Traveler's Test

Urbex – the innate necessity to explore the forbidden

Urbex – the innate necessity to explore the forbidden

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by Kalina Bosilkova

We challenge you: Explore the forbidden – enter an abandoned building

Have you ever passed by a crumbling building and wondered what the atmosphere of a place long forgotten would feel like? If the answer is yes and you’ve been even slightly compelled by the idea of actually checking these places out, then urbex is your new greatest discovery. Short for urban exploration, urbex represents the activity of exploring abandoned or seldom seen components of man-made structures. In other words, it’s the thrilling act of satisfying the curiosity for everything veiled from view. And though being driven by different motives, the daring souls, who practice urbex, all have something in common. No matter whether you will be doing it as a photographer, as someone appreciating architecture or willing to experience the past, all urban explorers are inevitably adventure seekers!

© Maria Angelova/www.203challenges.com

So how to do it:

Finding the right location – go out and explore your city. Take notice of any old buildings and other decaying structures. These are most likely to be found in suburban areas and industrial regions. For more ideas, there are now numerous apps and sites mapping the location of such sights. For more info visit www.forbidden-places.net, opacity.us or check the ‘Abandoned’ iPhone app.

Safety comes first – bear in mind that urbex lies on the margins of legality and should therefore be a conscious practice. Take the risks into consideration and explore places only if they seem completely abandoned. Beware of cameras and motion detectors.

P.S. Never enter a building if there are clear signs of hazardous structures such as unstable floors or rotten roofs! Also, watch your steps and make sure to wear shoes with thicker soles! You don’t want to have rusty nails stuck in your foot, do you?

Don’t forget a flashlight – even if done in the daylight, urbex would most likely lead you to poorly lit places. In that case, wandering in the dark is not the brightest idea.

Bring a partner in crime – аs with every other recreational activity, urbex is more fun when done with friends. It’s also much safer to have somebody watch your back in case of any danger.

Comply with the motto: “take only pictures, leave only footprints…” – it’s perfectly possible to explore a place in a respectful way without leaving any signs of your presence. Let time be the sole vandal and leave the location as if you’ve never actually been there. This also means that no souvenirs are allowed.

© Maria Angelova/www.203challenges.com

Did you know that

…astounding historic buildings are torn down every single day. Take the Belgian Château Miranda for instance. Built at the end of the French revolution and left to the ravages of time in 1991, the visionary castle had until recently been a top urbex destination. Sadly, despite the arrangement of a formal petition and the vehement protests of locals, this year the chateau was completely demolished. So… What are you waiting for?

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