Abandoned Church – Kurgan Oblast, Russia
(image via: Photorator/Oleg Astakhov)
Kurgan Oblast can be found in south-central Russia, east of Chelyabinsk (where the meteor fell). The district is home to dozens of abandoned churches both Orthodox and Catholic – the latter built by Polish immigrants in the late 18th century. War and political upheaval have conspired to make churches like the one above dinosaurs bereft of funding and parishioners. Why does the supposedly abandoned church above have its lights on? Only photographer Oleg Astakhov knows for sure!
Taiban Presbyterian Church – New Mexico, USA
The ranching community of Taiban, New Mexico was founded in 1906 and one of the first orders of business was building a church. By 1908, the Taiban Presbyterian Church was conducting regular weekly services while serving as the town’s spiritual center. By 1936, however, the church and much of Taiban itself had been abandoned. Where, when and why did it all go wrong?
(image via: Abandoned Sacred)
Back in the “Dirty Thirties”, agricultural endeavors across a generous swath of the American Great Plains were whipsawed by the Great Depression’s economic conditions and the Dust Bowl’s catastrophic climate. Praying for better times won’t pay the bills nor feed families, and we’ll have to assume the Taiban Presbyterian Church’s congregation – minister included – made like the Okies and fled west to California. From the image above it would appear they didn’t let the door smack ’em on the rear when they left.
Abandoned Church – Ani, Armenia/Turkey
(images via: Nate Robert/Yomadic)
A thousand years ago, the Armenian city of Ani was home to as many as 200,000 people and one heck of a lot of churches: Ani’s nickname was “the city of 1,000 churches”. A catastrophic earthquake in the year 1319 put an end to Ani and shook its thousand churches to their foundations. Precious few remains – the city was never rebuilt and that alone has saved what’s left from the depredations of builders over the next seven centuries. Full props to Nate Robert of Yomadic for these striking and sobering images.