I’ll Send You A Postcard

A comparison between Budludzha monument in Bulgaria as pictured in 1970’s publications and its abandoned state in 2015. The Getty Foundation’s investment of $185,000 in July 2019 to support the creation of a conservation and management plan for the monument hopes to reverse its sharp decline.

Black Palace

“Black Palace” (Damnak Sla Khmao) was a little summer palace of King Sihanouk, abandoned sometime in the late 1960’s or early 1970’s. It’s located on Bokor Hill Station in southern Cambodia. The “Palace” itself is not on a grand scale, but the overall spectacular location and many outer buildings must have been fairly impressive in its day.

The hill station was built as a resort by colonial French settlers as an escape from the heat, humidity and general insalubrity of Phnom Penh. Nine hundred lives were lost in the nine months during the construction of the resort in this remote mountain location.

The centrepiece of the resort was the grand Bokor Palace Hotel (which has never been a casino) inaugurated in 1925. See previous video- “Casino Rouge”. It was used as the location for the final showdown of the excellent Matt Dillon 2002 movie, “City Of Ghosts”.

Bokor Hill was abandoned first by the French in late 1940s, during the First Indochina War, because of local insurrections guided by the Khmer Issarak. It was only in 1962, for the reopening of the “Cité du Bokor”, that a casino was established in the new hotels near the lake, (Hotels Sangkum and Kiri). Some buildings were added at this time: an annex for the palace, the mayor’s office and a strange mushroomed concrete parasol.

The Bokor mountain was abandoned again in 1972, as Khmer Rouge took over the area. During the Vietnamese invasion in 1979, Khmer Rouge entrenched themselves and held on tightly for months. In the 1990s Bokor Hill was still one of the last strongholds of Khmer Rouge.

Casino Rouge

Exploring the ruin of the French colonial era Bokor Casino Hotel in Cambodia recently. The Casino was fought over by the invading/liberating Vietnamese army and the murderous Khmer Rouge from 1979 onwards. Due to it’s strategic place and size on Bokor plateau it was invaluable to either side to gain an advantage over the other. In recent years it has been cleaned up and somewhat structurally improved- unfortunately removing most of its neglected charm, tragedy and history in the process.

Church : Time

Exploring the abandoned former French colonial era church on Bokor Mountain in Cambodia recently. In 1978 the Vietnamese invaded Cambodia, toppling the murderous Khmer Rouge in a matter of weeks. There was however a stalemate for a time on Bokor (and other locations) as the Vietnamese and the Khmer Rouge battled it out- fighting between the church and nearby casino. In recent years the church has had occasional use- it’s first in nearly four decades. “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen…”

The Ghost Tower

GT1The Sathorn Unique (aka the Ghost Tower) is a 185 meter 49 story unfinished skyscaper in downtown Bangkok near the Chao Phraya river. The proposed luxury condominium tower was designed and developed by prominent architect and real estate developer Rangsan Torsuwan. By 1997 construction was estimated to be 80–90 percent complete when the Asian financial crisis hit. Bangkok’s real estate market collapsed, and the finance companies that had funded the project went bankrupt and were subsequently liquidated. Building construction projects across the city came to a halt and Bangkok was left with over 300 unfinished high-rise projects. However since then most of these buildings have been completed as the economy recovered- but the Sathorn Unique remains a ghost tower…GT2

There are numerous urban legends and superstitions regarding the Sathorn held by people in the nearby community and Bangkok in general. Some believe the building was doomed from the beginning as the land upon which it sits is a former graveyard. Others believe that due to the Sathorn Unique’s shadow falling over the neighboring Wat Yan Nawa, that this brings it bad luck, resulting in its failed completion. After almost two decades and no completion in sight, perhaps there is something to these superstitions after all.GT3

Over the years the Sathorn has become known a bit of an urban exploration mecca, so late last year while in Bangkok we thought we’d pay it a visit. Despite being officially off-limits to the public, access reportedly could be gained by finding your own way in- or bribing a security guard to let you in- we preferred the former. We found the building easily enough, you just have to look up. Unfortunately our timing couldn’t have been worse and was only out by a month or two, as the surrounding fence had been rebuilt and reinforced and certain security guards sacked- no one can enter now (unless your Spiderman) no matter what bribe is offered.GT5

This appears to have occurred due to a number of factors; the increased popularity of the tower, the number of photos, videos and articles popping up on line- and the death of a tourist. In December 2014 the body of a Swedish man was found hanging on the 43rd floor. The cause of death was determined to be suicide, though the news prompted discussion regarding the safety and security of the building. Then in September 2015, Sathorn Unique Co. made known they had filed criminal charges of trespassing against five people who had posted material on the Web, including a pair of tourists who had created a video of themselves freerunning on the tower. They said that this was done in order to set an example and deter people from climbing the building. They added that the number of people illegally entering the premises had risen sharply during the past year, following an increase in online exposure, with over a hundred people entering on some weekends.GT4

So at present the Ghost Tower seems to have been finally left for the ghosts to accommodate- but perhaps the future will offer opportunities for a return of the living…

 

Nokor

Not your usual urbex video, but exploring ruins nonetheless. This is the strange fusion temple complex of Banteay Prey Nokor in Cambodia that we visited late last year. Situated in countryside near the town of Kompong Cham, the original 11th century Mahayana Buddhist shrine has been added onto over the centuries and incorporated into a bewildering and sprawling complex of wat’s and stupa’s. Apart from a security guard and a couple of monks we had the place to ourselves. More to come from Cambodia soon…

Anatomy Class

The teacher in this Bulgarian classroom clearly wanted her/his students to fully know their surroundings and themselves. Anti-fascist partisan artwork was still on display well beyond the fall of communism from 1987, and about a decade later took on a state of suspended animation with the closure of this village school.

New Zealand’s Island Fortress

Another victim of the earthquakes, this historic wartime island was once used as a quarantine station, Maori fortification and a defence against Russian attacks.

On arrival and after a short swim across to the island we navigated our way up the steep barbed wire bank. Once inside the fort we were met by a beautifully designed historic fort which included a labyrinth of tunnels with torpedo and mine stores. The two disappearing guns on the fort were completed in 1895 and were never actually used to fire a shot in their years as part of the island fortification.

We hope they can restore this unique part of New Zealand’s history once again for visitors to appreciate it.

 

Kingdom’s gone!

This derelict and forgotten film set was never actually used for filming as the movie was mothballed after running out of money. The set still stands waiting for its film crew and producers to perhaps one day return.

Exploring this abandoned movie set in the middle of rural New Zealand countryside was quite the experience, as we wandered through the film set which was designed to look more like Jerusalem than New Zealand it felt like we were entering some kind of cartoon world. Everywhere we ventured was artificial and built by film set designers, from the walls and floors to the odd props and building materials that were left lying around and never used.

 

The Mansion

Built out of New Zealand native kauri wood in 1899 and the largest structure in New Zealand around in its time, this grand mansion is slated for demolition following extensive earthquake damage.

The mansion was built lavishly both inside and out for a Scottish immigrant Allan McLean, and its beauty is resounding even in its currently dilapidated state. McLean donated his mansion to women’s education upon his death, a worthy cause – we hope McLean’s can eventually be restored and not demolished.

Exploring one of Christchurch’s last grand mansions still standing brought emotions of amazement and sadness as we looked around its unique beauty and its so-far-decided future, demolition.

 

 

 

Hospital springs

Built in 1916 and located in the heart of the town and next door to the town’s biggest attraction, this old hospital has sat abandoned since 2003.

There is a large amount of decay throughout the derelict hospital which used to treat patients with hydrotherapy, with water leaks and peeling wall paper at every corner.

The hospital is of great historic value to New Zealand and we hope it can eventually be restored to some other purpose.

North Korea in New Zealand

The information I had surrounding this location sounded almost mythological, an abandoned North Korean prison movie set in Queenstown?

Since access to the mountain had been closed for the last five years, I had to go in the hard way, straight up the sheer face of the mountain! A few cuts and bruises later navigating dense bush, deer and goat I finally reached the top.

What greeted me felt so out of place, an old North Korean prison surrounding by beautiful Queenstown scenery, Awesome!

North Korea Prison SetNorth Korea Prison Set
North Korea Prison SetNorth Korea Prison Set

North Korea Prison Set
North Korea Prison SetNorth Korea Prison SetNorth Korea Prison SetNorth Korea Prison Set

North Korea Prison Set

North Korea Prison Set

North Korea Prison SetNorth Korea Prison Set

The Old Marine Zoo

Marine land was a marine mammal park that opened in 1965 and closed in 2009 with some of the animals being relocated and some staying on until they could be rehomed.

It was once home to a number of species including Californian sea lions, leopard seals, penguins, bottlenose dolphins and otters.

Throughout it’s years the park played hosts to big crowds until its decline where the longtime manager of the park resigned in 2009 after allegations of falsifying the documents that allowed them to keep fur seal pups.

This explore was very heavy on the senses, a strong odour of fish and a panicked visit to the park due to an alarm and incoming security arriving. The zoo was once extremely secure for good reason, with 24/7 cctv to protect the animals as numerous break-ins had happened in the past including some vandals who fed a dolphin nails!

Enjoy the pictures.

Horrors of the elderly

This explore went unexpectedly smooth and what every urban explorer hopes for – easy entry, no interruptions and a location that was full of memories of the past which offered a small glimpse into what went on at this now abandoned rest home hospital for the elderly.

Soon into the explore, I came across scenes akin to a horror movie, grey hairs still sat next to the ‘saloon’ of the old rest home, wheelchairs and toilet seats everywhere and possession’s lying around – even a nurses dress hanging up, sitting idle exactly how they were the day the hospital was closed.

 

 

Cathedral

Images of the exterior of Christchurch Cathedral from a couple of months ago. The Cathedral was badly damaged in the February 22nd 2011 earthquake (and other aftershocks) that devastated New Zealand’s third largest city. It’s a surreal experience, the centre around Cathedral Square is mostly unrecognizable, apart from the iconic Christchurch Cathedral.

The Anglican Cathedral was built between 1864 and 1904 in the centre of the city, surrounded by Cathedral Square. It became the cathedral seat of the Bishop of Christchurch in the New Zealand tikanga of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia.

Repeated earthquakes have damaged the building (mostly the spire) in the course of its history: in 1881, 1888, 1901, 1922, and September 2010. The February 2011 Christchurch earthquake destroyed the spire and part of the tower, and severely damaged the structure of the remaining building. The remainder of the tower was demolished in March 2012. The west wall suffered collapses in the June 2011 earthquake and the December 2011 quake due to a steel structure – intended to stabilize the rose window – pushing it in.

The Anglican Church has decided to demolish the building and replace it with a new structure – a decision which has become controversial in post-quake Christchurch. Various groups have opposed the Church’s intentions, with actions including taking a case to court. As of January 2015 the judgements have mostly been in favour of the Church, with one more judgement pending. No demolition has occurred since the removal of the tower in early 2012.

There has been opposition to demolition, with heritage groups including the UNESCO World Heritage Centre opposing the action. A local character, the Wizard of New Zealand, made protests calling for the cathedral to be saved. Kit Miyamoto, an American-based structural engineer and expert in earthquake rebuilding, inspected the cathedral after the September 2010 quake. He cited his experience in stating that restoring and strengthening of the building was both “feasible and affordable”.

In April 2012, a group of engineers from the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering launched a petition seeking support of 100 colleagues to stop the demolition. They claimed that legal action was also a possibility. In the same month the Restore Christchurch Cathedral Group was formed and sought signatures for a petition to save the cathedral.

Abandoned Polytechnic

Sitting unused and idle for the last 14 years after closing in 2001 and sitting next to an active military base, this old polytech has been a joy to explore and take photos.

Throughout our many visits to this location over the years we have found ourselves discovering different classrooms and lecture theatres each time, this old polytech used to host courses in dental, engineering, telecommunications and radiation therapy.

Enjoy the photos, this derelict campus has recently been sold by the ministry of education and is about to be redeveloped.

 

Soon to be imploded

Soon to be imploded, this old Police station was built in 1972, it was the 11th tallest building in the city before the earthquakes.

Cautious in our approach and full of excitement and adrenline we found many interesting trinkets of the building’s history as a large police station, it was a miserable place for many throughout the years and seemingly in it’s demolition, due to the large amounts of asbestos removal.

Inside the station we went straight for the roof, wondering what great views of the city we would get, as we walked up the stairways we contemplated the fact there was not much chance of escape if we were greeted by someone at the old station.
Once on the roof we were met by stunning vistas of the city and at one point, the sound of police sirens beneath us – luckily they were responding to another job and not revisiting their old haunt.
Down in the basement we found the cells and huge amounts of old graffiti from inmates, the cells seemed to go on forever like a labyrinth. One of the rooms we found reminded us of a morgue with lots of solid concrete tables and cctv cameras and tv above our heads, we never figured out what that room was.
We hope you enjoy viewing some of the last pictures taken of this place before it’s demolition implosion in the next few days.
Explored in collaboration with http://www.wildboyz-ue.com

Derelict Meat Killing Plant

This plant was closed in 2009 with a large amount of redundancies and has sat vacant ever since with attempts at re purposing the plant failing.

Inside this derelict meat works we found an array of old machinery and relics of a past industry and some incredible, massive old silver lined chillers that felt almost like entering another universe.

Meatworks
Meatworks

Slaughterhouse entrance
Slaughterhouse entrance

Playing with the light
Playing with the light

Presumably where the animals were first brought in to be slaughtered.
Presumably where the animals were first brought in to be slaughtered.

Conveyor belts.
Conveyor belts.

Those meat curtains.
Those meat curtains.

One of the chillers has collapsed.
One of the chillers has collapsed.

Meat board!
Meat board!

The clock used to tick.
The clock has stopped ticking at 5pm, end of the workday.

Offices, left the same as they day they were made redundant.
Offices, left the same as they day they were made redundant.

Old floppy disks
Old floppy disks

Building plans.
Building plans.

Workshop, with a murder chalk scene?
Workshop, with a murder chalk scene?

Control Room
Control Room

More of the Electrical Room
More of the Electrical Room

The Electrical Room
The Electrical Room

Graffiti in the workshop
Graffiti in the workshop

 

Cargill’s Castle

Cargill’s castle is located on a beautiful position overlooking the pacific ocean, it is one of only two castle’s in New Zealand.
Gutted by fire and restored in the 1940’s to be abandoned in ruins till present day this castle is protected by a trust who are trying to fun raise to turn the castle into an attraction, sadly there seems to have been little progress since 2012.

This was a fun little explore and is a well known landmark between locals of Dunedin, the castle used to even have it’s own private access to a beach down a winding staircase, which has now fallen to disrepair, it is rumored the cliffs surrounding have played victim to numerous suicide jumps throughout the years and access to the cliff is now fenced off.

 

Dunedin Abandoned Castle Dunedin Abandoned CastleDunedin Abandoned CastleDunedin Abandoned Castle Dunedin Abandoned CastleDunedin Abandoned Castle Dunedin Abandoned CastleDunedin Abandoned Castle Dunedin Abandoned CastleDunedin Abandoned Castle

‘Devil’s Angles’ Gang House

Urbex Central found this abandoned bar situated in Wellington a couple of years ago, on a recent revisit we noticed the location had been trashed and tagged by the ‘devils angils’. Which were some kind of nazi loving, intimidation gang that can’t spell very well, they were trying to spread hatred with a message they most probably don’t understand themselves.

The explore of this bar was obviously quite intimidating and we kept it brief, the entry to the bar was now rigged up with a rope and some sort of warning system to warn whoever trashed and took over this place that someone was coming.

This has to be one of our most memorable and equally shocking explores of 2015 so far.