Abandoned islands and abandoned chapels: 12 buildings reclaimed by nature
Mother Nature has a remarkable talent for cleaning up after humans. For centuries, all over the world, she has worked her magic, transforming decrepit man-made structures into something naturally beautiful. So beautiful, in fact, that urban explorers flock from afar to discover these hidden gems.
It is no wonder; when nature regains control of urban areas, breathtaking scenes are created. There’s something so serene about the way vines weave their way through cracks in old bricks and trees nestle in the cracks where windows once stood.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve been keeping an eye out for these special, sometimes secret places where nature has reclaimed built structures that have fallen into disrepair. From an abandoned swimming pool turned into an urban jungle to a dilapidated, green-carpeted church, these are some of the most spectacular places nature has taken over.
Nature takes hold of this chapel in the South of France
It’s a bit of a mystery why the 19th century Violin Angel Chapel was abandoned decades ago, and nature added to the allure by giving the crumbling church a green facelift.
Located in the south of France, a carpet of foliage lines the tiles of the old chapel as sunlight shines through what remains of the stained glass windows.
Nature takes hold of the abandoned village of Houtouwan
We head east for our next picked up destination, to the village of Shengshan on an island just east of Shanghai.
When the inhabitants of the remote village relocated in the 1990s due to difficulties in accessing adequate education and nutrition, it didn’t take long for the emerald green vegetation to engulf the entire island.
Nature takes hold of this 19th century steamboat wreck
It’s magical to see how nature creates more opportunities to thrive after a disaster. The wreck of the SS City of Adelaide caught fire and ran aground on the shores just off Magnetic Island in Australia in 1912.
Over 100 years later, mangroves thrive in the wreckage of a 19th-century steamboat, creating an artificial reef that local marine life now calls home.
Nature takes over this abandoned building but adds a rooftop pool
It is not just the sea for which nature takes water. Atop an abandoned industrial building, a natural swimming pool has formed in the most, well, unnatural of places.
Although this skyscraper was once a hive of human activity, very few people are brave enough to swim in this rather unique rooftop infinity pool. Fancy a breathtaking plunge?
Nature takes hold of this cabin in Norway
The builders of this Norwegian hut probably did not intend its residents to be birds. But that’s exactly who lives there now that trees have taken root on its roof.
While it can be scandi-chic to have a green roof for insulation (and throughout architectural fashion), when not maintained, the power of nature wins out.
Nature takes hold of this abandoned Italian swimming pool
Once the home of splashing kids and front caterpillars in goggles, this Italian pool is no longer visited by punters in their cozzies.
After more than 40 years in disrepair, the pool has traded its old blue waters for a green oasis, and now looks more like a veranda than a swimming spot.
Nature invades the island of Hashima
The people of Nagasaki have nicknamed the once coal-rich Hashima “Warship Island” because of its distinctive boat-like shape.
After more than five thousand residents abandoned the island when the coal ran out in 1959, it looked like a floating concrete jungle. Over 60 years later, the site looks more like a real jungle, with trees growing from the deserted metropolis.
Nature invades Gwrych Castle in Wales
What could be more enchanting than an abandoned castle? The one that is overgrown with the trees and foliage of its surrounding forest of course.
It might look like the set from a fairytale movie, but it was actually the location for last year’s UK season of I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here !.
Nature takes hold of this former naval air base
This Alaskan Naval Air Station was closed in 1997, although it was a key launch point during World War II. Over the next 24 years, nature took on an interior design role, adding soft (sparkling) furniture to floors and walls.
These are in harmony with the vegetation of the island, which is mostly tundra including grasses, mosses and low flowering plants.
Nature takes hold of this 19th century Welsh maritime fort
Do you have £ 60 to lose and fancy a move into an abandoned maritime fort off the Welsh coast of Pembrokeshire?
These wild, isolated digs are not in most people’s style, but someone bought the private island in 1932 for that bargain price, but it seems it wasn’t as livable as they were. hoped so. Since the sale, the isolated monolith has been empty, letting nature do its work and decorate its roof with a carpet of greenery.
Nature takes hold of this ancient Sri Lankan city
Sitting beautifully, 200 meters high, the ancient fortress town of Sigiriya was the site of Sri Lanka’s capital and a Buddhist monastery during its lifetime.
Today, the abandoned rocky city is a sentinel, filled with herbs and a natural swimming pool, that watches over the island nation.
Nature takes hold of this abandoned Russian church
Although very little worship takes place these days in the Znamenskoye-Sadki Church, its Orthodox murals still line the walls amid the crumbling ruins.
The church is part of one of the oldest country estates in Moscow, and you can find it in the southwest of the city, but it fell into disrepair in 1929. While the Trubetskoy family who once owned the domain never returned, nature was quick to take their place and add its own natural backdrop to the church.