Archive for December, 2010

 

The 2nd Battery was part of a major tactical system of coast defense, covering all approaches to the mouth of Tagus river, therefore, to the capital city Lisbon. It was provided with three guns of 152mm, effective at a range up to 20 km. This battery was a dependence of the Coastal Artillery Regiment, with positions spread along strategic spots of Portuguese shore line.

In the 80’s, just before it was decommissioned, the 2nd Battery was making real fire exercises twice a year, usually in May and November. For the occasion, air traffic would be suspended in the area, leaflets would be distributed to the local population warning about the event and providing advice on how to minimize the consequences, and down in the waters, a frigate would tow a target, generally 50 or 100 m behind her.

 


 

In the 90’s the Coastal Artillery Regiment was dismantled. The concept of coastal defense based on fixed artillery was obsolete for a long time, and not even during the 2nd World War was widely used.

Currently there are talks about creating in these facilities a museum of coastal artillery, but most likely the voice of Euros will speak louder and a new residential complex will be built in those grounds. The awesome views will make such product a luxurious one.

 


 

Visiting the 2nd Battery of Coastal Artillery is formally forbidden. However, last time I was there, the main gate was basically open. I wouldn’t be afraid of some trespassing in this situation. Inside you will enjoy the views and you can observe the guns, still there. The barracks and the artillery have now some graffiti on them. The house on the right, as you enter the premises, used to be the officers residence, but its roof is all gone now. The underground galleries were sealed as well as the direct access to the guns, where now stands a thin fence of barbed wire. If you do find a way to explore these underground galleries, be aware that the lifts for ammo are in poor condition and can go down any moment.

 

If you park your car here I guess you will find your way in, if that’s your interest:

38° 41.763’N  9° 21.424’W

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Abandoned House, Marsaxxlok, Malta

Posted: December 9, 2010 in Malta


 

I found this building by chance, in my way to the fishing village of Marsaxxlok, in southeast Malta. Actually, the building is by the main road leading to the village and you can just park your car in front of it. As it happened, I have no story at all about the structure. I was with a Maltese friend who described it as a typical rural bourgeois villa, belonging to wealthy farmers.

To get in, one must truly trespass, as the ruin is obviously fenced and no obvious access to the inside is on sight. Once there, the gorgeous decorative elements deserve a second look, specially by the stairs and in the area which used to be the first floor. Also the backyard patio looked interesting and definitely it saw, in its times, lots of joy and family gatherings. Well, fellows, sorry for the short text but it’s all I can say. Anyway, this is a minor entry about a minor place. These are the coordinates of the “haunted house”: N 35° 50.729 E 014° 32.266.

Zittau, Germany

Posted: December 6, 2010 in Germany

 

I was invited to visit Zittau with a  group of friends from Prague. From there it’s easily doable as a day trip and you even can explore the Czech town of Liberec in the way. Zittau it’s a live example of the dark aspects of German reunification. Since it happened the population of this town decreased from 60.000 to about 15.000 inhabitants. Most of the people just moved to western cities, like Frankfurt or Cologne. Behind they left a huge amount of buildings… getting slowly rotten, empty or just held by old people who can’t afford a proper maintenance.

Walking in some of the streets of Zittau it’s just like traveling in time back to the good old days of DDR and Erich Hoenecker.  But, inspiring as that can be, it’s not really like exploring abandoned places. Come on, Zittau aged brutally but it’s not that abandoned! No… the aim of the expedition are the barracks of the DDR Army, in use before the fall of Berlin Wall. In those times there was an Officers School there, preparing young German men to fight the devilish West in tanks. Unfortunately that’s all I could find about the place. Perhaps a German fellow may Google it further down, but in English there is no info available.

 


a street of Zittau, 2010

 

 


two entrances spots

 

 




 

I visited the place in the Winter 2010 and it was possible to enter two of the main barracks there. I can’t promise the openings will still be there. The Army was using an huge area in Zittau. I Mean it. Part of it was already renovated and is now in use by civilians (offices, apartments, universities, etc)… but at least in these coordinates there were the open barracks and one of the access there: N 50° 53.029 E 014° 48.245

 

my favorite picture of that day… two chairs… perhaps two ghosts sitting on them

 

how about some German porn from the 80’s to finish he trip?

 

 

 

Safira (abandoned village), Portugal

Posted: December 3, 2010 in Portugal

Unfortunately the pictures I took when I visited this place back in March 2007 don’t really transmit the atmosphere there. Safira was a village. Gradually its youngsters moved to the big cities and the old people was left behind. When the last was too old or too sick to stay alone, he left too. And Safira ceased to exist.

 


 

The place is now composed by a few ruined houses, a church and, on the South bank of the Safira Creek, a cemetery. The Igreja de N. Sra. da Natividade de Safira (Church of Our Lady of the Nativity of Saphire) was built on the 15th century, when the Cardinal Prince D. Afonso was bishop, enlarged on the 16th c. It was damaged badly by the 1755 earthquake, then restored in 1874 and then again in 1903. It’s a rectangular building, with two-sided roof and lateral buttresses (one of them had a small sundial that has now disappeared), a front porch with 3 arches and a bell tower. It has two rococó style altars (the Portuguese version of the baroque style) on the sides.

 

 

Word is the place will cease to exist as it is. I do not hold further information though. Interested? These are the coordinates: N 38° 36.993 W 008° 19.405

Milovice, Czech Republic

Posted: December 1, 2010 in Czech Republic

Milovice area has a long military tradition. During the First Czechoslovak Republic, created imediately after First World War, several units of the newborn army were accomodated there. Then, Second World War came, and the Germans tookover. From 1938 to 1945 Luftwaffe had a few units stationed in Milovice air base, but it was after the Russian invasion of 1968 that Milovice strategic importance reached its peak. There was established the headquarter of Soviet Central Group of Forces in a bunker thay we may have the chance to visit.

We will arrive to Milovice village by train, approximately one hour after our departure from Prague. The walk to the military perimeter it’s easy and short. Once there we will start our exploration. We will spot a few buildings and bunkers as well as repairing facilities.

After this preliminar contact, we will cross the airstrip, where twenty years ago the last Mig-29 took-off, back to Russia. The hangars are locked, but we can walk the grounds where the 114th Regiment of Interceptors used to be stationed.

Then we will start exploring the surrounding facilities. It’s a labyrinth of structures, houses, and office spaces. In a wall we see the remainings of all the festive shooting from the day russians left. Further ahead, an impressive pile of empty bottles of vodka and old documents typed in cyrilic alphabet.

In other places, the vestiges are more personal: newspaper cut-outs, wall inscriptions mentioning western “institutions” like Coke-Cola and Bon Jovi. Finally we will arrive to one of the most impressive spots: a residencial area, with four storey buildings. Everything is wide open. We can freely explore each individual apartment. We almsot can feel the “ghosts” there. Under the wallpaper we find old russian newspapers, used as isolation material. Eventually, some personal belongings may be found, like teethbrushes.

After the residental area we can visit the social center, a devastated theater, a gymnasium. From here we will walk to the spot where the headquarter was located. We will spot some residential blocks, but these were totally renovated, looking brand new, still waiting for buyers. Then, it’s the countryside. Fields of flowers, quietness. A small hideout for deers hunters. Finally we arrive to the last military area we will be visiting. Sometimes people play paintball there, and in that case we should stay away. If the area is safe we will enter the bunker once used by the headquarter of Soviet Central Group of Forces.

Once in our way back, we will walk trough an impressive forest, and finally we will cross the airstrip for the last time, where we will able to imagine the deafening noise of jet engines of three Mig-29 simultaneously taking-off. Just before taking the train, we may stop – if you wish so – in a local pub where we may be able to enjoy a fresh beer and some pickled cheese (the Czech “hermelin” delicassy).

Text from my Guided Tours in Czech Republic website: czechfunfan.com