Do you like deserted places, ruins, old houses? I do. They are surrounded with mystery, forgotten charm, old stories seem to come to live. But sometimes the ruins speak of decay, carelessness, poverty, oblivion, old age, death. They give you shivers. This is what happens if you go to Herculane. It’s one of my all time favorite place. I’ve been going there for many years, I hiked so many times in the mountains and gorges around it. I have so many memories linked to this place, memories with old friends, and some of them are gone now. For many of us in my city, my generation, that was some kind of “golden age”. We used to cram into the cheapest train, not buying tickets, we slept outdoors on the bank of the river, or even on the terrace of a restaurant (after it was closed :), we drank a cheap and wonderful Turkish coffee from an old fashioned bar in the center, and we drank it sitting im the street, near the statue of Hercules (which gives the name of the resort), we bathed at night in the hot springs, we were eating junk food and drinking beers on the terrace of the famous Disco-Bar (the one in the photo above, which is now closed and in a terrible state). I saw year after year how the resort is decaying slowly, without anything being done to preserve it or restore it. Maybe everything related to our past has an aura of nostalgia and melancholy around it. Maybe because this place is so full of my memories, I feel even more deeply and personally its decay and the passing of time.
So I won’t tell you the history of this place, I won’t speak of architecture and the style of the buildings. I won’t be a journalist and dig into the causes and people responsible for this decay, I won’t say “this only happens in Romania”. This has been done before. As photographer I would just like to show you this place that speaks so vividly about the relentless passing of time. Maybe you will never get to visit this place or visit Romania, but I believe some things are universal (as I said before, this is what I am trying to capture in my photos, weather I succeed or not it is questionable).
And one more thing. Some time ago, I read about this documentary Life after People (unfortunately I haven’t seen it) which analyzes through computer simulations what would happen if the all the people on the planet suddenly disappeared (see this article too: The World without us). How many years would it take so that the traces of human existence on earth were erased completely? In how many years the cities and roads would be covered again by vegetation and earth? Walking around in Herculane, I thought about this documentary and I had the feeling that in this place time and force of nature have started to destroy and cover slowly the civilization, as if humans had disappeared. Have they really disappeared? The people who care and can do something about it?
Is there anybody out there?
More photos from Herculane here
If you liked it, tell your friends too (below there are buttons for sharing or liking this on facebook, google +, email, etc.) Thanks a lot!
For Romanian go here