37 monuments in 30 days, and what I learned along the way.
Sunday 22 November 2015
As I have been mostly based out of Bulgaria for the last few years, it’s hardly surprising that this is the country I have photographed the most. You might notice I don’t often write about it these days, though. The reason for this is that early on in the life of this blog I realised that my Bulgarian posts were far outnumbering the entries from any other countries – and so I imposed a moratorium on myself at least until the other countries had a chance to catch up.
Anyway, I feel like that’s happening now. One of the first of my next wave of posts from Bulgaria will be this one, looking at three (very photogenic) abandoned industrial sites around the country.
The Cement Mill
This one was a chance discovery – we just happened to be driving past on the way to somewhere else, when I spotted it out the car window. From the shape and layout of the place, it seems to have been a cement mill; though it looks to have lain abandoned for at least a decade now.
Past the railings, past the shells of old derelict buildings, I found a guard hut that still contained a few bits and pieces – items of uniform, books and ledgers, and so on. We tried climbing the towers as well, which are fitted with a rickety wooden gantry and ladders. I didn’t get far, though. The structure seemed to crumble under my gaze, and so I gave up long before reaching the top.
The Cotton Plant
I heard about this one from a friend, and it didn’t disappoint. The building used to process cotton, and in order to do that it had its own steam generator on site. By the time of my visit, it had been stripped almost completely bare – but it was still interesting to wander through the various chambers, upstairs and down, admiring the grand spaces which once would have housed these mechanisms. We even found a ladder on the back wall, that took us up to the rooftop.
Underneath, meanwhile, was a fairly sizeable bomb shelter – just in case the enemy decided to invade during working hours.
The Textile Factory
This factory site lies in an industrial estate on the edge of a city in central Bulgaria. There are a few clues as to the original use – including one room we stumbled across towards the end, stacked high with dyes and balls of yarn. Other than that though, it was largely just open space.
The design of the factory made it quite extraordinary to photograph though, even in this empty and decayed state. High ceilings, bizarre shapes and a network of gantries and tunnels made this a very enjoyable place to explore.
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