Darmon Richter – thebohemianblog.com

Spent a couple of hours lost on thebohemianblog.com the other night, Darmon Richter’s online presence as an urban explorer and writer. Journeying down to Melbourne and picking up the second volume of Beauty In Decay (more on this later) it was pretty good timing to come across his recount of crawling through the city’s underground sewers,

Richter’s currently best known for his internet famous photos and writings from his journey to Ordos, “China’s Ghost City”, and the Kangbashi New Area within it. Built for a population of over a million yet largely inhabited, it struck fascination globally when Time magazine featured an article on it.

Richter managed to get a new spin on it however, digging deeper as he does and presenting some stunning pictures alongside recounting his experiences. Although urbex is what brought us to his site, he’s actually got even more to offer; Richter’s a fantastic travel writer. Active since 2011 (well 2012 really) the site’s split into “Dark Tourism’ and ‘Urban Exploration’, the former referring to places associated with tragedy, suffering or death.

Here’s links to five of the best from his blog, starting with Ordos parts one and two.


Built for over a million people, the city of Ordos was designed to be the crowning glory of Inner Mongolia. Doomed to incompletion however, this futuristic metropolis now rises empty out of the deserts of northern China. Only 2% of its buildings were ever filled; the rest has largely been left to decay, abandoned mid-construction, earning Ordos the title of China’s Ghost City.

Last year I travelled to Inner Mongolia for myself, to get a closer look at the bizarre, ghost metropolis of Ordos… and the experience, as I would discover, was far stranger than anything I could have prepared for.

Built for a population in excess of a million – yet largely uninhabited to this day – it’s little surprise that Ordos has earned itself the nickname of China’s Ghost City.

In this report I’ll be looking up-close at the Kangbashi New Area, the most recent addition to the city of Ordos; and by far its least populous district. Rather than photograph these buildings from afar though, when I visited Ordos in 2013 my plan was to get under the skin of this bizarre metropolis, examining it from inside, above and below.

You might have seen pictures of Ordos already… but in this report I hope to show you the Ghost City as you’ve never seen it before.
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In preparation for my trip to Bucharest, I spent a bit of time surfing the web – trying to get a feel for the city’s atmosphere, architecture and abandonments. I came across Locuri Uitate. The site is run by Peppy, whose extensive experience of urban exploration in Romania has allowed him to sample and report on an impressive cross section of the city’s secret places.

I got in touch, and Peppy was delighted to meet up and give me a tour of his city; starting with one of his own favourites sites, the abandoned subterranean stronghold known as the Leordeni Fortress.
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Sometimes people ask me what was the most stupid thing I’ve ever done. I don’t normally think long when answering, instead simply blurting out, “Maze Drain.”

It’s not that this Australian drain was all so very dangerous; in fact, most of the network was a lot of fun to explore. Other parts, however, were not. This is a story I’ve been meaning to tell for a long time, and, by way of a disclaimer, it’s not going to make me popular with either claustrophobic nor arachnophobic readers.

Make sure you’re sitting comfortably, as I have a feeling this one is going to be a long post – it was, after all, a hell of a long drain.
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The River Effra is one of London’s great lost waterways. Rising near Crystal Palace, its course flows through Norwood, Dulwich, Herne Hill, Brixton and Kennington, before finally emptying into the Thames beside Vauxhall Bridge. Since Victorian times this ancient river has been lost from sight however, flowing through subterranean passages and drains deep beneath the city streets.

I took a trip down to London Below, in order to walk the course of this long-forgotten Thames tributary.
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The Russian State Company for Satellite Communications (or “Подведомственное Федеральному агентству связи ФГУП Космическая связь”) controls the majority of satellite transmissions in and out of the Russian Federation. The company owns satellite centres in a number of towns dotted around the Moscow region, or ‘oblast’ – including the Satellite Communications Centre (SCC) at Dubna, as well as further installations in nearby Vladimir and Medvezhy Ozera.

However, there are numerous other satellite dishes dotted around Moscow Oblast… and unlike those maintained by the RSCC, many of them have been left to slowly rust. I was staying at a hostel in Moscow city centre, when I got chatting to someone else crazy enough to go looking for these forgotten monstrosities; by the next morning we had gathered a party of four, hired a car, and were on our way.
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