Haunting photographs show faded grandeur of Italian villas and brutalist blocks in the former USSR

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Haunting photographs by an urban explorer show the faded opulence of Italian villas, crumbling brutalist blocks in the former USSR and the desolation of the famous Motor City of Detroit. 

Henk Van Rensbergen, a former airline pilot from Belgium, journeyed across the globe during his career, combining his fascination with the abandoned and his passion for photography.

His latest project provides a fascinating glimpse into Abkhazia – a partially recognised state in northwestern Georgia – which has defied Georgian rule in bitter and violent conflict since the dissolution of the USSR.

Van Rensbergen’s new book ‘Abandoned Places: Abkhazia Edition’ illustrates how the collapse of the USSR has left Abkhazia in limbo, with many of its war-ravaged buildings standing in ruin.

In addition, his book includes a rotting amusement park in Japan, decaying mansions in northern Italy, empty churches and hotels in Detroit and a stunning war memorial in Croatia.

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