Quest for the Corn King and the Spring Queen

Scythian pagan rituals may have informed this rarely seen set of monumental sculptures, cast using experimental concrete techniques. In 1964, acclaimed British sculptor William Mitchell created a magnificent work of art for the British Cement Association in Wexham Springs, Buckinghamshire. Seeing photos of that sculpture on the internet for the first time was somewhat unsettling… Read More

The Dinosaur Court

London’s fantastical Victorian bestiary of prehistoric creatures remains awe inspiring despite its age A few years ago, I spent a morning in south London, looking for the beautiful remains of Crystal Palace – one of the grand feats of engineering that epitomised the Victorian era. Joseph Paxton, the renowned Victorian gardener and architect, was behind… Read More

Eternal Youth: The workers’ settlement at Aspra Spitia

Aluminium of Greece (AL) was launched in 1960 as a joint venture between the government of Greece and an industrial conglomerate led by the historic French firm Pechiney, a world leader in aluminium manufacturing. As a result, the first aluminium production facility in the country opened on the northern coast of the Corinthian Gulf in… Read More

An Ideal for Learning : the Round School at Athens

Agios Dimitrios, (often referred to with its pre-1928 name, Brahami) is one of the most densely populated suburbs of Athens – a density that’s comparable to that of Cairo, or Seoul. The typical expedience and maladministration that characterised post-war Greece has left its indelible mark in the suburb’s architecture: its arbitrarily arranged streets define pocket… Read More

Sacred Inspiration : the Church of Agia Foteini Mantineias

In the sunlit Arcadian plain close to the ancient city of Mantineia in Greece, there’s a church like no other. It’s an astonishing melange of styles, combining elements of Classical, Byzantine and Modern architecture, and yet remaining true to none. Its construction is the life’s work of architect and iconographer Kostas Papatheodorou, who has delivered… Read More

Second Chance Motel : rediscovering a hidden architectural gem by the motorway

“Blue hotelOn a lonely highwayBlue hotelLife don’t work out my way” Blue Hotel (1986) by Chris Isaac An unassuming old motel next to a motorway outside Athens is an almost forgotten Brutalist gem with a glorious past. In its heyday, the main motorway linking the greater metropolitan area of Athens to the city of Corinth… Read More

Killing him softly : velvet vandalism on Kyjov’s Lenin statue

“Go and look for the dejected once proud Idol remembered in stone aloud Then on coins his face was mirrored Take a look it soon hath slithered To a fractured marble slab, renunciation clad His nourishment extract from his subjects That mass production profile” Bauhaus – God in an Alcove (1980) Eodem Tempore – at… Read More

Peiraiki-Patraiki : the chronicle of an industry’s death foretold

“So many coincidences for the untrammelled fulfilment of a death so clearly foretold.” Gabriel Garcia Marques, Chronicle of a Death Foretold The tall, ghostly tower is a familiar sight at the waterfront industrial zone of Patras, Greece. Visible from the 6 lane motorway upon entering the city from the west, the Peiraiki-Patraiki tower is standing… Read More

Dark Modernism : the forgotten story of an abandoned Jewish boarding school

The premises of a groundbreaking Jewish boarding school played an active role in both WW1 and WW2, and hide some rarely seen Modernist architecture – but also dark stories of child abuse. The country south of Oxford is simply beautiful, in a typical English way. Gently rolling hills and endless green pastures give way to… Read More

The eagle dance of Zeybekiko : an expression of the Greek soul

The unique, soulful Greek dance called Zeybekiko is steeped in folk tradition, has no specified steps or moves, and yet captures the essence of Greek character. I attempt to explain what it’s all about. I was recently invited to capture my nephew’s christening in photography. Christenings, weddings and other family gatherings are important social happenings… Read More

Tubular Monuments : the strange allure of basic geometric shapes

“What the fuck are they gonna do with all these tubes? What the hell do they need all these tubes for? Should we perhaps carry the oceans inside all these tubes?” from the song Tubes by Lost Bodies *You’re welcome to expand this article by submitting your photo and description to explore@explorabilia.co.uk   Let there be… Read More

The Pantheon of Energy : mythology and symbolism in Chernobyl

“Borrowed time and borrowed world and borrowed eyes with which to sorrow it.” Cormac McCarthy, The Road There were no other cars but ours on the long, abandoned motorway to Pripyat. The last living souls we’d seen were the last chance saloon keepers and armed guards at the Exclusion Zone Border about 15 miles ago.… Read More

To catch a Gotha : Exploring a forgotten air raid warning technology on the English coast

In this era of satellite imaging, drone strikes and stealth bombers, it’s hard to imagine an air war the way it was experienced a century ago. I remember myself sitting in front of a TV in the comfort of my living room in January 1991, watching explosion flashes in an eerie green hue – the… Read More

Domein Hofstade : The beautiful ghost of a public swimming pool in Flanders

The Hofstad Swimming Pool is one of the most strangely alluring abandoned places I’ve ever been : this is because it was never really supposed to be there by design, but also because after a short but vibrant participation in the history of social recreation, it is currently returning back to oblivion – almost as… Read More

The Well of Death : Visiting the dark site of Greece’s most infamous Civil War atrocity

In the aftermath of the Axis occupation of Greece, the quaint Greek village of Meligalas in the southern region of Messinia became the site of one of the darkest pages in Greek history, when communist guerrillas of EAM-ELAS encircled the retreating forces of the right wing Security Battalions, and after defeating them in pitched combat,… Read More

The Walking City : How Futurism and Cold War paranoia inspired London’s most visionary architects

“…emerging through a cloud of fumes, the Hayward Gallery rose up on its giant insect-like legs, dust and debris crumbling around it, water from the severed pipes and electric cables crackling in the darkness below. Then a primal roar sounded from the building’s massive ventilation shafts, the sound of a concrete and steel beast, rising… Read More

The Garden of Forgotten Delights : a graveyard for Bulgaria’s old Soviet monuments.

In the outskirts of Sofia, where I found myself one October, there’s a somewhat secret garden where the state of Bulgaria is hiding away the past. The Museum of Socialist Art is a sombre, poignant affair, tucked away among modern office buildings and the token concrete abandoned factories. It’s a museum dedicated to exiled communist… Read More

Cold War confrontation: AEK Athens vs Slavia Praha 1968

4th April 1968. It’s a clear spring afternoon over Athens and one can almost feel the city buzzing with excitement and anticipation for the event that is set to unfold later on that evening. The electrifying atmosphere has been gradually building up since mid-March, the day when the men’s basketball team of AEK Athens reached… Read More

Concentration City : exploring the human dimension of post-industrial decay in Patras, Greece.

“In the night air they passed the shells of concrete towers, blockhouses half buried in rubble, giant conduits filled with tyres, overhead causeways crossing broken roads [….] In the suburbs of Hell, Travis walked in the flaring light of the petrochemical plants” J.G. Ballard, The Atrocity Exhibition Across the impressive new port of Patras in… Read More

Count Kevin and the new Dark Age

The ongoing, breaking story of Kevin Spacey’s conduct (2017), reminds me of the old legend of Count Belisarius : After commanding the Byzantine Army for 35 years, subduing insurrections at home, defeating barbarian incursions and delivering stunning victories against the Sassanids, the Ostrogoths and the Vandals, even re-conquering Rome for the emperor Justinian, he was… Read More