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Photo Essay – Urban Exploration: Heavy Machinery Plant – Cluj-Napoca

The forgotten factory. Cluj-Napoca, Romania, 2017.

One of the old, abandoned CUG halls. Cluj-Napoca, Romania, 2017.

First photo essay of the year with a one of my favourite subjects, urban exploration! Today I go to the CUG, Combinat de Utilaj Greu (Heay Machinery Plant), that was created in the 1970’s to become a state of the art plant. 30 years laters and the chute of the regime went by, the CUG is now the phantom of what it used to be.

Come with me for a visit of this highly rated urban exploration spot!

 

Urban Exploration – Heavy Machinery Plant – Cluj-Napoca

Urban Exploration – Heavy Machinery Plant – Cluj-Napoca


The Cluj-Napoca CUG (Combinat de Utilaj Greu – or Heavy Machinery Plant) has been created in 1970, during the most prolific years of the communist regime in Romania. The CUG put the basis for a then state of the art factory producing energy oriented equipments: household boilers, industrial boilers, equipments for thermal centrals…

From 1976 the CUG extended its domain to metallurgic tools for iron casting foundries, shortly followed by steel foundries and the production of tools allowing hot steel manipulation and casting. Meanwhile, the whole site kept being modernised with internal railways, production of pure oxygen, laboratories for mechanical and chemical tests, mechanical presses for car parts casting, hydraulics engineering…

In 1985 around 8000 employees were working at CUG. After the fall of the communist regime, the needs of heavy machinery felt down dramatically, the plants started to close one after another and the CUG got split in 8 different companies. In 2002, only 617 employees were still working at the CUG, leaving a big part of the site totally empty.

Of course, the whole site is not empty, there are still companies running their business there. But if has become a highly recommended spot for urban exploration. Even if it has been abandoned quite a long time ago, and despite the obvious traces of decay, the building has been kept quite clean. I can’t wait to come back to CUG, and explore the remaining factory that are waiting to have some activity again, even if it’s just photography 😉

The forgotten factory. Cluj-Napoca, Romania, 2017.

There’s nothing like a hall that is almost 200 meters long…

The forgotten factory. Cluj-Napoca, Romania, 2017.

…by 30 meters high.

The forgotten factory. Cluj-Napoca, Romania, 2017.

The dismantling left some scars, and a few victims.

The forgotten factory. Cluj-Napoca, Romania, 2017.

On the right, the initial hall. On the left, the extension built in the mid 80’s.

The forgotten factory. Cluj-Napoca, Romania, 2017.

The control center for cranes and railways activities.

– 

The forgotten factory. Cluj-Napoca, Romania, 2017.

A view of the extension.

The forgotten factory. Cluj-Napoca, Romania, 2017.

Behind, the second hall of the complex. Another urban exploration target 😉

The forgotten factory. Cluj-Napoca, Romania, 2017.

The heavy lifting cranes. The can move freely across the whole hall. Only one remains.

The forgotten factory. Cluj-Napoca, Romania, 2017.

Close up of the control center.

The forgotten factory. Cluj-Napoca, Romania, 2017.

The showers. “Keep it clean” is painted on the wall. Quite an irony.

The forgotten factory. Cluj-Napoca, Romania, 2017.

Time to leave for today, but for sure I’ll be back. There is still a lot to explore at CUG!

That’s it for this first urban exploration photo essay. Keep in touch for more updates if you love old abandoned buildings, rust and decay!

All the photos in this essay are available as signed, limited edition prints with certificate of authenticity, printed on high quality Hahnemühle paper. Go to the shop, or contact me for a quote!

Photo Essay – Budapest metro stations

Szent Gellert Ter station. Budapest, Hungary, 2016.

Szent Gellert Ter station. Get a print!

The M4 line is the newest metro line opened in Budapest, Hungary. Also known as the Green Line, it has opened in March 2014. The first section is 10 stations long, from the North-East of the city to the South-West, having to go under the Danube.

The most interesting about this metro line remains the impressive architecture of the stations. As the line goes under the Danube, the stations have been constructed quite deep in the ground, and interesting architectural solution have been found.

Find more about my journey around 3 impressive metro stations in Budapest represented with no less than 14 photos by checking my new Photo Essay: Budapest Metro stations!

Also, give a look to the collection of all my Photo Essays.

Budapest metro stations

Budapest metro stations


The M4 line is the newest metro line opened in Budapest, Hungary. Also known as the Green Line, it has opened in March 2014. The first section is 10 stations long, from the North-East of the city to the South-West, having to go under the Danube.

The most interesting about this metro line remains the impressive architecture of the stations. As the line goes under the Danube, the stations have been constructed quite deep in the ground, and interesting architectural solution have been found.

Fővám Tér station

The Fővám Tér station is where I’ve started my trip beneath Budapest. I must admit I remained quite in shock when I saw this great architecture under the city. Electric stairs take you way underneath the ground, with a complex mix of lines via beams and girders.

Fovam Ter station. Budapest, Hungary, 2016.

First view when entering Fővám Tér. Get a print.

Fovam Ter station. Budapest, Hungary, 2016.

Down the electric stairs. Impressive architecture!

Fovam Ter station. Budapest, Hungary, 2016.

The platform in itself, sticking to the overall style.

Fovam Ter station. Budapest, Hungary, 2016.

Train entering the station.

Next stop: Szent Gellért Tér station.

Szent Gellért tér station

Second stop of my trip, the Szent Gellért Tér station is situated on the Buda side of the Danube. It is also the deepest station on the M4 line. It looks like Fővám Tér: same global architecture, same long electric stairs to come down but… with a twist 😉

Szent Gellert Ter station. Budapest, Hungary, 2016.

A twisty tiles pattern

Szent Gellert Ter station. Budapest, Hungary, 2016.

Waiting for the next train to come.

Szent Gellert Ter station. Budapest, Hungary, 2016.

A similar approach for reaching the platform.

Szent Gellert Ter station. Budapest, Hungary, 2016.

Escaping the eye of the storm.

Szent Gellert Ter station. Budapest, Hungary, 2016.

En route for my last stop…

Kálvin tér

Last stop for me, and unlike the two previous stations, the Kálvin tér is not (totally) a new station. The newest part on the M4 stick to a more modern look, but now with its own style. The platform is way higher, with rounder forms instead of the strict lines of the two other stations. However, when you quit this grey cathedral, a colourful corridor takes you to the older M3 platform, which brings us back to a more communist style.

Kalvin Ter station. Budapest, Hungary, 2016.

Architectural changes… but no less impressive! Get a print!

Kalvin Ter station. Budapest, Hungary, 2016.

From M4 to M3, less grey, more yellow.

Kalvin Ter station. Budapest, Hungary, 2016.

We leave the modern lines…

Kalvin Ter station. Budapest, Hungary, 2016.

…and come back to the older way of doing things.

This way an incredible journey. Even if it was quite a short trip between 3 metro stations, it has been a real treat for my eyes, and my camera. I know that during my next trip to Budapest, I’ll be back there.

As always, all the photos in this essay are available as signed, limited edition prints with certificate of authenticity, printed on high quality Hahnemühle paper. Go to the shop, or contact me for a quote!

Oser Flea Market

Oser Flea Market


In Cluj-Napoca, Romania, Saturday morning means flea market. Be it summer or winter, hot or cold, sun or snow, thousands of people roam every Saturday morning to the Oser flea market. During the communist era, Oser was the place to buy imported goods from Turkey or the former Yougoslavia. Blue jeans, snickers, perfumes could be found there, as well as other black market goods from here and there. It became the flea market in the form we know today a few years after the collapse of the communist regime.

The first thing you see, actually, smell, when arriving is… food.

Oser flea market. Cluj-Napoca, Romania, 2016.

At the queue for some mititei.

Oser flea market. Cluj-Napoca, Romania, 2016.

Mititei from Someseni. Discover their unique taste!

Oser flea market. Cluj-Napoca, Romania, 2016.

A few mititei stands one next to another.

The mititei, the signature food at Oser, is a traditional Romanian dish of grilled ground meat rolls made from a mixture of beef, lamb and pork with spices. A must taste for anyone visiting the country!

Oser covers a surface of about 37000 square meters. Way enough for the hundreds of sellers to expose what they have to sell. And trust me, there is a lot to sell. From new or second hand clothes to electronics, tyres, tools, toys, kitchen appliances, any kind of tablewares or bikes… You want something, you’ll find it.

Oser flea market. Cluj-Napoca, Romania, 2016.

A bit of digging is sometimes required.

Oser flea market. Cluj-Napoca, Romania, 2016.

Getting ready for the winter season!

Oser flea market. Cluj-Napoca, Romania, 2016.

He has pretty much everything.

Oser flea market. Cluj-Napoca, Romania, 2016.

Old cameras, unfortunately often in bad shape.

Until 2016 the flea market took place on an open field. Cluj-Napoca has started to build halls on concrete floor in order to avoid walking in the mud when the weather is not that great. It makes some unreal scenes during those works in progress.

Oser flea market. Cluj-Napoca, Romania, 2016.

Let’s use the new hall’s foundations.

Oser flea market. Cluj-Napoca, Romania, 2016.

One needs to be a bit acrobat sometimes.

Oser flea market. Cluj-Napoca, Romania, 2016.

Second hand clothes next to tractors and materials.

The Oser flea market in an interesting social experience. Every single social classes of Romania is present there. From the poor country side man which tries to sell his vegetable jars on the sidewalk outside the market, to the rich guy who just wants to show off is big expensive car to everyone. The whole social ladder is there, with every single step.

Oser flea market. Cluj-Napoca, Romania, 2016.

You usually come in group to Oser. It’s another tradition.

Oser flea market. Cluj-Napoca, Romania, 2016.

Not sure they’ll sell a lot this way.

Oser flea market. Cluj-Napoca, Romania, 2016.

Le sexy pose.

Oser flea market. Cluj-Napoca, Romania, 2016.

And sometimes, there are also crazy photographers taking shots of themselves in a TV.

The Oser flea market is slowly but surely becoming an anachronism in Cluj-Napoca. The city is getting more and more modern, but this flea market kind of remains as a reminder of older times which are now over. The ongoing infrastructure works will surely help transiting to something more close to the present time. But it will be more of a cosmetic change. Oser is Oser, with its codes and traditions. This is its core, this is why I like to go there. It won’t change, and I think it’s good this way.

Do you like those photos? Contact me for an original, signed, limited edition print!

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Ghost_17. Part of the Ghost project. Copyright Pierre Pichot 2017 - http://pierrepichot.com
The forgotten factory. Cluj-Napoca, Romania, 2017.

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