Abandoned World

Since post-apocalyptic films, TV series and films as well as abandoned buildings and towns were my starting point for the theme of most of my paintings I figured I’d put together a list of real-life abandoned places across the planet.

Starting with…

Gunkanjima, Japan

Hashima Island, commonly called Gunkanjima (meaning “Battleship Island”) is one among 505 uninhabited islands in the Nagasaki Prefecture about 15 kilometers from Nagasaki itself. The island was populated from 1887 to 1974 as a coal mining facility.

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Mitsubishi bought the island in 1890 and began the project, the aim of which was retrieving coal from the bottom of the sea. They built Japan’s first large concrete building, a block of apartments in 1916 to accommodate their burgeoning ranks of workers (many of whom were forcibly recruited labourers from other parts of Asia), and to protect against typhoon destruction.

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As petroleum replaced coal in Japan in the 1960s, coal mines began shutting down all over the country, and Hashima’s mines were no exception. Mitsubishi officially announced the closing of the mine in 1974, and today it is empty and bare, which is why it’s called the Ghost Island. Travel to Hashima was re-opened on April 22, 2009 after more than 20 years of closure.

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Pripyat, Ukraine

Pripyat is an abandoned city in the zone of alienation in northern Ukraine. The city was founded in 1970 to house the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant workers, and was abandoned in 1986 following the Chernobyl disaster. Its population had been around 50,000 prior to the accident. The city of was evacuated in two days.

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The city and the Exclusion Zone are now bordered with guards and police, but obtaining the necessary documents to enter the zone is not considered particularly difficult. A guide will accompany visitors to ensure nothing is vandalized or taken from the zone.

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The doors of most of the buildings are open to reduce the risk to visitors, and almost all of them can be visited when accompanied by a guide.

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The city of Chernobyl, located a few miles from Prypyat, has some accommodations including a hotel, many apartment buildings, and a local lodge, which are maintained as a permanent residence for watch-standing crew, and visitors.

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Balestrino, Italy

The first info about the village is dated by 1860 when its population was about 850 inhabitants. At the end of the 20th century the village suffered from several earthquakes after which the residents left the village.

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