During the Cold War era, the USSR was a very mysterious place to people who did not live there. Travel to and from was very restricted, and journalists were not allowed nearly as much access within the country as in many other places around the world. After its collapse, much of its infrastructure was simply left to crumble away as many of the satellite states that made up the USSR were given independent statehood. David De Rudea decided that he wanted to give the world a glimpse of what these abandoned Soviet relics looked like in a Nikon Spotlight called Abandoned Places. He made an incredible six-week road trip through 9 different countries. Along the way he stopped at some of the many abandoned Soviet relics that are scattered across so many countries. He even brought along a helper who, by standing in each shot, gives scale to how big some of these places are. These are some seriously amazing images.
This giant hole is actually the inside of a cooling tower located at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. The cooling tower was never completed.
Pripyat is the city that was evacuated when the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown happened. This is the waiting room of the Pripyat Hospital. The plant gives a feeling that time really has been frozen here since the disaster.
These are the rooftops of the city of Pripyat. What strikes me is the lack of color everywhere. Everything is grey concrete. A true ghost town.
This is what remains of the cafe’ in Pripyat. It seems that this is one of the only sources of color left in this lifeless place. The photographer wanted to create light contrasts so he put an artificial light source behind the stained glass as well as one behind the cafe’ sign. This is probably the first artificial light this place has seen in a long time.
A sunrise from the top of Pripyat’s highest building, Fujiyama. When the sun rises, it almost gives the look of having life once again.
This is a small glass room that sits on top of a bus station next to the Pripyat Cafe’.
The photographer wanted a unique shot that no one else had gotten for the ferris wheel. It really is one of the most striking images to come out of his photo shoot.
This is one of the first pictures the photographer captured during this visit to Pripyat Hospital. It appears as though the oven has exploded in the center of the room, destroying everything around it.
This is an abandoned power plant near Budapest, Hungary. The power plant was so difficult to access that they had to come in through the coal shaft, which is what this shot is of.
The artist had to use a two-minute long exposure to reveal what otherwise sat in complete darkness. What he was capturing is the former Linnahall concert hall in Tallinn, Estonia. The artists said it reminds him of a spaceship, and I have to agree.
This incredible photograph is a of a disused experimental power facility near Moscow. Persuasion of the caretaker was needed to gain access as the site was guarded by half a dozen watch dogs.
The task of acquiring this picture was actually pretty arduous for the photographer. These abandoned radar stations are located high in the mountains in Italy. It took him three hours of walking through snow almost 20 inches of snow to get here.
A 19th century factory built-in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
This monstrosity is the Buzludzha Monument. The photographer braved the fogged that wrapped the monument and got a truly awesome photograph.
This photo was also taken inside the abandoned power plant in Budapest. With the girl in the photograph, you get a great sense of how expansive and vast this place is. It has a very science fiction atmosphere to it.
During his trip to Budapest, he also explored this derelict train graveyard. This place is actually located in the middle of an active train depot. You would truly feel like you were transported to a different world stepping inside this place full of lifeless steel carcasses.
This plane husk is located in a deserted part of Iceland’s south coast. It is the wreckage of a Douglas DC-3 aircraft. The photographer arrived here at 4 am and the polar lights started up a little while later. He used a 90 second exposure to capture this incredible picture.
The photographer said he just felt drawn to this building he found near Sofia, Bulgaria.
This picture was taken under the Congress Room of the Buzludzha in Bulgaria. When the photographer lit up his torch, he discovered everything inch of the room was covered in ice.
This picture was only taken after 180 kilometers of off-road driving and another 45 of walking through highly restricted land. These are two relics of the Soviet space program. They are sitting in this warehouse just rotting away.
More Info: David de Rueda
Some of these places have probably not seen human contact in quite a long time. Taking a step back in time by visiting these buildings would truly be a unique experience. This photographer did us all the favor of capturing these amazing pictures. That way we don’t all have to visit these places to get a glimpse into the history and awe of a fallen global power.