7 Modern Ghost Towns That Look Like Sci-Fi Movies
Our highly industrialized world has created vast tracts of concrete and steel and ... trash. Lots and lots of trash. When the tides of mankind shift, things that were once its prized brainchildren are abandoned to the elements to slowly fade away. But when you step into some of these vast cities of rust and tetanus, it feels strangely like you've stepped into some far-flung era when the future is the past and the past is ... the ancient past, we guess?
OK, since we've officially confused ourselves, let's just get straight to the futuristic abandoned stuff, shall we?
Spomeniks -- the Balkans
When you see something like that looming in the distance, you just stepped through a Stargate onto some distant world, or out of a time machine into a future Earth ruled by your childhood bully, and this is his winged emblem. Or maybe that thing is the time machine. Or maybe, just maybe, it's a Spomenik.
What the hell is a Spomenik, you ask? Well, Americans weren't the only ones to have a World War II "Greatest Generation" -- the Yugoslavian government worshiped and idolized the sacrifices made during World War II, and as a result, thousands of these monuments to the war sprouted up all throughout Yugoslavia.
Apparently the only rule when designing a Spomenik was: 1) Make it fucking weird. They ranged from Godzilla-sized viruses:
To Boba Fett's bachelor pad:
"Wait till you see my jet pack course out back. The 'Sarlacc pit' obstacle gets me every time."
But then the Yugoslavian dream ended in the early '90s when the country tore itself apart. Most of the Spomeniks were torn down, but many still stand abandoned throughout the Balkans, their original symbolism lost to time. Today, they presumably only serve to alternately freak out and confuse the hell out of any tourists who happen upon them.
Energomash Plant -- Moscow
Look at that. That's obviously the core of the Death Star. Any second now, the Millennium Falcon's going to come roaring through there to turn that fucker into an unrealistically fiery space explosion, and all the Ewoks will be so, so happy.
Actually, that's a shot taken not so long ago in a galaxy ... well, right about here. It turns out that the mountains of industrial waste created by the former Soviet Union have resulted in an underground explorer culture, and thanks to a handy Russian law stating that it's not trespassing so long as there's an open door or a busted gate, right now hundreds of Russians are rummaging through poisonous Soviet rust piles in hopes of snagging some truly prime Abandoned Porn. At the forefront of this movement is Lana Sator, who documents her adventures on her LiveJournal account. (Yes, people still use LiveJournal -- mostly in Russia.)
Sator, chilling moments before activating the Stargate.
These photos were taken when Sator and some friends sneaked into the state-owned Energomash plant near Moscow. While that sounds like a factory producing the world's most horrific energy drink, its actual purpose was to test rockets -- big rockets. Once inside, in addition to a scale model of the core of the Death Star (as if that weren't enough), Sator also found either the prototype for the Soviet Overcompensation Rocket or the permanent storage space for Spinal Tap's guitar amplifiers, we're not sure which:
Either way, these go to 11.
Buzludzha Monument -- Bulgaria
That's got to be a remote Galactic Empire base on planet Hoth. But wait -- wasn't it the Rebels who had a base on Hoth? And while we're at it, that big star emblem is totally not movie-accurate.
There's also a shocking lack of kissing siblings and sexually ambiguous robots.
No, this giant building is in fact the Buzludzha Monument in Bulgaria. It wasn't always dilapidated and snow-covered, but even in its heyday, it still looked like something straight out of an early '80s sci-fi flick:
Just add bad hair and a Queen soundtrack.
The monument exists because in 1891, some Bulgarians met on a remote mountain to form a socialist organization. Decades later, World War II left the entire Eastern European bloc in Stalin's hands, and a communist government ruled over Bulgaria. To commemorate that 1891 meeting, the Bulgoviets built this gigantic concrete flying saucer on top of the mountain in bumfuck nowhere, Bulgaria, where the meeting took place. Just 10 years after it opened in 1981, the Iron Curtain fell and Bulgaria's communist government collapsed. The monument was abandoned, and the Bulgarian populace has since demonstrated just how much of a shit they give about socialist ideals ...
That would be "not a single, steaming turd."
... but add some snow and stream in some sunlight, and suddenly the inner auditorium of the monument full-on transforms into a UFO straight out of Invasion of the Commie Snatchers:
"Prepare for anal probing, comrade ... you know, for the common good."
Soviet Superplanes -- Russia
Oh, you wacky Soviets, with your communism and your nuclear missiles and your freaking crashed spaceships. How else would you explain this thing? It obviously only ended up here on Earth because two of its eight warp drives failed on the way to Ursa Minor, forcing it to crash land on our little backwater pisspot of a planet. It's what the Roswell crash would look like if it took place in Russia instead of New Mexico and the aliens were rednecks with an insatiable engine fetish.
That, or it's the remains of the monster Soviet watercraft the Lun Ekranoplan. Designed to skim across the surface of the water and explodify anything in its path, this ground effect vehicle weighed 380 tons, had a 148-foot wingspan, and packed six anti-ship missiles, because of course it did.
We're just going to assume that every male involved with this somehow possessed an inverted penis.
But it wasn't just military vehicles that got an otherworldly makeover in Soviet Russia -- even their mass transit looked like it was about to blast off for intergalactic destinations. This Russian Meteor hydrofoil, for example, looks like it was plucked straight out of a 1950s Buck Rogers comic strip and promptly dropped in the woods to rot:
The best part? You can still ride in one. Just not to Jupiter.
Hartsville Nuclear Plant -- Tennessee
Oh shit. Oh shit oh shit oh shit. When you see a pit like that in a video game -- the eight symmetrical pathways terminating at it, the green something smeared, just, everywhere -- nothing good is about to happen. Either your ass is about to get tossed down to whatever dwells in there or some alien terror beast is about to slime its way out. Either way, this scene ends with your tender bits marinating in digestive juices. And slowly backing away from it doesn't help, either:
Unless by "help" you mean "induce volcanic puking."
Welcome to the inside of an abandoned energy plant cooling tower, several of which can be found around the globe -- like the one at the Hartsville Nuclear Plant in Tennessee, on which billions were spent before the project ran out of money and was cancelled before the plant ever went online. Now the tower stands dormant, just begging for anyone adventurous enough to explore it or, apparently, scale it like friggin' Spider-Man:
Web shooters and change of underpants highly recommended.
And since this particular reactor was never brought online, you can explore to your heart's content without worrying about sprouting an extra arm or eyeballs on your palms.
Or stubbing your sixth toe on the occasional starship engine left strewn about.
Pyestock -- England
A view like this can have only one logical explanation: That hole is about to puke out a planet-destroying death ray, and you're here to stop that from happening. If you're standing this close to it, you've probably already dispatched the bad guy and dealt your catchy one-liner, so now it's down to cutting the right color wire and interfacing with the mainframe to upload a virus (or something) before you and everything you love end up as pretty colored vapors.
What you're really looking at, however, is Test Cell 3, a jet engine testing chamber at the National Gas Turbine Establishment, or Pyestock. A top-secret industrial proving ground built by the British in 1949 and finally abandoned in 2000, Pyestock is where the real-life Q would work, if Q designed big-ass jet engines and possessed Ridley Scott's level of fascination with pipes.
You just know this place is crawling with xenomorphs.
Even Hollywood noticed that Pyestock was basically a gigantic pre-built movie set. Straight across from the blast nozzle in Test Cell 3 that we showed you above (which arguably doesn't sound much less dangerous than "planet-destroying death ray"), they built this badass, futuristic-looking door especially for the movie Sahara:
Pictured: Everyone who saw Sahara.
And of course, no sci-fi setting is truly complete without the obligatory "walkway to nowhere," and Pyestock's Test Cell 4 has that covered in spades:
It's a special gateway to the magical world of lockjaw.
Teufelsberg Listening Station -- Berlin
OK, so geodesic spheres aren't so much futuristic-looking as they are what an average person living in the '80s thought of as futuristic-looking. But this -- oh boy -- this is what the entrance to Epcot would look like if Walt Disney had had an unhealthy obsession with his wang. Because it looks like a giant cock and balls.
Although these days it seems to have picked up a particularly nasty STD.
This futuristic ode to penisness saw its beginnings during the death throes of World War II, when the Battle of Berlin reduced much of the city to rubble. Something obviously needed to be done with all of said rubble before any rebuilding could take place, so the Allies decided to use it to bury a former Nazi technical college.
Not pictured: The uptight Nazi dean who shook his fist and yelled "Allies!" while "Louie, Louie" played in the background.
Once all the detritus had been trucked in and piled up, they had created Teufelsberg (or Devil's Mountain, to us English-speaking folk), and it was the tallest point in Berlin: a man-made hill that was 377 feet tall and contained over 98 million cubic yards of bricks, metal, and scrap from all over the city. Then, as one final salute to the Nazis, the Allies erected a ginormous dong on top of their newly minted hill.
Complete with reservoir tip.
Actually, what you're seeing is a listening station built by the U.S. National Security Agency during the Cold War. Devil's Mountain -- being, as we said before, the highest point in Berlin -- turned out to be the perfect spot to eavesdrop on some Russkies. After the end of the Cold War, however, the day-to-day activities of your average Russkie suddenly became much less eavesdrop-worthy, and the installation was soon abandoned. Exactly what went down there while it was in operation is still classified. Although with machines like this one lurking inside ...
What your appliances have nightmares about.
... we're wondering if the giant dong was really nothing more than a ruse to distract people from the true and nefarious purpose of the Devil's Mountain "listening station": manufacturing Soylent Green.
For more areas where you can live out your nerdiest fantasies, check out 5 Amazing Abandoned Wastelands ... Within Walking Distance and 6 Abandoned Places That Will Make Awesome Supervillain Lairs.
If you're pressed for time and just looking for a quick fix, then check out The 4 Least Anticipated Movies of April 2013.
And stop by LinkSTORM because it's Friday so damn it all to hell.
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