By Josh Saunders
An urban explorer has shared his ULTIMATE TOP TEN abandoned locations from all over the world.
Bob Thissen, 33, for Heerlen, The Netherlands, started investigating local eerie decaying spots during his teens, now he’s visited over 50 countries and thousands of locations for more than a decade.
From the abandoned ruins of war-torn hotels to forgotten mansions in the woods and dangerous nuclear fallout zones, his travels take him all over the world.
Often requiring weeks of planning to reach the locations and sometimes sneak past security, the adrenaline filled adventures are documented in his series ‘Exploring the Unbeaten Path’.
Now having released a book to commemorate his travels, he is releasing his personal top ten locations to share the impressive sights many will never get a chance to see.
The selected few range from a Scottish oil rig to the chilling remnants of Fukushima, space shuttle military bases, theme parks reclaimed by nature, and more.
Bob said: “These locations are well preserved, have natural decay, a lot of history and you can spend days in there without getting bored.
“They are the coolest locations I have visited in the past decade.
“I often have to laugh when I see other ‘top abandoned places’ because there are often just some ruins in those lists.
“It’s a nice way to discover the world. You visit area’s and countries you wouldn’t have seen if you didn’t visit abandoned buildings.
“You also learn a lot about history, geography, how things work.
“You see a lot of types of buildings which most people never get to see.
“Most places are like a museum, but without a guide and limitations.
“Most buildings should be a museum, but most of the time there’s simply no money for it. Often these buildings are heritage.
“It’s also full of adrenaline and adventure, every trip is another adventure and you never know what will happen and where you end up.“It’s some kind of off the beaten path tourism.”
Placing at number ten, was Holmesburg Prison in Philadelphia, USA, a former prison where medical experiments were conducted on detainees between 1961 – 1974.
Bob said: “We still found beds from those times and books from that time. The prison canteen was still there.
“There was a very ghostly atmosphere, a bit like in a horror movie. The cells had thick walls and small windows. Not the nicest place to sit.”
For number nine, Bob selected the many abandoned castles he had visited, particularly those hidden away from vandals deep in the woods or out of sight.
He added: “In those castles you can sometimes find almost complete household wires. As if the residents suddenly went up in smoke. “
Battleship Island, in Japan, claimed number eight, which was bough by Mitsubishi to extract coal from the sea and an artificial city arose.
Bob said: “It was inhabited until 1974, after which it became a ghost island.
“It served as a setting for the James Bondfilm Skyfall and has been Unesco World Heritage since 2015.”
In seventh, was Glück Kingdom, an amusement park based on German designs and buildings, including tributes to Brothers Grimm and their chilling fairy tales.
Bob who described it as a “megalomaniac project”, added: “The amusement park opened in 1989, but was abandoned 20 years later
“The attractions are now rusting. It has something apocalyptic. Remarkable: the makers copied all kinds of German buildings.
“One of those buildings was demolished stone by brick in Germany and rebuilt in Japan. “
In sixth place, was Nara Dreamland an impressive Disney-inspired amusement park in Japan.
It would eventually go bankrupt after a real Disneyland opened in Tokyo.
Bob said: “Nara Dreamland had a lot of attractions, including four large roller coasters. We got there just in time for demolition in 2016
“Nature had completely claimed the park. “
Claiming fifth position, was a discarded army diving boat off the coast of Portugal, the secret location left them battling with security.
Bob said: “We swam and had to make sure we were not seen by guards from the navy. It was one of the most special things we already did.
“Most discarded submarines are stripped, but these were still completely preserved as they used to be.
“We slept in the torpedo room, where the casings of the torpedoes were still visible. “
Bob considers The Colbert to be number four, which has remained in a French port.
It was destined to be scrapped until the 1990s when it was converted into a museum, since closing in 12 years ago, new plans are in place to demolish it.
Bob said: “Because the maintenance costs increased, it was closed in 2006 and dragged to Landevennec, where we visited it.”
In third place was an abandoned oil rig off the Scottish coast of Cromarty Firth, which he and other explorers visited for a weekend.
Bob said: “Once we had to hide hastily because a boat was approaching.
“Two days after I put the video online, I read on the website of the BBC that an investigation into our adventure had been started by the police.
“More than a year later we have not heard from it yet. I have taken the video offline for certainty.”
For second was Fukushima, for it’s haunting remains of areas where residents went “head over heels”.
He believes the site is just about bad as it was seven years ago after the nuclear power plant accident.
Bob said: “We moved into the forbidden zone with our camera, where light radiation is still being measured and the perfect post-apocalyptic images can be made.
“Everywhere you are reminded of the suffering that has happened. “
Topping all others for the urban explorer was an abandoned military base that contained space shuttles.
Bob spent three days in the dessert in order to reach the location, which was by far the hardest of his adventures, yet the most rewarding.
“It was heavily guarded and we had to hide all the time.
“In a few sheds there were two space shuttles, copies of the aircraft with which the Americans entered space last century.
“There was also a device that had actually been in space.”
Bob became fascinated with old, history-rich locations that had been forgotten during his teen years.
Eventually he would go onto start the YouTube series, Exploring the Unbeaten Path, to document his travels.
Bob has released a book to commemorate his journeys, entitled: ‘Exploring the Unbeaten Path – Documenting the Most Amazing Abandoned Locations Worldwide’.
This is the first volume he has released, which can be bought online for 39.95EUROS (36GBP/46USD).
In the book there are over 400 photographs taken in over 50 countries, as well as interactive links that connect back to the adventures on his YouTube series.
Bob said: “It shows people what kind of amazing locations are abandoned, what they leave behind, lost history and inspiration.
“There are also QR codes, where you can see the adventure behind the photo. Often it takes a lot of courage and effort to get inside these places before you can start taking photos.”
BOB THISSEN’S TICK LIST FOR GREAT ABANDONED LOCATIONS
-A location which is unique, one of a kind.
-Has an interesting history
-Has pure decay
-Locations which normal people don’t get to see
-Difficult to get inside
-Not many people have been there
BOB THISSEN’S TOP TEN ABANDONED LOCATIONS IN THE WORLD
10 – Holmesburg Prison, America
9 – Empty Castles, various
8 – Battleship Island, Japan
7 – Glück Kingdom, Japan
6 – Nara Dreamland, Tokyo
5 – Abandoned Army Diving Boat, Portugal
4 – The Colbert Navy Ship, France
3 – Abandoned Oil Rig, Scotland
2 – Fukushima, Japan
1 – Shuttles on Military Domain, Kazakhstan