Lost Dreams: Remembering Abandoned And Forgotten Places


1 - Ostia, Italy

Ostia Antica (not to be confused with the modern-day suburb or beach resort) lies to the west of Rome, and was once a thriving port and city at the mouth of the River Tiber. Gradual silting of the water left the town three miles from the sea and that, together with invasions and malaria, led to its decline and eventual abandonment. This same mud kept the site well preserved but it tends to get overlooked, perhaps because its downfall was less dramatic than that of Pompeii or Herculaneum. Due to its less violent and slower end, Ostia's well-designed layout and extensive remains provide a clearer picture of urban life in Roman times, with unique mosaics and one of Europe's earliest synagogues. The amphitheatre sometimes hosts summer concerts and as audiences make their way through the network of streets, they may feel like intruders into a hidden community.

2 - Canfranc International Railway Station, Spain

This railway gem opened in 1928 at one end of a tunnel running between Canfranc and Pau beneath the Spanish Pyrenees, to deal with differing gauge sizes between France and Spain. Everything had to be transferred from one train to another at the border, giving passengers ample time to admire the outstanding Art Nouveau architecture of the 240 metre-long station and hotel. Lost Dreams: Remembering Abandoned and Forgotten Places Closed temporarily during the Spanish Civil War, the station became an escape route for Jewish refugees fleeing occupied Europe before it was commandeered by the Nazis. A 1970 derailment and bridge loss on the French side led to eventual line closure.
The deteriorating structure with its 300 windows and 156 doors is off-limits apart from some guided tours. Accessible areas include a large loco depot, two sheds for the transfer of freight and extensive track layout. Two passenger trains still connect with Zaragoza each day and the occasional freight train serves a grain silo, while the tunnels now house astroparticle laboratories.
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