Saturday, 4 May 2013

Access to zones is getting more limited

The other day, I came across this excellent website, (those last four letters before the top-level domain, 'zone', by happy coincidence), with photos of abandoned places in Poland and indeed around the world. Here on Warsaw's southern fringes, there are fewer and fewer such places to explore. It's that time of year when the atmosphere (klimat) of the Andrei Tarkovsky film Stalker is strongest in my mind.

Below: until Poland joined NATO and the EU, air traffic control for Okęcie airport was still conducted along Soviet military lines. In 2004, this military radio beacon station, just off ul. Karczunkowska, to the west of ul. Kurantów, stopped transmitting. The radio towers have long since come down; the land is still owned by the state. Looking at Google Earth maps of this area from 2002 to the present, one can see how much land has been developed. Not here however; an asset as precious as land just sitting, guarded, useless... A security guard is sitting outside the low grey building in the distance.

Below: the south-west corner of the base. I poke my lens through the perimeter fence. The place beckons me to explore, but it is well enclosed with barbed wire and thick thorn bushes. What lies inside? I'd love to find out...

I proceed from here, Dawidy Poduchowne, via Zgorzała, to Zamienie. I've posted about Zamienie before; back in communist times this was the BIOMED vaccine factory (Zakład Wytwórni Surowic i Szczepionek „BIOMED”) surrounded by houses for workers. To see how it looked a few years after it was abandoned, click here.

Above: Zamienie in 2002. Just Biomed, nothing more. By 2012 (below), the factory's long gone, many new houses have appeared here, and most of the old factory buildings have been torn down.

Left: a neoclassical colonnade; in the front of the building that houses the electricity generator for the the plant. This is still working, producing power for the remaining cottages that are found in the central area of the old Zakład. I rather suspect this is social housing, where the city evicts non-rent-paying families to, but I might be wrong.

Below: some mossy stonework is all that's left of the row of buildings on the southern side of the Zakład. Developers had hoped to fill this area with hundreds of houses, but the recession came along. Having said that, I noticed today that a new development is springing up to the north of Zamienie.

Below: pond in Zamienie, harking back to pre-war days when this was a family-owned estate.

This part of Warsaw's southern fringes is becoming increasingly civilised, without any great abandoned zones worthy of exploration any more. This has happened at PGR Mysiadło and the old Lamina factory in Piaseczno. Which is good, but kind of sad too. [Click on the label Zamienie below for more posts from here, dating back to 2007.]

This time two years ago:
I awake to snow, on 4 May

This time six years ago:
This is not America. No?

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