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…”

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…

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.

Wellington’s Abandoned Chapel

It has been a long time since urbexcentral visited this beauty, a famous abandoned icon of our city.
While the rest of the buildings fall further into despair the chapel remains mainly untouched, preserved and safe from graffiti for now – let’s hope it stays that way.

 

Cathedral of the damned

Planning a trip to Christchurch and meeting an overseas urbexer named WildBoyz from the United Kingdom was always an exciting prospect, teaming up with an experienced explorer from overseas with a load of locations in England already under his belt! Little did I know how many amazing locations we would end up finding.
Exploring Christchurch was both exciting and emotional, a city I used to come on holiday to, now vastly changed by the devastating earthquake of February 2011.

One of the most breathtaking explores we did on this trip involved coming across this grand cathedral, opened in 1905 it had association with the Vatican and was considered to be the finest renaissance-style building in New Zealand. After the February earthquakes two of the bell towers on the front of the cathedral collapsed and have since been removed and stored in a secret location by the priests, some of the stone blocks that came down have also been removed and numbered for later restoration. The future of the cathedral is unknown and the cosmetic and structural damage of the building is intense, there are plans to demolish the building while leaving some of the facade as a remembrance.

Gunner

Gunner hardly requires an introduction here at Urbex Central. No doubt you’ll be more than familiar with his antics- in particular his dizzying, vertigo inducing videos. Our chief explorer has been very busy this year- very busy indeed… Unfortunately due to a recent rooftopping accident, he’s going to be a bit quieter over the next month or two. Lets hope Gunner recovers well over the holiday period and is back in force in the New Year.

Tunnel 5l

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Tunnel 4 final

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Tunnel 3 final

The Monastery

Aswan, Egypt, Dec 2005: After exploring some ancient tombs on the westbank of the Nile (featured here)- we decided to walk across the open desert to the ruined 7th century monastery of St. Simeon. It didn’t look far, but in the heat and harsh enviroment of the desert, it proved to be a bit more challenging. The Monastery of St Simeon dates back to the 7th century- it survived as a Christian stronghold of southern Egypt up until being sacked by Saladin in 1173 and abandoned. No real thorough archaeological attention has ever been paid to this ancient site. It was examined and published by Grossmann in 1985, and in 1998 by the inspectors of the antiquities- but still very little is known about this ancient monastery fortress.

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Ghost Town

Kayaköy, Turkey, Oct 2005: This was my second visit to Kayaköy, the ghost town near Fetiye in South Western Turkey. Kayaköy consists of hundreds of rundown but still mostly intact Greek-style houses and churches, which orignally hosted a population of approximately 2000 people. Built on the ancient Greek village of Carmylessus, it existed up until the population exchanges of 1922/3. Anatolian Greeks had lived here since antiquity. After the invading Greek’s defeat to Turkey in the Greco-Turkish War (1919-1922), Greece had no choice but to sign the demands of the victorious Turks in Lausanne, Switzerland. More than 1.5 million Asia Minor Greeks were forced out of Turkey, and at least half a million Turkish muslims from Greece.

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