Beautiful Decay: A Castle in Spain

Ransom Riggs

Last month I wrote about Abandoned Psych Wards Photographers Love Sneaking Into, and mentioned that my buddy Martino is one of my favorite urban explorer photographers. Well, he's got some new images up on his flickr stream that are some of the most beautiful -- and the most remarkably preserved -- photos of abandonment I've ever seen. The subject itself makes them remarkable -- the inside of a palatial home, which if it existed and was empty (and unguarded) in the United States, I'm almost certain would've been stripped bare long ago. I guess that's the difference between the US and Europe -- in Europe, cool-looking old buildings are downright common. In the US, everyone would be peeking in the windows.

Above is the library. Check out an amazing detail of the books on the shelves after the jump. (Yes, I said it. The jump.)

In many years of urban exploration, Martino says he's never seen books that decayed. They've literally fused into one giant mega-book.

Martino writes about his adventure:

After 3 months of intense research online and offline we gave up. The few pictures we saw of a beautiful castle in Spain could not give us a lead to point out the exact location of this place. Finally we turned to our contacts in Spain and after a few weeks we got a mail back that the castle might've been found. They checked it out and indeed it was the one. A short time later we flew to Spain and drove to a hostel in the neighbourhood. While we're chilling and having a beer we got a text message saying: "....the castle has been closed off...." The next morning we got up early and went to check out the castle ourselves. We found a way in but a door has been closed. Damn! Bart tries again leaning into the door and it gave way. Nobody has closed this off, there's been a small collapse just behind it. We spend a few hours inside photographing one the most untouched places I've seen so far. Sometimes we have to be really quiet because people are walking there dogs outside the castle Just at the other side of the wall from us.

I want to see pictures of the outside, of course, but if those got out, then it would be a whole lot easier for people to find this place, and spoil it. But it sounds from Martino's description like a kind of "urban" castle, IE a giant palatial home in the middle of a town.

Here's the master bedroom:

But the jewel in the crown, I think, are the kids' beds. It's straight out of a Tim Burton movie. Look at that wrought iron! And the light! Good god.

For more, check out Martino's flickr page.