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How to Find Abandoned Places: A Guide for Urban Explorers

Exploring abandoned places can be a thrilling and enriching experience, offering a unique glimpse into the past and a chance to discover forgotten stories. Whether you're a seasoned urban explorer or a curious newcomer, finding these hidden gems requires a mix of research, patience, and respect for the locations you visit. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to find abandoned places for your next adventure.

1. Online Research

The internet is your most powerful tool for locating abandoned places. Here are some effective ways to use it:

Urban Exploration Websites and Forums:

Websites of urban explorers and forums dedicated to urban exploration are treasure troves of information. Members share photos and videos, but rarely the exact locations. Is finding the location still an issue? Let’s move forward…

Social Media:

Platforms like Instagram, Reddit, and Facebook have dedicated groups and hashtags (e.g., #urbex, #abandonedplaces) where explorers share their finds and tips. Research each photo in detail; you may see something written on the wall, documents, or posters that can disclose the location. If there is a horizon, that makes things easier! Try to identify familiar buildings and mountains.



For example, in this image, G. Mattu inadvertently revealed the location of the mosaic. Meanwhile, many were asking, "Where is this?" Lol. Image credits: G. Mattu



Google Earth and Maps:

Use satellite imagery to spot potentially abandoned buildings and structures. Look for signs of decay, rusty roofs, overgrown vegetation, and lack of maintenance, and no cars parked nearby.

Remember, Google Earth is your most reliable tool in finding the best places, but it requires time and dedication. Thanks to it, you may find places that no one has ever stepped in. Sometimes, after checking the building, you may be disappointed, but the reward comes to the most talented, hardworking, and dedicated explorers!




Google Earth is such a powerful tool that you can even find crushed planes in the mountains! When it comes to finding crushed planes I should probably dedicate another article to it! Meanwhile a small task: The accident happened in 1990 in Armenia. Where is the plane?


 

2. Historical Research

Understanding the history of an area can lead you to abandoned sites. Here’s how to dig deeper:

Local Archives and Libraries: Visit local archives, libraries, and historical societies to find old maps, documents, and records of now-defunct industries, bunkers, schools, and other establishments.

Newspaper Archives: Search for articles about business closures, natural disasters, or economic downturns that might have led to abandonment. For example thanks to “Soviet Art” Armenian magazine we learned about a lot of hidden artworks which in fact survived up to moderns days.





Thanks to the Soviet Armenian magazine "Soviet Art," I learned about this fresco


Books and Documentaries:

There are numerous books and documentaries on urban decay and abandoned places that can provide leads and inspiration.


3. Networking with Local Explorers

Building connections with other urban explorers can be invaluable. Here’s how to connect:

Meetup Groups:

Look for local urban exploration or photography meetup groups where members share information and organize joint explorations.

Online Forums and Social Media Groups:

Join online communities where you can ask questions, share experiences, and get recommendations.

Attending Events:

Attend urban exploration conferences, talks, and workshops to meet like-minded people and learn about new locations.

Social Networks:

Get acquainted with professionals by showing interest and passion for their work.


Important Reminder for Novice Urban Explorers:

Please refrain from sending the following message to urban explorers: "Hello, where is this?"


Remember: Every piece of information has value. To build a strong and supportive community, always offer something in exchange for what you seek. This reciprocal approach fosters trust and collaboration within the community.

 

4. Fieldwork and Scouting

Sometimes, nothing beats old-fashioned scouting. Here’s how to do it effectively:

Drive or Walk Around: Spend time driving or walking through older parts of towns and cities. Look for telltale signs of abandonment like boarded-up windows, overgrown lots, and faded signs.

Ask Locals:

Engage with local residents, especially older ones, who might have knowledge of abandoned places and their histories. In return, they may ask why you want to find those places. Be prepared with a convincing explanation that you are not a looter. Show gratitude for their help, and if someone is hesitant to share information, politely offer something in return to express your thanks. Carrying a big camera often helps create a trustworthy atmosphere. I know this from personal experience.

Follow Leads:

Keep an eye out for leads while exploring other sites. One abandoned place often leads to another.


5. Using Technology

Leverage technology to enhance your search:

Drones:

Use drones to get a bird’s-eye view of large areas and spot potential sites that are difficult to see from the ground. Fly high to avoid cables and for staying unnoticed.

 

Conclusion

Finding abandoned places requires a mix of online research, historical digging, networking, and good old-fashioned exploration. By using these strategies and respecting the locations, you can uncover hidden gems and enjoy the unique thrill of urban exploration. Safe and memorable exploration!

In this article you can find more information on how to urbex.

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