In the second half of the 18th century, the intellectual and artistic life was dominated by the romanticism movement that, among other things, glorified nature. More specifically, its members criticized in their artistic production humans’ departure from Nature with the advent of the industrial revolution. One of the artistic subjects of the paintings of the romantic period were ruins reclaimed by nature. More often than not, these paintings also depict a human figure that looks small and powerless when compared to the force of Nature. Both humans and what they create are powerless in the face of Nature. It is enough to think about the abandoned places reclaimed by it.
Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, Ukraine
The nuclear accident that occurred at the Chernobyl power plant in 1986 was caused many deaths and has lead to the territory near it completely abandoned. More than 20 years have passed since the Chernobyl accident. The area around the nuclear power plant is slowly becoming accessible to tourists. However, during this period of time, nature has reclaimed the buildings of the town in the area. Moreover, wildlife flourishes in it.
Old Poison Gas Factory in Japan
The Ōkunoshima island in the Hiroshima Prefecture is populated by many rabbits that take shelter in what once was chemical weapons manufacturing plant during World War II. It is also known as the Rabbit Island – Usagi Shima in Japanese. The gas plant was built between 1927 and 1929. Within its walls were produced more than six kilotons of tear gas and mustard gas.
The Ōkunoshima island was selected as the location for such activities mostly because of its isolation and because it was far enough from inhabited areas – such as Tokyo – in case of disaster. Many think that the rabbits that populate the island are the descendants of those employed to test the effectiveness of chemical weapons. However, this is not true. The rabbits that inhabit the island today are the offspring of those intentionally let loose in it since the island was to become a park after World War II.
Abandoned Places: Gouqi Island, China
Gouqi Island is one of the Shengsi Islands that are located east of Shanghai/Hangzhou. Here, there is a village called Houtouwan. This village that was once home to fishers became depopulated in 2002. Its 3,000 residents started to relocate in the ‘90. The abandoned village was reclaimed by nature. Today, the buildings of the town are entirely covered in moss and ivy.