Churches play a central role in many cultures. They are meeting places to find joy, peace or comfort together. They also belong to the townscape like hardly any other building and it is, therefore, no wonder that they are often considered landmarks. Many of them are several centuries old and we preserve them as best we can. But still, like everything human-made, they also have an expiration date. The reasons why churches, mosques, and co. decayed are different.
The deeply religious country Italy, in particular, has a high density of old abandoned churches, which is not least due to the fact that the country was repeatedly hit by natural disasters. It is really sad to see because the value of the buildings goes beyond religion. Some of them are real masterpieces of interior design and handicrafts.
I have written a small story about this, which keeps haunting my mind while I take pictures of abandoned places. This time I thought I'll let you dive a little further into my world:
When he reaches for his rosary, he is overcome with melancholy and his otherwise unshakable nature reveals an old man with glassy eyes. His little house is very simple. Creaking wooden floor, bare plastered walls, an old bed with a cross of Jesus hanging over it and a Bible on the bedside table. A poor old man as you can often find him in the old mountain villages of Italy and yet he was not just anyone.
Father Danielle was a pastor in the small community of the southern Italian province of Campania for almost 40 years. In the village he was a preacher, chaplain, and friend who you sometimes met with an espresso in the bar. Almost a saint, who apparently had a solution to every problem. But now he too was just a broken old man, whose prayers had apparently not been answered, because Mother Nature and Father Time were for Father Danielle's destiny.
The village church was once the pride of the small community. Built sometime in the 16th century, it has been enthroned on the steep green slopes of the municipality ever since. Elaborate ceiling paintings and fine stucco decorate the interior of the church. Despite all the splendor, a dark cloud hovers over this splendor. For decades it has only been sporadically maintained, deep cracks run through the masonry, erosion gnaws at the once rock-solid foundation and now... "Oh Lord forgive me this damn earthquake", swears Father Daniele, who otherwise never mastered it lost. Despair is written on his face at his last mass. "What will become of our community now" shrieks an old woman in tears from the first row of the musty pews. If only Father Daniele had an answer ready, as is usually the case.
The community is poor, but so far he has been able to repair a lot himself or consult the local artisans. But after the renewed earthquake, it is simply no longer feasible and the church could collapse at any time. The bishop has united the faith community with the next larger community and the village church will soon be desecrated. For the majority of the older residents, the village, 18 kilometers away, is too far and for Father Daniele there is no more space in the neighboring community.
"Nothing! We can not do anything!" Father Danielle replies in a loud and desperate voice. “Let's say one last prayer together again. That's all! In fenim!"
Out Of The Dark
A hidden beauty that is hidden on an island of a lake. Not only the way there needed more effort than usual, but also the church. It was pitch dark inside and it took several tries and patience to get a decent picture.
This chapel differed in its octagonal construction. It is not uncommon for churches and chapels to be built in this way, but this was unusual due to the narrow construction. And the fern did the rest to make me rave.
A huge church that belongs to an abandoned hospital and impresses with its height and colors.
When the sun kisses the dust, it often creates a magical atmosphere.
When the sun hits the stained glass windows of this chapel of an abandoned monastery school, you can watch an exciting play of light.
Nature still creates the most beautiful sceneries.
The Garden Of Mindless
One of the most beautiful churches I have visited so far. Located with abandoned psychiatry which was originally a monastery.
This old organ survived a severe earthquake. With a few scratches, it stands there bravely and waits for the next one to play on it.
The fate of the church is really unique. It is also known as "the submerged church", "the church in the water" or "the sinking church". In the nineteenth century, the land on which it was built began to sink, and an underground spring that rose from the ground flooded the church, which had to be abandoned.
By chance, we discovered an old sideling with a small church on the side of the path. When we entered the church we were a bit shocked because the bones of several people were lying on the ground. Grave robbers were probably already at work here.
Excavations were carried out in this church a long time ago but were probably left to decay for cost reasons. The rediscovered and well-preserved paintings are particularly interesting.
Glory Never Disappears
Another historical victim of an earthquake. Entering this church was really dangerous because it was just like a house of cards. That the chandelier was still attached to a miracle.
Located in an active cemetery, this white beauty is waiting to be saved.
Small And Fine
If the window hadn't given them away, we would never have discovered this little treasure. This intense blue in the decayed environment provided a wonderful contrast.
A rescue attempt has been made here for several years. Unfortunately, especially in very small municipalities, there is simply a lack of money.
When the roof of this church collapsed years ago, Mother Nature joined Maria and co. This resulted in a really nice scenario.
Skulls And Bones
Decay not only spills things but sometimes also reveals hidden things. So it can sometimes happen that the bones are discovered by people buried under the church.
Let Me Rest
This church or the entire place was hit so hard in a severe earthquake that no one has returned for 11 years. Unfortunately, these places are repeatedly haunted by thieves who steal their legacies from these people who have been hit by fate.
This church of an abandoned holiday home is somewhat out of style. It was probably built in the 1960s.
A stunning abandoned church in the south of Italy. This church was the inspiration for my little story.
More Than Religion
I am not a believer in religion myself, but I am always fascinated by the artistic work and the symbolism.
This little chapel can only be found if you know that it exists. The land on which it stands was used as building ground at some point. For whatever reason, a ruin remained. However, somehow this chapel was somehow potted between concrete buildings beforehand. The two statues also look a bit irritated.
In this old monastery, I was particularly fascinated by the beautiful little angels who look like they are watching over the visitors.
The Suffering Of Christ
An almost life-size statue of Jesus left behind.
This small church was also rather atypical and I could not find out exactly what purpose it served.
Unfortunately, the statue of Santa Maria has since lost her head, but this church still exudes an indescribable beauty.
The Sixth Family
Sometimes I discover old religious relics that were left behind.
Back To The Roots
In the mid-1980s, the village in which this church stand was destroyed by an earthquake. Tree roots permeate the building of this church.
Do you remember the skull at the beginning of the photo gallery? This is the right church for it. We have put the skull back in its tomb and hope that it stays there.
A prayer room in an old monastery.
This old monastery church was on a mountain, almost nowhere. While getting out of breath on the way up, I was overtaken by 2 old Italian ladies. I swallowed my pride and blamed the ladies' good genes.
Larger villas and country estates mostly had their own chapels, even more often several. This once belonged to a magnificent city palace.
The Blue Altar
There were also churches in the fields, especially at country estates, so that field workers did not have long ways to pray.
The earthquake destroyed almost everything in this church and the more incredulous I look at the great stucco work that was spared from the destruction.
I don't know how long this church has been abandoned. But surely she had a great color once.
In this side part of a ghost town church, verdigris creates a completely new wall color.