Five spectacular abandoned places in Beijing

Beijing urban explorer extraordinaire picks out his favourite shunned spots

Images: Burbex
You can't really go very far here in Beijing without bumping into a building site, the skeleton of some new high-rise complex or an (overly) ambitious mega mall. While the majority make it all the way to completion, others, for one reason or another, get left to wither away.

We recently took a trip around the abandoned Beijing Film Academy with Brin from Burbex, a guy who knows a thing or two about the city's darkest disused and deserted structures, having made his way into forgotten malls, theme parks, Olympic sites and more during his years in the capital. After our little saunter into the Film Academy, Brin let us in on his five favourite urbex sites here in Beijing.
1
Guoson Mall

Guoson Mall

‘You can't miss Guoson Mall, it sits directly on top of Dongzhimen station. It consists of a huge shopping mall with multiplex cinema, two strapping skyscrapers, and tonnes of office space. The project went bust years ago and now these places silently rot, too expensive to restore, even more expensive to pull down. The ultimate project gone bust. The 36-storey climb to the top towers provides easily the best views in Beijing but be sure not to look down.’

2
Capital Steel

Capital Steel

Capital Steel is certainly the largest of all the urbex locations in Beijing. In its heyday it was more like a town with tens of thousands of workers and their families living in the area. It's huge blast furnaces and chimneys are slowly being disassembled by an army of workers, and there are plans to turn it into an industrial theme park. That's going to take years, so there'll still be plenty for visitors to check out.’

3
Tonghui International

Tonghui International

Tonghui International has to be one of the most eccentric urbex locations in the city. Originally planned as a bar/restaurant street, it is a detailed copy of the small Swiss town Interlaken. There are some really kitschy features like half a cow sticking out of a wall, and of course the bronze horse and carriage out front. The biblical verses on the outside are a must-see, not to mention the tunnels that run underneath the site.’

4
The Catholic School

The Catholic School

‘The Catholic School is an ideal urbex site not only because it is such a stern magnificent looking building, but also because it has such a rich and varied history. It's been a school, it's been storage for the nearby hospital, it's been dormitories, and now it just stands there empty. It has awesome sunset views from the attic space, but be careful of the gruesome remains in the hidden cellar.’

5
Olympic Volleyball Stadium

Olympic Volleyball Stadium

‘The Olympic Volleyball Stadium is just sitting there in the middle of Chaoyang Park quietly rusting away. It's covered in advertising and it's so big that most people can't imagine it's been abandoned. Inside, standing on the Olympic sand is so surreal, as it’s still perfectly crisp. There are two mutts that run around the stands, but they can never jump down onto the sand. They must have been born up there.’

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