World Ruins Gallery

Everywhere we go, we build. We leave ruins of our lives and culture behind like the cast-off skins of snakes, so that when we die, these cast-offs live on beyond us. They become monuments to us and what we were. They accumulate like coral, each generation laying down a new layer of cultural sediment for the next generation to live upon, above, around.

Millennia later archaeologists will study them. The ruin of Lady Liberty buried in ice. The two vast and trunkless legs of stone swathed by sand in the desert. The giant bust of a brutal former dictator overgrown by jungle creepers.

Look on these works, ye mighty, and know despair.

Sun-bleached ruin of Angkor Wat
Tranquil gaze of Angkor Thom
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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. 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.
The lonely Prada store
The fabled Carhenge
In the Texas desert near the little town of Marfa, on a stretch of Highway known as the loneliest road in America, sits the Prada store that got left behind. Carhenge is a replica of the 4,500 year old Stonehenge ruin in England. It was built by Jim Reinders in Nebraska, USA, using 38 vintage automobiles.
Kymaerica (Kcymaerxthaere)
Oradour`s War
Kcymaerxthaere (nee Kymaerica, pronounced `ky-MAR-ex-theere`) is an alternate world. It exists over and above our own in a system of 29 `gwomes`. Oradour-sur-Glane was destroyed on 10 June 1944, when 642 of its inhabitants, including women and children, were massacred by a German Waffen-SS company.
The sea that vanished overnight
The desert toytown of Kolmanskop
The Aral Sea was once one of the four largest lakes in the world, situated between Kazakhstan in the north and Uzbekistan in the south. Kolmanskop is a ghost town in the deserts of Namibia, built by the DeBeers mining company in 1908, abandoned in 1956 after diamond prices crashed.
Ruins of the Dreamer’s Gate
Lava-buried cathedral of Paricutin
The Dreamer’s Gate is an abandoned work of art, built by an Australian called Tony Phantastes over a 6-year period leading up to 1999. In 1943 the earth gobbled up the little Mexican towns of San Juan Parangaricutiro and San Salvador Paricutin. It began with dense ash-fall, deep tremors, and a slow tide of magma that progressed at three meters an hour.
The Ruins of LOST
Ruins of the Statue of Liberty
The TV show LOST is all about ruins. The island itself is a living museum, a place where the relics of millennia-old statues rest side by side with downed aircraft and underground research stations The Statue of Liberty is an icon, a beacon-fire at America`s shore calling out to all and sundry- `come on in, there`s plenty of room!` To destroy her is to denounce the very idea of America, to throw that generosity of spirit back in her face and cry out `who needs you?`
7 Massive Holes in the Earth
Bikini Atoll Nuclear Craters
Deep ‘blue hole‘ lagoons accrete within coral reefs, volcanoes tear the earth apart leaving enormous smoking craters, weak undergound sewage lines can lead to sudden sink-holes in the middle of cities, open-pit mines strip the hearts out of mountains, nuclear weapons tests blast whole islands out of existence. The impact is immediate and massive. In a second the fireball of flame, earth and smoke spreads almost four and half miles wide, engulfing everything within its path, visible over 250 miles away.
Mojave desert Airplane boneyard
Seoul’s ruined Jumbo Jet
This is where planes go when they die. Vast hulks of metal that cost millions to build, now grounded in obsolescence, taken out to the boneyard to be shot in the head like Old Yeller. To say the vision of a jumbo jet parked beside a city is incongruous is an understatement. It’s downright bizarre. That’s clearly what the owners of the place hoped for back in 2001 when they bought it in California, had it chopped into 62 pieces and shipped in giant containers across the Pacific.
Abandoned US theaters
7 Monuments of Saddam’s Iraq
Cinema is the American cultural export, a clearinghouse genre jam-packed with iconic images, historical rewrites, and the changing face of the Western hero. For over 100 years movies have documented and dominated the zeitgeist, When Iraq lost the war to Coalition Forces back in 2003 the iconic image was one of American soldiers tearing down a great bronze statue of Saddam Hussein in Firdos Square. Soon after giant busts of his head were removed from the Palace of the Republican Guard.
Wreck of the SS Hurricane Camille
Relics of Fort Jefferson
In August 1969 Hurricane Camille struck the Gulf Coast with a slam hard enough to presage the destructive powers of future hurricanes. Buildings were swept off their concrete slab foundations, cars were carried into the marshes, and boats were lofted out of the Gulfport docks and dropped down in the middle of nowhere Way back in 1825, with the revolutionary war 49 years past and the purchase of Florida from Spain only 5 years gone, America still very much feared attack by a foreign power. Inspectors were sent to the Dry Tortugas in the mouth of the Gulf of Mexico to source sturdy islands for fortification.
Ice-wrecked Russian ships
Detroit’s sagging ‘Slumpy’
Kamchatka is a Russian peninsula in the far North, home to seals, volcanoes, and a large industrial-era ship graveyard, where rusting hulks of tankers, trawlers, and tugs lie embedded in icy permafrost, slowly sinking into harbors they once stood tall and upright within. Slumpy‘ was a favorite of Detroit ruins-aficionados, up until recently (2007) providing hot sparks of tension between various websites who documented its 20-year decline and hoped to capture its ultimate crumbling on video.
Collapsed apartments, Shanghai
Skeletal hotels in Sinai
A few months back (around July 2009) this block of apartments in the Minxing district of Shanghai toppled and fell on its side. It was one of many brand new buildings as yet unoccupied, now something of a tourist attraction as authorities figure out just what to do with it. The Middle East was the cradle of civilization, once lush and verdant lands ravaged by over-farming, over-population, and ensuing desertification. Modern cities like Dubai in the UAE seek to prolong their existence via their last resource, oil
The bust of Ferdinand Marcos
Empty Russian nuclear lighthouse
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At the height of his power in the 1970’s former president/dictator of the Philippines Ferdinand E. Marcos commissioned the construction of a 99-foot concrete bust in own image, situated on a cliff overlooking the South China Sea around 130 km North of Manila. Sakhalin is Russia’s largest island, 950 km long and just off the east coast, slicing down the middle between the Sea of Japan and the Sea of Okhotsk. In the 1800’s both Japan and Russia became interested in annexing it, the Russians for use as a penal colony.
Wreckage of the SS Maheno
Bodie ghost town’s dead Chevy
maheno 21 1937 chevy bodie ghost town1
The S.S. Maheno was an Edwardian liner on the Tasman Sea crossing between New Zealand and Australia, and was used as a hospital ship by the New Zealand division of the Royal Navy during World War I. The word Maheno means ‘island’ in Maori, which is the native language of New Zealand. Bodie is a ghost town east of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in Mono County, California, United States, about 75 miles southeast of Lake Tahoe. It has been administered by California State Parks since becoming a state historic park in 1962, and receives about 200,000 visitors yearly.
The Sherman tank off Saipan
The ash-flooded town of Chantai
sherman tank off garapan beach saipan 9002 Chile Volcano
The Battle of Saipan was a battle of the Pacific campaign of World War II, fought on the island of Saipan in the Mariana Islands from 15 June 1944 to 9 July 1944. The invasion fleet embarking the expeditionary forces left Pearl Harbor on June 5, 1944. The town was evacuated in May 2008 when the Chaitan volcano erupted for the first time in more than 9,000 years. The eruption, became more violent on 5 May, throwing up a high plume of ash and sulfurous steam that rose to 19 miles, from which ashfall drifted across Patagonia, and over the Atlantic Ocean.
Bones of the Paris Catacombs
Svalbard’s apocalypse seed vault
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Underneath Paris lie hundreds of miles of catacombs, dug over hundreds of years as quarries, tunnels, sewers and interlinked basements. Now for the most part they lie fallow, though never completely blocked-off for fear of sealing some intrepid explorers inside. The Global Seed Vault is an Ark for a potentially coming flood- one of epidemics and all-out nuclear war. It is ensconced 120 meters into the solid rock of the Svalbard archipelago (featured prominently in the excellent ‘His Dark Materials’ books by Philip Pullman), deep enough to withstand any nuclear blast
Waverley Hills Sanatorium
10 Abandoned Lighthouses
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The Waverley Hills Sanatorium in Jefferson County, Kentucky, opened in 1910 in the thick of a Tuberculosis groundswell, then an incurable disease rife in the swampy backwaters of rural Louisville. The infected went to Waverley to be quarantined, and most likely to die 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.

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