mahabis explore // abandoned spaces
There is a certain beauty and tranquillity of places long abandoned that have been left to nature. Over time and for various reasons, buildings, parks and entire cities have been completely abandoned by people, allowing nature to take over and create serene spaces. Silent, peaceful, and eery - take a look at these abandoned spaces.
gouqi island, china
One of a series of islands that sit within the mouth of China’s Yangtze River, Gouqi Island was once home to a prosperous fishing village that sat upon the cliffs. Over time, the fishermen and their families left the island and moved to the mainland, leaving behind an untouched island that has been slowly enveloped by nature. Entire buildings are now completely shrouded with greenery, which has crept up the walls, over the roofs and inside the houses to turn them almost completely green. The epitome of a lost world, Gouqi Island is a truly tranquil place to visit, a place completely forgotten by humans and left to nature.
Immediately following the nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl, the nearby city of Pripyat was evacuated. The residents left in a hurry, unaware that they would never be allowed to return home, and subsequently the city has become frozen in time from that day in 1986. Organised tours are now permitted, and many visitors flock to witness the rarity of a city that has been completely abandoned and left to nature. Thirty years on from the disaster, buildings are decaying and rusting, and plants and animals have begun to take over. Although visitors are only permitted in organised and approved tours, wandering around the abandoned city evokes a sense of complete silence and peacefulness that is very rarely experienced in urban areas.
spree park, berlin
Located in Planterwald, just north of Treptower Park, Spree Park has been left to nature since the closure of the theme park in 2002. Fenced off from the outside world, rollercoaster cars, swan boats and toppled dinosaurs have been consumed by the natural growth of plants. Walking around the outside of the park, the Ferris wheel can be seen swaying in the wind. Up until 2014, guided tours of the park were available at limited times, allowing the public to observe this place that had once been filled with laughter and screams of joy, and now stands eerily silent. It was also a hot-spot for urban explorers who dared to leap over the fence and explore at their own pace. Spree Park has now been bought by the City of Berlin, and after a fire in the summer of 2014, its future is uncertain and it is near impossible to visit.
Situated deep in the Namib Desert, Kolmanskop is a ghost town that is slowly becoming consumed by the sand itself. The town was founded by German settlers during a diamond rush in the early 1900’s, but was abandoned to nature in the 1950’s and is now sinking into the sand dunes. The sand has seeped its way inside the formally grand buildings and continues to rise. The majority of visitors to Kolmanskop nowadays are photographers seeking to capture this unique destination. Tourists are minimal, and although eerie, the town is a peaceful and silent place to wander around.