I got the notion to document lost places about 11 years ago. I produced a list of the things I was interested in since I was urgently trying to find a hobby or something to do in my leisure time. Those things included history, writing, creativity, and travel. One day, as my friend and I, were traveling through Germany, I was discussing some of my ideas on how to spend my free time and the things I am interested in when he suggested I stop at an abandoned stone foundry nearby. I went there the following day to see what I would see with my camera, and I had a great day. As I began my study, I discovered that there was a small community of others who shared my passion in this kind of photography and work. That’s where it launched from. I quickly discovered additional places to explore, and since since then I have never stopped traveling, taking pictures, and writing.
Several years ago, I visited Băile Herculane (also known as Herculane Baths), a Romanian village located in a valley close to the Cerna river. The Mehedinți mountains and the Cerna mountains surround it, and they are absolutely breathtaking. The town has a lengthy history and a population of about 5,000 people. One of the world’s oldest spa resorts is this one. The area has been occupied since the Old Stone Age, according to several archaeological finds. According to legend, the Roman deity and hero Hercules stopped by the village to take a bath and rest. Hercules statues have been found all over the city.
Băile Herculane was referred to as “the most beautiful resort on the continent” by Emperor Franz Joseph in 1852. They cherished spending time in the town with his wife, Empress Elisabeth (Princess Sisi). Even had a residence in the heart of the town, Empress Elisabeth. The (allegedly) natural healing hot springs at Băile Herculane that contain sulfur (oh my goodness, that stinks! ), chlorine, sodium, magnesium, and other minerals are the main reason for Băile Herculane’s current fame. Facilities for mass tourism, such as 8–12 story hotels, were constructed while communism was in power.
Everyone from all walks of life came to the hamlet, although workers and retirees were the most frequent visitors. They came to Băile Herculane to use their allowed state vacation days in the hopes of getting healthier. Younger individuals now frequently visit the town as well.
There were a few privately owned hotels and lodgings at the turn of the century. Unfortunately, some of the historic structures dating back to the Austrian-Hungarian era are abandoned and in bad shape. I’ve been to a few of these deserted locations and taken pictures there. This region was a delightful surprise after my wonderful trips to Georgia and Abkhazia.
Herculane enjoys a skyward bathe
Herculane baths’ pool
Băile Neptun was one of the abandoned homes I was most eager to see and the main reason I traveled to Băile Herculane (or Neptune Baths or Austrian Imperial Baths). The end of the 19th century saw the construction of Băile Neptun (between 1883 and 1886). Plans for the historic structure were created by architect Alpar Ignat. The former sulfur and thermal baths at Băile Neptun have 32 separate cottages and two sizable, red marble-built pools. The Neptune I and Neptune IV springs provided water for the pools. A gym once stood on the first floor. It is a sizable structure with numerous rooms. One of the rooms jumps out, though. Amazing hues, intricate embellishments, and a ceramic fountain in the center of the reception hall all add to its beauty. Fortunately, this is still a really well-preserved location to visit (considering the circumstances).
Herculane Baths’ reception area
Imperial Franz Josef’s personal quarters
Roman influences are visible throughout the resort’s structure. For instance, you can see plaques honoring the local gods of protection Hercules, Aesculap, and Hygeia.
Unfortunately, the structure started to deteriorate at the end of the 20th century. The historic building is not being preserved or saved by the authorities. A team of young architects from the Herculane project are the only thing that might be able to salvage this location. The Herculane (or Neptune) Baths, one of Băile Herculane’s most significant structures, is being saved. A historical structure with stunning architecture, lovely decay, and tales to be told.
The legal matter is currently generating a lot of delays, and in the meanwhile, a sizable portion of the Buildings’ roofs fell. As a result, the weather will have a bigger influence on the building’s degradation process.
The building is under the control of Valeriu Verbitchi and City Hall. In addition, half of the property on which the building is located belongs to Valeriu. Next to that, there is a legal conflict between that half- owner and another one named Alexandru Gavrilescu. One opposes the Herculane project’s intervention in the building, while the other opposes its intervention without the court’s approval. Because of this, Băile Herculane’s future doesn’t appear to be very promising. The Herculane project will try its best to step in where it can within the bounds of the law in the interim.
Find the cat
In addition to the spectacular Băile Neptun, the city also features a few more fascinating abandoned structures. For instance, the Apollo Baths, a casino, and Pavilion 6 are some of these.
A Hercules temple and several Roman baths were found on the site of the Apollo Baths. In the middle of the 18th century, the structure was set on fire. After around 20 years, they rebuilt it. The structure was redone another 100 years later. The structure is currently undergoing severe degradation.
Bar at a casino
This abandoned casino, which was built in the late 19th century and has stunning hues, is truly a sight to behold. Beautiful baroque architecture is used to create this architectural gem. This space once hosted poker and roulette tournaments. Fortunately, this chamber has survived a significant building fire that occurred about 60 years ago. The paintings are therefore largely remain intact. The entrance to the bar and the outside passageways are equally magnificent to view. I captured the entryway to the bar in the image above. The severe degradation in this space is evident to all. The colors and architectural features, though, are stunning.
When it was first constructed in the early 19th century and burned down in 1900, Pavilion 6 was a fantastic hospice. The structure that is still there now was constructed at the start of the 20th century. The building’s architects participated in a competition. The structure is not only one of the most impressive ones in the town but also one of the last to be constructed. Currently, a huge sheet with a print of the building’s original facade has been used to cover the exterior of the structure. This print depicts the building’s final appearance because restoration work is now being done to it.
The Sisi Princess’s home
Apollo baths with marble basins
Long, lush hallway
I recently came back from a few months spent in Italy, where I took pictures of more than 100 deserted churches for my CHIESA project. I traveled to several incredible locations while researching the decline of the church in the country, which was a truly fascinating adventure. In addition, I’m collaborating on a project called Boys with Drones with my business partner, Sven van der Wal. We’re using a drone to fly around the globe and take overhead films and pictures of deserted locations. In order to document and write about the abandoned locations in Bali, I am currently planning to stay there for two months. The fourth quarter of this year will probably see the completion of the project.