Urban Exploration, Urbex: definition, how to start and what is it?

What is Urban Exploration.

Zdjęcie eksploratora z opuszczonym pałacem w tle
Photo of the explorer near an abandoned palace

Urban Exploration (urbex) is to discover man-made sites, which are usually abandoned or hardly available to get inside. These include: manors, palaces, factories, hospitals, churches, railway buildings or military buildings. Those who practice urbex often show interest in history or photography, that's why a lot of them writing history or took photos of abandoned places. Currently exploration is becoming more popular, which is not necessarily good: a large group of people instead of respecting beauty of abandoned places, devastates them or drawing graffiti.

Abandoned gasworks building
Abandoned gasworks building.

So who are those crazy people who like to visit abandoned places and why they do it? They are photographers who thinks that dirty and ruined places are worth seeing and sharing to other people. The second group are historians or people interested in history - they pay attention to the remains of those who worked or lived in abandoned place. These people want to fell history not only from books or the Internet. The last group are simply explorers looking for thrills and there's no doubt that ruined buildings can give you a lot of it.

Exploration is not easy nor safe. The entry for certain objects may be associated with breaking the law and the consequences can be much more sinister than just paying a large mandate. The vast majority of interesting buildings are also protected: either by security companies, Railway Protection Service, or even by alarms or motion detectors. Abandoned places can collapse, staircases usually do not have any railings, which may result in fall several floors down. The ceilings can crack, there can be an electric cables, toxic waste, chemicals, stray dogs or homeless people (who usually do not like when we enter their "home"). However for some people including me, all the risk is worth their effects.

Abandoned protestant church
Abandoned protestant church.

There is something stunning in seeing trees growing out from inside the hotel bedroom or wallpaper hanging from the walls on the mossy floor. It's like looking behind the scenes at the world around you through the keyhole.

It is worth to say that the real explorers are guided by a kind of code, which can be described by one sentence:

Take only photos, leave only footprints.

The idea is not to destroy or take anything from places that are often associated with a history or are monuments. There are a lot of situations, when I visited places after, for example a year, and it got completely ruined.

It is without a doubt the reason that most explorers don't like to talk about abandoned places location. This is not a selfish desire to have it on his own, but the concern about objects to last as long as possible.

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