This weekend I headed out with the gf in tow to check out some abandoned buildings in the fine city of Moscow. As it turns out, there’s tons of them, although finding them and accessing them is just a shade under legal.
Usually my weekends would be spent grooming my mullet in a sham effort to imitate a real Russian muzhik haircut, but this week it was time to try something new.
An interesting Russian travel startup called Sputnik got in touch with me and invited me to try out some of their tours, except they’re not quite a typical operation. They have a roster of guides that offer stuff ranging from walking tours, tours of roofs in Saint Petersburg and underground cave stuff in Moscow.
Caving around the city
While I quite fancied the idea of the underground stuff I decided something less messy with more photo opportunities would be a better call so I choose the abandoned places tour.
For this option you need to speak Russian as some tours are only available with Russian guides, however, if you have a Russian buddy or girlfriend, you can drag them along for translation.
For some reason, it didn't occur to me that accessing these places was not actually legal, but illegal stuff is always more fun.
crime is the secret ingredient.
Our guide was a recently graduated helicopter engineer called Sasha who has been finding abandoned places all around Russia for about six years. He’s also traveled around England and Europe photographing abandoned places there.
I contacted Sasha and he recommended we see an abandoned children’s’ psychiatric ward and the old Zil factory.
The first place was about 5 minutes away from Prospeckt Mira. Weather wasn't great and we weren't really dressed for it, since fence climbing was involved.
Access point one
Once we had scaled the fence (this tour may not be great for the chubbier expats) we headed over to one of the buildings where Sasha had an access point prepared.
Again, chubbier expats may have some trouble
So we tooled around there for an hour, taking pictures and savoring the, erm, abandoned vibes.
Once I got enough pictures, we headed to Avtozavodskaya to check out the factory, a huge, huge complex.
Sadly we couldn't actually get to explore this one properly, well me and Sasha could, but my gf was unable to scale the fence.
Because of the obstacle, I decided to just see one part in brief and snap a few shots.
The most interesting part, some design office or something, was too far away and I didn't want to leave my girlfriend hanging for long by the rail tracks.
otherwise known as rape alley
When all was said and done, it was a pretty interesting day, more tiring than expected. In the future I might go and check out some more sites, after all, Sasha is a walking encyclopedia on all things abandoned.
If any of you readers, slender expats or local Russians are interested in trying a different type of tourism, something like this might be worth checking out.
You can get some more ideas at Sputnik in English, or Russian (the Russian site has a different selection of tours). Alternatively if you want to explore some abandoned spots, shoot Sahsha a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
He also has some pretty awesome pictures which are worth a look, you can check some out his stuff in his online album.