Mad Mark’s Castle, Albany Bulb

MJG Abandoned Art, Grafitti, Ruins / Haikyo, USA, World Ruins 1 Comment

Mad Mark’s Castle is a glorious achievement, a hand-built faerie castle made of scavenged rebar, concrete and plaster that stands proudly atop the Albany Bulb in San Francisco Bay, offering a fantastic view of the Golden Gate Bridge. Completed in 2000 and adopted ever since as an ever-changing graffiti canvas by the numerous artists haunting the Bulb, it remains a stunning piece of one-man art in itself, and the culmination of ‘Mad’ Mark (Marc)’s life’s work. Mad Mark’s Castle by Peter Merts. Mad Mark’s Castle interior (Great Hall) by Peter Merts. I’ve never been to the Albany Bulb or even …

Ruined Cartmel Farmhouse and Priory

MJG Churches / Shrines, UK Leave a Comment

Cartmel is a tiny village located at the bottom of the Lake District in the NorthWest of the UK, famous for two things- a racecourse that brings in punters nationally perhaps once a year, and L’Enclume, a Michelin-stared restaurant now dubbed the best restaurant in the uk. Also there are plenty of ruins… This past weekend I went up to Cartmel with my wife SY, firstly to attend my brother’s wedding (congratulations Joe and Vicky!) as best man, which was an excellent experience, and secondly to take a mini-holiday in the middle of nature. Cartmel stood out to us because …

The ancient glare of Angkor Thom

MJG Haikyo, World Ruins Leave a Comment

Angkor Thom is a behemothic ruin, 9 square kilometers of temples, lakes, terraces, and dusty faded glory all bound in by a ten-foot wall. Much of it now is paved with roads built by the South Koreans, the Chinese, the Indians. Our guide happily explained the times and dates each country came along and chipped in their bit to keep this grand testament to ancient Khmer wealth in a visitable condition. And visitable it most certainly is, from the hydra-headed temple of Bayon to the seemingly endless codices of ‘forgotten temples’ across from the palace’s elephant terrace. The heads of …

The sun-bleached ruin of Angkor Wat

MJG Cambodia, Haikyo, World Ruins 1 Comment

Angkor Wat is the last, greatest remnant of the ancient Khmer empire, a sprawling citadel and temple complex built nearly 1000 years ago, now resplendent in ruins. Doubtless you’ve heard of it. It’s the biggest tourist attraction in Cambodia, with thousands of visitors parading through its grand porticoes every day, clad in day-glo Crocs and local-bought elephant-pattern pants, mooning over this relic of the Khmer’s grand vision. A few weeks back my wife SY and I went to moon right alongside them. Angkor Wat beyond the boundary moat. We went to Angkor Wat as part of a whirlwind 9-day tour …

Ruins of the Unmuseum

MJG Canada, Greece, Iraq, World Ruins 1 Comment

The Unmuseum (AKA the Museum of Unnatural Mystery) is like an online Ripley’s Believe It or Not, stuffed full of myth, ruin, and intrepid history ranging from tales of pterosaurs in Texas to mechanical computers built before the birth of Christ. It’s the perfect place for armchair Indian Joneses, or thriller writers seeking the next Dan Brown conspiracy plot. Site curator and author Lee Krystek has been building his unmuseum online for well over 10 years. Back in 2000 it got some great reviews and was listed in a top 50 best sites list by Popular Science, however it’s look …

Dead Sentinels: 10 Stunning Abandoned Lighthouses

MJG Featured Story, Lighthouses, World Ruins 9 Comments

Lighthouses are the sentinels of globalization; for thousands of years they have stood on barren shores the world over and guided the spreading hands of global trade, keeping unknown seafarers and their precious cargoes safe in the night. Now they are dying, as modern technology renders them obsolete. Without people to maintain them, they slowly come to pieces: their lights no longer shine, their bodies crumble and decay. They are curios and museum pieces for tourists to explore. Here are 10 from around the world. 1. Rubjerg-Knude lighthouse, Denmark Construction of the Rubjerg-Knude lighthouse in Jutland, Denmark straddled the last …

Abandoned Lighthouses 10. Fish Fluke Point

MJG Canada, Lighthouses, World Ruins 3 Comments

The Grand Harbor Lighthouse on Fish Fluke Point, Ross Island Canada, was built in 1879, a square wooden tower 32-feet tall with the Keeper’s dwelling attached. Its fixed-white catoptric light was visible for 11 miles in clear weather. It was closed in 1963 when a replacement lighthouse went up on the nearby Ingalls Head breakwater, then smashed hard by the Groundhog Day Gale in 1976. It has not been repaired since, prompting calls by locals and lighthouse aficionados for ownership to be transferred to a more dutiful custodian. Looking out over the Bay, white wooden boards battered grey. Image from …

Abandoned Lighthouses 9. Ship John Shoal

MJG Lighthouses, USA, World Ruins 1 Comment

Construction of the Ship John Shoal Lighthouse in Delaware Bay took 27 years, from a decision by the US Congress in 1850 that a light was needed, through various incarnations of caisson-foundations, screw-pile roots, 2000 tons of rip-rap, and a temporary anchored lightship, to placement of the completed iron tower in 1877. The lighthouse went unmanned in 1973, and as recently as last month (June 2011) it was declared no longer necessary by the Coast Guard and made available for public sale. Ship John Shoal sitting on a heap of concrete and rip-rap. Image by Nick Zelinski. The Shoal upon …

Abandoned Lighthouses 8. Aniva Rock

MJG Lighthouses, Russia, World Ruins 19 Comments

The Aniva lighthouse was built by the Japanese in 1939, on a chunk of rock off the southern coast of Sakhalin, a thin 950 km long island situated just east of Russia, between the sea of Japan and Russia’s Sea of Okhotsk. The island was largely uninhabited until the 1800’s, when both Japan and Russia became interested in annexing it; the Russians for use as a penal colony. Almost a fairy-tale castle on the water. That led to years of conflict, retrenchment, and buildup of military forces, with both nations agreeing to split the island across the 50th parallel. A …

Abandoned Lighthouses 7. Capo d’Otranto

MJG Italy, Lighthouses, World Ruins 3 Comments

The Capo d’Otranto lighthouse was built in 1867, situated at Italy’s most eastern point, marking the point where the Ionian and Adriatic Seas meet. It was abandoned in the 1970’s, but restored and reopened to tourists in 2008, where it hosts the Centre on Environment and Health of the Mediterranean ecosystems and a multimedia museum of the sea. Prior to restoration, in crumbling and colorless condition. Italy’s easternmost point. The 32 m (105 ft) tall round stone lighthouse rises from a 2-story keeper’s house, the tip of which requires advance booking on New Year’s eve, when many Italians flood to …