (i.e. spiders) wander the corridors, and every other place imaginable, in Australia, so compared to our last explore we were a lot more chilled. Having said that, we had had a beer… Explored with Ford Mayhem. 1: Caringbah High School 2: Caringbah High School 3: Storage Room 4: Old Photographs and Documentation 5: Old Storage Cupboards and More Photographs 6: Wooden Dummy 7: The Jonathan Hughes Memorial Shitter (Thought Hamtagger would appreciate this one) 8: Classic High School Toilets 9: Locker Problems 10: Science Focus 11: Classroom in the Site Being Demolished 12: Corridors Blocked by Lockers 13: Surviving Classroom 14: Classroom 2 15: Classroom 3 16: Classroom 4 17: Classroom 5 18: Former Administration Office 19: Let's Learn Japanese 20: Music Class 21: Main Corridor 22: Healthy Eating Promotion Poster 23: Larger Corridor in Site Being Demolished 24: Take in the Graff 25: Main Staircase
  19. History “We need to clean out the crime – we want the evil spirit out of this community… Whether they like it or not, this is going to happen. A lot of people will complain. They’ve been here a long time, but it’s time for a change” Mick Mundine, chief executive of AHC. The Block is a colloquial name given to a well-known suburban area of Sydney, Australia. The area, which is located across Redfern on the border of Darlington, was slowly purchased one building at a time by the Aboriginal Housing Company (AHC), to provide affordable housing for disadvantaged Aboriginals. As the project expanded it became well known that the main hub of life in The Block could be found on Eveleigh Street, near Redfern train station. Nevertheless, by the early 70s white landlords of the area launched a campaign to evict all Aboriginal residents, as The Block had begun to adopt a prejudicial reputation for crime, violence and unruly behaviour. In spite of this, the area was, and still is to a certain extent, recognised as being a spiritual home inside the city of Sidney by those who lived there. By 2004, The Block had deteriorated dramatically; both residents and the police were known for their questionable behaviours and diplomacies. With heightened tension between both parties, a riot broke out on February 15th, after an Aboriginal teenager named Thomas ‘T.G.’ Hickey died following a police chase. It was reported that the boy was pursued whilst riding his bicycle, and this led to him being impaled on a 2.5 metre fence which caused penetrative injuries to the neck and chest. Onlookers claimed that a police car clipped Hickey’s bike, propelling him onto the fence. Afterwards, the police denied all such allegations, but admitted that they had located the wrong individual, even though there was an outstanding warrant for Hickey’s arrest. On the evening of the 15th a number of Aboriginal youths from Sydney gathered in the Redfern area, and when police arrived the scene turned violent. Various objects were thrown, including bottles, bricks, fireworks and Molotov cocktails. Wheelie bins from nearby houses were also loaded with paving slabs and bottles, and rolled out onto the street before the full scale riot broke out to provide ammunition for the impending attack. During the riot the train station was set alight briefly, although it suffered only superficial damage, and the fire brigade were forced to use their water hoses in an attempt to disperse the crowd. Over forty police officers were injured during the revolt, and a further eight were hospitalised. After the riots only 15 habitable homes remained. Many white colonial Australians apparently argued that the police were too timid in their suppression of the riot, for fear that they might be accused of racism; hence why so many were injured. One observer even went so far as to suggest that “they are worse than terrorists because of their savage behaviour and attitude towards white Australians. Aboriginals seem to believe the world owes them a living and they are out to collect”. In the aftermath, media across Sydney suggested that the Aboriginal leadership hailed the riot as a success. It was reported that 150 Aboriginal residents amassed the next day, in Pemulwuy Park, to hear their leader, Lyall Munro, urge further violence and destruction. Munro is alleged to have addressed residents of The Block using a megaphone, declaring that “the streets were taken by our young people and we are all proud”. Munro finished, allegedly, with the declaration: “if Palestinian kids can fight war tanks with sling shots, our kids can do the same”. Six years later, in September 2010, the remaining 74 residents of The Block were handed eviction notices and ordered to find new accommodation by the end of November; when the bulldozers were due to arrive. The local authorities claimed that the decision to gradually brick-up and demolish the ghetto transpired in wake of the continued heroin use and increasing levels of violence in the area. To replace the dilapidated neighbourhood, the AHC launched the Pemulwuy Project, which derives its name from a famous Aboriginal warrior, which set out to construct 62 new homes. Indigenous residents would be invited to return upon completion. Unfortunately, however, while the area was due to be fully redeveloped by 2013 it is now almost 2016 and no such plans have been fulfilled. Our Version of Events Having just arrived in Sydney, not quite sure where to go or what there was to see, myself and Ford Mayhem set off into some of the smaller suburbs surrounding the CBD. We were keen to see some of the less touristy scenes within the city. After a short train journey and several minutes aimless drifting, we arrived outside a dilapidated looking residential area. Form the outside, judging by the state of the buildings and the shit graff scrawled all over them, we guessed that what we’d found was likely just an empty derp – or an ‘abando’ as they apparently call them here. We weren’t far off, and our first explore was a little disappointing; although we were very conscious of Australia’s dark and deadly creatures, so our senses were quite heightened. This made it an awful lot more interesting – psychologically speaking. At the time though we were oblivious to the fact that the ghetto we’d found ourselves in was a notorious site of violence, and that its past was famous across Australia. Only after doing a little research did we discover what you’ve, hopefully, just read above. We didn’t hang about inside the buildings too long, given that there were many, many cobwebs. In the knowledge that Steve Irwin was killed by deadly Aussie wildlife (the man who’s had an anti-whaling vessel, a road, a wildlife reserve, a turtle and a snail named after him because he was a bit of a legend when it came to surviving close encounters with killer creatures), and without David Attenborough around to tell us what not to touch, we made a hasty exit. Thankfully, the only thing to challenge us to a battle was a mosquito. But we left, victorious. As for the explore itself, we’ve still not worked out what the building next-door to the residential houses was – it reminded me of something you’d find in the TV series, Misfits. Explored with Ford Mayhem. 1: The Remains of Eveleigh Street 2: The Aboriginal Flag 3: Inside one of the Ruined Houses 4: The Bathroom 5: The Downstairs Corridor and Front Door 6: Spiral Staircase 7: The Kitchen 8: Stair Shot 9: Upstairs 10: Misfits Scene 11: In the Hood 12: Upstairs 13: Large Guttering
  20. This home belonged to the Viscounts of Vila Verde in Portugal and is believed to be abandoned since de 80's. Enjoy the video =) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rnQqVlQDmU
  21. Arriving in the centre of Belval in Luxembourg, one can not help but look up at the huge blast furnaces which dominate the skyline. Ultra-modern high-rises and new-builds butted up against these giants are dwarfed. Looking at the building site at the base, we glance at each other.... "We NEED to go up there!" we agree. The Blast Furnaces - Image stolen from Google. We park up the car, check in at the Ibis, then head to some Buffalo place for a good helping of meat and a few beers while it got dark. Following a brief squabble about the size of the tip we head back outside and behold the monstrous marvels illuminated in the night sky and head straight for them! The steel works has long closed, but the Belval Blast Furnaces have not only been retained, but have been fully restored, coated with pretty paint and made into a visitor attraction. The new buildings at the base, presumably a visitor centre, were nearing completion and the towers will soon be open to the public. Mid-restoration as seen on Google Streetview: Being explorers, we weren't prepared to wait for the towers to open, or to pay for a guided tour during the day! We venture into the building site to check out the bottom of the furnace towers and discover the only way up is through the new buildings. Luckily we soon find our way to the roof where the 80 metre twisting and winding staircase begins. Being careful to stay out of the lights that illuminate the structure we make our way to the top. This unplanned adventure with with Proj3ct M4yh3m turned out to be a highlight of the trip. I'd opted to take my 24-105mm lens, whereas Mr Mayhem went for the 16-35mm wide angle. I kind of regretted not taking my wide angle, but should make for an interesting variation in shots. The lights in the old industrial structure provided some fantastic opportunities for shots and the view over the other blast furnace was amazing. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.
  22. Resembling a UFO perched high on a peak of the Balkan Mountains, the House of the Bulgarian Communist Party was a built as a monument to commemorate the founding of the Bulgarian Social Democratic Party. After a quarter of a century of abandonment the monument has been stripped and looted. In 1891 the Turks were being expelled from Bulgaria marking the end of 500 years of Ottoman Rule in the country. A secret meeting took place on the peak of Buzludzha mountain led by Dimitar Blagoev. The meeting would ultimately lay down the foundations for what would become the Bulgarian Communist Party. 90 years later the BCP built their headquarters as a monument at that very location. Sunrise at Buzludzha Mountain Taking seven years to construct, and costing over 16 million Bulgarian Levs (almost £7 million), mainly collected from the Bulgarian people by the state, the monument stands at 107-metres-high and features a huge flying-saucer shaped auditorium. The building itself was designed by Georgi Stoilov and more than 60 artists worked on the designs for extensive tiled murals that adorn the interior. The giant tower features a red Soviet star on each side – three times larger than the Soviet star at the Kremlin. The front of the building was inscribed with verses from “The International†and “The Worker’s March†– political songs that were meaningful in the communist era. Inside featured many marble surfaces, and the staircases were decorated with red cathedral glass. The 15-metre-high main hall was decorated with a 500 sq. metre mosaic featuring portraits of prominent communist figures Marx, Engels, Lenin and the Bulgarian communist leader Todor Zhivkov. The dome ceiling was covered with thirty tones of copper. The centrepiece of the ceiling features a hammer and sickle. The words surrounding the image read “The proletariats of every country join togetherâ€. Many other phrases are written around the building, some original and many more added post abandonment. Many years ago the slogan “forget your past†was painted in graffiti above the front doors. The word “never†has recently been added preceding the original words. The site was widely regarded as one of the greatest icons of the communist world at the time. The end of the communist era in Bulgaria in 1989 saw a change in attitudes towards the many monuments throughout the land, and ownership of the monument at Buzludzha was transferred to the state from the Bulgarian Communist Party in 1991. The state promptly closed the building, just 10 years after its construction and the site has been abandoned ever since. 24 years on, the building has been stripped bare and looters have taken everything of value. In the wintertime the whole structure fills with snow and takes on a post-apocalyptic appearance. But despite this the monument remains as a prominent landmark, a testament to the 6,000 workers who constructed it. Whether the Bulgarians like it or not, this communist-era legacy stands proud. Verses from political songs on the front of the building All the walls were covered with murals, but most were hidden by snow View from the 107m high tower Inside the star on the tower Star trail Capturing the movement of the stars in the background over a 1 hour period
  23. Hello once again! I'm used to write texts with much more details about location shared but here I don't know If It's be possible for me because of the language;) But I wanna show you my favourite place ever and say some words about it. It's an abandoned steel works in Nyzhnij Tagil, Sverdlovsk region. The first blast furnace here was started in 1725. It provided the whole cycle of metal smelting and was the largest company of the famous Demidovs' family. The smelting process was carried out in the blast furnaces the walls of which were quickly burnt through and had to be repared frequently. The factory was rebuilt many times but you can still find the original foundaments of the oldest furnaces here. Besides the furnaces there were a brick manufacture and a sawmill here. Over a long period many progressive technologies were used here. During the Second World War they produced ferrochromium and ferromanganese in need of aviation. But nothing's eternal, and technology didn't need big furnaces to make big amount of metal. In 1987 it was stopped. It was turned into a museum. But there's a great problem in Russia, and its name is lack of money. Nobody cares about historical places being demolished because nobody has money to help. Now the factory stays derilict without any protection. The top height is about 40-50 metres. You can climb the top without any fear, although the metal sheets are very old. But they were made to serve for centuries. It's not only the gigant of the epoch. The shops were not only convinient but had aesthetic beauty. A runabout from the blast-furnace shop. Look at me and compare the scale. The factory has its own dam which is still working. You have to spend some says to watch everything here. I feel like at home here. I admire industry, and metallurgy is the Queen of industry obviously! And some photos from my previous trip. It's a stand for a copper in which melted metal was cooled. Thank you for attention and sorry for so many photos! But I can't delete some of them from the post because impression won't be full! Have a good weekend!
  24. Dongzhimen is Asia’s largest transportation hub, connecting 3 subway lines, buses, the airport express, and the Second Ring Road. The Guoson Centre aimed to take advantage of this with a 600,000 square metre space including a transport interchange, retail mall, five-star luxury hotel, two office towers and residential apartments. However a long term equity dispute lasting 7 years has meant the complex remains unfinished and accumulating debts. The exteriors of the buildings look all but finished from a distance but they are just empty shells. I visited here with a couple of friends on my recent holiday with the intention of scaling one of the abandoned 35 storey twin towers. Unfortunately we were spotted by a nosey neighbour who shouted for security so we had to make do with one of the smaller buildings in the complex instead. Still, at 20 storeys high the views were pretty decent and it was nice to look down on somewhere a bit different from London. There are much bigger skyscrapers than this under construction but I am told they have workers on site 24 hours a day. The unfinished mall was just concrete floors and pillars, I didn't bother getting my camera out as it was dark but I reckon it would definitely be worth a daytime visit as it's pretty huge. The amount of unfinished construction projects in China is astounding, apparently it's quite common there to build the shells of buildings and forget about them for a few years. It's certainly a fast developing country. 1. 2. My first chance to have a play with my new fish eye up high 3. 4. 5. 6. Working through the night 7. 8. 9. Part of the unfinished mall is visible in the bottom left of the shot 10. 11. The abandoned twin towers 12. 13. Raffles City, a roaring success of a similar complex down the road 14. Totally staged 'looking hard and covering my identity' UE selfie Thanks for looking
  25. Part 1. The opportunity arose to visit a friend of mine living in Beijing and it didn't take long for this place to crop up in conversation. He'd heard rumours of people being allowed to walk freely through the site before but this wasn't the case when he'd tried. Security had apparently been stepped up massively so we opted for a more sneaky approach. We made our entrance at the north end of the site where the 4 huge blast furnaces were situated. Once inside we found much more activity on site than we had expected; people on bicycles, people with dogs, cars driving around, parked cars, construction vehicles, it certainly hadn't been deserted by any stretch of the imagination and it was difficult for three of us to remain unseen for long. Many of the buildings were well sealed but we found our way inside a few of them. It's an amazing site, to think that we barely scratched the surface is just crazy. I would guess that we only covered about 5% of the whole site, if that. I've made a long report for this one as it's not somewhere you see every day, I hope you've got a spare 10 minutes to kill! History Shougang Company Ltd steelworks (also known as Capital Steel) began operations in 1919 as a small pig iron plant which eventually expanded to cover a 700 hectare area. It became the largest producer of steel in Northern China. At its peak there were 200,000 workers and an annual output of 10 million tons. The plant had its own apartment complexes, dining halls, schools, hospitals, public bathhouses, cinemas, temples, even a newspaper – Shougang Daily, which regaled readers with stories of steel output in its triumphalist headlines. For many years Shougang’s steel fed the capital’s economy, and virtually the entire district that surrounded the factory. In 2001, when Beijing was awarded the hosting rights for the 2008 Olympic Games, public concerns emerged about the level of Shougang's pollution, it's water usage (the mill required 50 million cubic meters of water annually to run), and their effect on quality of life in the area. A reputation as an industrial centre was no longer something to be proud of and by 2008 much of the plant had shut down. The city was undergoing refurbishment and industry was being moved out. On December 21st 2010, all production ceased and the state-owned company was officially relocated to Caofeidian, Hebei Province. Today works are being carried out to transform Shougang into the “Central Recreational District”. According to the plan, Shougang's old site will blend in with Beijing's urban development retaining many of the plant's original features to honour the legacy of Shougang's long lasting impact on the steel industry. A similar project was carried out in Beijing’s 798 art district with much success. Onto the pictures. 1. These were the first structures we came to, at the top of this road we could see diggers moving around so were already wary of being seen 2. 3. We got up to the silos but felt quite exposed so didn't hang around long 4. 5. We had a hunch there was somebody inside this building, not long later we bumped into a worker next to it who told us we shouldn't be here because there was a danger something might fall on our heads. He didn't seem that bothered though so we said goodbye and moved on. 6. 7. As we reached this empty pool we heard voices just a few metres away and had to hide. Luckily nobody came. 8. This building was situated right next to the pool. It didn't look like much from the outside but there were some nice control panels inside it. 9. 10. The blackboard in the corner had ‘Goodbye Shougang’ written on it 11. 12. 13. Back outside we headed across the undergrowth under a maze of conveyors, the blue one must be the longest I've ever seen. 14. Unfortunately we couldn't find a way inside the conveyors which was a shame as the blue one led straight up to the top of one of the blast furnaces. 15. This long red structure was some kind of train shed 16. As we were passing through it we spotted a man with two dogs outside so had to hide again 17. We started heading towards the larger structures, as we got close to this one we spotted two shiny vehicles parked underneath it so we turned back. 18. At this point all we could hear were lots of big dogs barking and it seemed to get louder the closer we got towards the blast furnaces. 19. It was becoming apparent how huge these furnaces were. 20. As we poked our heads around a corner we were able to take in the sheer size of these bad boys for the first time. Unfortunately there were two workers with dogs tied up in-between us and the furnace. We decided to approach them in case they might let us wander past without a care. They were very friendly but told us to head around the other side and not to try passing the dogs. Again they didn't seem all too bothered about us being there though so we felt a little more relaxed at this point. 21. The dogs weren't quite as friendly as their owners I should add. Look at that beast of a furnace though! By the way this was the smallest one out of the four. 22. 23. Around the other side the furnace was protected by barbed wire topped fences, we should have gone for it there and then but we continued further to look for an easier way in. 24. This way in looked pretty good 25. 26. However there were several vehicles milling about around here and within a few seconds we'd been busted by security. They weren't best happy with us to begin with but after offering them some cigarettes and my friend playing dumb to the fact we weren't allowed to be in there they chilled out a bit. 27. I took a couple of snaps of our surroundings before another vehicle arrived to escort us off site. 28. 29. We were driven the whole length of the site on our way out, it was absolutely huge, as big as a small town. 30. We also caught a glimpse of the larger blast furnaces which made me want to come back and see more.....
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