The Technium

Modern Ruins

The fate of all things: abandonment. Sooner or later what is built will be left to crumble. In the goodness of time all manufactured structures will be forgotten. Cities will disappear, skyscrapers will hollow out, warehouses collapse, dams fall, and vehicles stop in their tracks. Here is a wonderful catalog of modern ruins. Listed by country. Ruin is a global destiny. Some examples:


The Salekhard-Igarka Railway in Russia, referred to variously as 501 Railroad, Railroad of Death, Road of Death, and Dead Road, was a project of the Soviet Gulag system that took place from 1949 to 1953. It was part of a grand design of Joseph Stalin to span a railroad across northern Siberia to reach the Soviet Union’s easternmost territories. The connection from Igarka to Salekhard measured 806 miles (1,297 km) in length. The project was built mostly with prisoner labor, particularly that of political prisoners, and thousands perished.


Between 1939 and 1952 National Oil Proprietary Limited in Australia extracted oil from shale at their Glen Davis works in the Capertee Valley approximately 120 miles west of Sydney. The plant was built using much equipment salvaged from the closed Newnes shale oil works nearby.


Hashima Island (meaning “Border Island”) in Japan, commonly called Gunkanjima (meaning “Battleship Island”). The island was populated from 1887 to 1974 as a coal mining facility. The island’s most notable features are the abandoned concrete buildings and the sea wall surrounding it.


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