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Abandoned Venice: The Ospedale al Mare

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This once proud hospital served the people of the Lido for over seventy years. The Ospedale al Mare was a product of alternative thought in medicine with an Italian twist. An innovative healthcare center, it was the only tuberculosis treatment center in the world which offered patients hydrotherapy, heliotherapy, beaches, and operas.

While fine arts and ocean spray may have helped patients, they couldn’t help the hospital. By the turn of the century a lack of funding and the condition of the now-antiquated facilities were key factors in its ultimate closure. Files and records were left behind when it was improperly abandoned in 2003; over a decade later, it still hasn’t seen use.

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Buried from the public: Hart Island, New York

September 20, 2014 45 comments

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At first glance this modest island in New York appears unremarkable. The 131-acre dark speck of land has crumbling buildings, is off-limits to the public, and has not been occupied for the last forty years. Area residents might know of Long Island Sound’s Hart Island, but few are familiar with its long-standing mission as the largest – and least visited – burial ground in the United States.

For one hundred and fifty years the island has also been home to a prisoner of war camp, an insane asylum, a quarantine facility, a tuberculosis sanatorium, a boy’s reformatory, a disciplinary barracks, a Nike Ajax missile base, and a narcotics rehabilitation center. Read more…

Stately in Abandonment: Witley Court

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During its heyday Witley Court was one of Europe’s most lavish Victorian estates. An iconic portico and timeless fountain – both penned by famed designers – are hallmarks of this West Midlands treasure. Nearly one hundred were on staff, and for centuries it served as a residence for British Lords who often entertained royalty.

However an early twentieth-century fire ravaged the building, and a prohibitive cost to rebuild forced the owners to abandon the home. It wasn’t until decades later the derelict building was rescued by a preservation commission, and today it stands as the grandest Victorian manor in arrested decay.

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World’s Oldest Space Launch Facility: The Baikonur Cosmodrome

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About 1,300 miles (2,100 km) southeast of Moscow in the desert steppe of Kazakhstan, the world’s oldest and largest operational space launch facility is still conducting launches. The Baikonur Cosmodrome was originally constructed by the Soviet Union in the late 1950s as the base of operations for its space program.

The Cosmodrome has been an important part of space exploration history, having been the launching site of earth’s first satellite and first man in space. Today operations have been scaled down, but it remains one of only a handful of active space launching facilities in the world.

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