Exploring Donauinsel IV

Exploring Donauinsel V by V-Light

  The Danube island is a little paradise in the middle of Vienna. It’s perfect for long bike rides, picnics, swimming or just sunbathing and from what i’ve seen also for fishing. I really love all the little floating fishing-boat-houses that can be found all along the shores of the Danube river. This one is equipped and ready for some serious grilling sessions under the warm summer sun. Not much of a sun in this photo but it’s coming! 😀

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The Red House

The Red House by V-Light
An abandoned beauty in the heart of Thessaloniki

  The so called “Red House” was built in 1926 by architect Gennari and engineer P. Stai on the account of the Loggos family. With four floors and strong influences from Art Nouveau, this house still makes a great impression to whoever passes by. It’s impossible not to notice in the heart of a mainly colorless city. The original design had only three floors but during the construction the owner decided to add one more. The name “Red House” was obviously given due to the red bricks and ceramic elements that were used in the exterior of the house.

   There are many stories about this building. Who knows which are true, if any… It all started like this: Mr.Loggos was the owner of a huge and very sophisticated textile company in Naousa, which was burned to the ground a few years after the “Red House” was completed. Paradoxically the construction company that built the house, unexpectedly went bankrupt at about the same time. The two incidents were enough to fuel the rumors that the house is cursed. Many people still believe that the house is haunted and that it is responsible for a number of suicides and men going mad. Some even go as far to say that it was inhabited by vampires…

  Until recently the house was owned by an old bizarre lady. It’s supposed to have been abandoned for over 30 years now but there have been reports that the old lady was still living inside the house, on the third floor, without electricity and running water. Maybe it was my imagination but i’ve seen some light coming from the third floor on rare occasions. My friends and i used to hang out close to this place and the house was visible from where we were sitting. Maybe the old lady was inside, walking around with a candle…or maybe one beer too many made us see lights where they didn’t exist 😛

  As with many of the abandoned buildings in Greece, this one has a crazy story when it comes to the law. In 2007, the then Minister of Culture issued an order to demolish it, even though it’s in great standing condition. Thankfully it didn’t go through and the next Minister of Culture canceled that order. I read somewhere that the house was recently put for sale and a rich private individual has bought it and plans to bring it back to its old glory. Let’s just hope he won’t stumble upon the ghost of the bizarre old lady and the vampires that haunt the house…

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One house and its secrets…

one_house_and_its_secrets_by V-Light
Abandoned mansion in Logothetou 1, Thessaloniki, Greece

 

  Another abandoned beauty in Thessaloniki, another house that we don’t know anything about…I tried researching online but i couldn’t find anything about it. So i decided to share what i learned from the house itself! It’s an old story but it still resonates within me. Let’s begin…

  Located in Logothetou street number 1, this beauty stands not too far from the seafront. I can imagine that back in the day it was one of the privileged mansions with a view to the sea, now the view is obscured by tall modern buildings. The last owner of the mansion was probably the architect/engineer, Menelaos Papadimas? I’m not sure for the last name as most of it is missing from the door bell tag.

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  The mansion was build in 1922 as we can tell from the side entrance. There are so many beautiful details no matter what side of the building you are looking at…

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  And by now you might be wondering what’s the secret i’m talking about…One night back in 2010, i was out with my friends and we dared each other that no one would dare to go inside. It was known that there was an open window behind the wooden shutters. All we had to do was climb up to the balcony on the first floor without getting noticed. We all managed to get inside. It was completely dark and as we didn’t come prepared for an urbex adventure, no one had a flashlight. We used the little light we could get from the illuminated screens of our cellphones. Of course i had a camera with me and i managed to take some photos. They are not anything great as i couldn’t even see what i was aiming at…All of them were taken with the on-camera flash and the composition was mostly random…

  Most rooms were empty…But two things caught my attention right as we entered. One was the sofa, that seemed to be in a very decent shape and second was a very creepy looking Christmas tree. It really made you wonder for how many years it was left there…Was it Christmas when the house was abandoned or was it placed later perhaps by a homeless person that found a temporary refuge in the mansion?

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  As we continued to explore, a few of my friends mentioned that they felt weird, as if we were not alone in the mansion. I’m not one to get scared easily, so i ignored their remarks about spirits and angry ghosts. We continued our way upstairs. Most rooms were empty again, until we reached the office room. Inside there was a desk, a big pile of books on the floor and some cylinders for carrying architectural designs. The books were a study on architecture written by the supposed owner of the mansion and they were either waiting to be sold or they were leftovers. I was really tempted to grab one of the books as a souvenir but then one of my friends started to act hysterically and they all left running downstairs leaving me with no time to take a proper photo of the office. I took a quick one as i left the room…

one_house_and_its_secrets_11_by V-Light

As i found my friends ready to leave, i tried to convince them that we still had to go to the basement. I had a feeling that this house had a lot more to be found and i was not afraid. I thought i might never get the chance to get inside again, so i wanted to fully explore it. Two of my friends said they didn’t want to see anything more and that it was too much for them, so they left and waited for us outside. We followed the stairs to the basement…

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  The door you see was locked tight but on the right hand side there was an open door that lead to something that looked more like a storage-room.  There was no paint on the walls, you could see bare stone and the room seemed to extent further than the base of the mansion, it gave me the impression as it was continued under the area of the front garden. I noticed two big chests, one of them was open and empty and the other locked and probably contained something because it was too heavy to lift…On the faded paper etiquette the only thing i could make out was the last name Schmidt and Griechenland (Greece in German). Schmidt is also a German name, so this chest was probably send from Germany to Greece…Who knows what there was inside…Your mind can only make assumptions…

 

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  There was an old flashlight in front of the chest, too bad it was not in working condition because the storage-room seemed to go on a lot further and i could see there were some big objects ahead. At that point i started to feel overwhelmed and that i shouldn’t be down there. I don’t believe in ghosts so i was not afraid like my friends who just begged me to leave but i was starting to get the chills when realizing that this basement was larger than the house itself. I suddenly had the gut feeling that something was wrong about this place…I wanted to stay and find out what that was but i decided that it was time to leave. We left almost running and it took a while to shake off the negative energy i had accumulated all of sudden. Other people might call it fear but for me it was the feeling of being somewhere i didn’t belong and maybe uncovering something that should be left a secret…

 

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All about the Salem Mansion

 

Introduction

 

front view on a snowy day
front view on a snowy day

  I had just moved to Thessaloniki and was eager to explore the city. At first sight it seemed like a gray and ugly place, so unfriendly and even scary. Having grown up in a small village that was surrounded by nature this city looked like a really bad idea to me. But i had to stay there as i was going to study what i loved the most (photography that is) and i should be grateful for that. Later on i would find that this city has given me some of the best experiences in my life, some of the most beautiful memories. So many sunsets at the seafront and i could never get enough. I always arranged my afternoon walk just before sunset. I never got bored walking around, discovering new places, old places looked different under a changed mindset. The city is alive, transforming, showing it’s glory to those who believe in it, to those who believe in magic.

  And then i saw it…The most beautiful building in this town. Abandoned, unattractive and waste of commercial space as most people would say. But still it stood there, weathered but majestic, standing tall after all this time, in the heart of a concrete city, surrounded by some “modern” 70’s apartment buildings. I just stood there in awe… Looking at the broken windows, absorbing the energy from its core, i was taken back in time. Suddenly everything around me was quiet and all the buildings around had disappeared. I could hear voices…i swear i could see people walking around, taking their hats off to greet each other, dirt roads and horse carriages passing by. A loud car honk, violently shook me back to the present time. For a moment there i had traveled back in time…and that’s how i fell in love…

History

 

   It was initially built in 1878 by famous architect Xenofon Peonidis, for a wealthy Jewish merchant named Jeborga. Located at Vasilisis Olgas 20 street, this majestic building was then part of the wealthy and multi-ethnic “Exoches” suburb, outside the city walls and was actually right next to the sea like all the luxury mansions in the area. Now there’s more than 200 meter distance from the water and that’s because in 1959 the promenade was extended into the sea in order to create a new front for the city. Also there is little left of the walls and this area is now considered to be part of the city center.

  So why is it called the “Salem Mansion”? In 1887, Emmanuel Salem bought the mansion from Jeborga and it would remain his family’s house for 30 years. The Salem family was part of the huge wave of Jewish refugees from Spain. Emmanuel Salem was a well-known lawyer and eminent member of the Jewish Community. His contribution to the city was immense as he founded many major infrastructure enterprises and corporations. As a result he was one of the most important personalities in Thessaloniki at the time and was awarded many honors for his involvement in post-WWI negotiations. During WWI and more specifically in 1915, the Salems leave the city and the mansion is being used as the Consulate of the Austro-Hungarian Empire for a little while. Then it becomes the base for the Italian Consulate, until the great 1978 earthquake hits the city and the Consulate is moved to another location.

  Since 1978, it’s been abandoned. The mansion remains a property of the Italian State and though there have been many studies and suggestions for renovation, nothing has gone through. All the doors have been barricaded, some even with brick walls from the inside and a tall fence with barbed wire ensures that no one enters. Entrance is sometimes granted to municipal staff in order to cut the grass which can grow really tall. The only inhabitants of the once majestic courtyard, are stray cats and birds who lend their songs and give life to a long dead place.

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An abandoned house in the heart of the city, still standing tall when time has shown no pity
And if you ever stop and stare…It will capture a part of your soul, so beware…

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Sit back and enjoy a little slideshow with a selection of 30 photos i took since 2007

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Check out my Redbubble store for a selection of Salem Mansion prints: www.redbubble.com/people/v-light

 

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