Crabs, bats and communists, in Cuba's greatest Soviet souvenir.
By now, I have visited more abandoned buildings than I could ever count – I suspect the number is likely into four digits these days. As a result, you may have noticed how over time I’ve become less interested in the commonplace and more focussed instead on the places that tell extraordinary stories. Well this site, located in the historic Slovenian town of Kamnik, was absolutely in the latter camp.
It’s not just the size and scale of the Kamnik Gunpowder Factory that made it such a fantastic place to explore. The fact that it was abandoned so recently, and thus still filled with clues as to its former function, was of course a positive factor; and it helped too that we were so lucky with the weather that day. But the real treat, for me, was that I was fortunate enough to be given a tour of the place by a former worker at the factory.
A Slovenian friend of mine arranged the introduction – leading to a long afternoon of walking around this sprawling factory site, while being regaled with an endless series of anecdotes about working conditions, onsite accidents, humour and tragedy… as well as talking about the interesting political problem posed to Yugoslavia in the 1990s by a gunpowder factory situated in a would-be independent Slovenian republic.
I’ll write this article up in full, before too long – and I feel like it’s going to be one of the more touching, and human stories I’ve ever had the privilege to share. Until then though, you can take a tour of the Kamnik Gunpowder Factory for yourself as you browse through the images below.