Photographer Cristian Lipovan is fascinated by abandoned places, devoting his time to urban exploring – seeking out intriguing and long-forgotten churches, schools and houses and documenting how they look after the people have all moved on. He recently shared a striking series on Transylvania, showcasing another side of the famous destination.

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The photographer found abandoned buildings in the mountains after trekking through a forest © Cristian Lipovan /

Cristian’s project is called PlacesSuffering, and it sees him exploring diverse locations such as villas, mansions, hotels, factories, hospitals, amusement parks, crypts, castles, prisons and casinos. He aims not only to capture images of each place, but to discover the stories behind them too. Cristian is also working on a photo book about his adventures.

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Inside an abandoned church in Transylvania © Cristian Lipovan /

“I wanted to photograph otherwise abandoned places, places that are very hard to reach, where no other urban explorers have discovered. It was hard work to find this in Transylvania. The houses and the churches are located in the heart of the Apuseni Mountains. The route to them is very tough, it can only be reached on foot through the forest, in some places without paths. I found these hidden treasures after a long time searching on the Internet and finding information in very old maps, or asking the old people from villages at the foot of the mountains,” Cristian told Lonely Planet.

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A forgotten home © Cristian Lipovan /

Cristian said many of the places he saw were like time capsules, with objects sitting untouched for years on end. Rooms lay covered with a layer or dust and spider webs. During his visit to Transylvania, he explored several smaller villages and three churches. 

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Cristian is fascinated with the stories behind abandoned places © Cristian Lipovan /

Cristian’s first major trip outside the country was in 2014, when he visited abandoned places in Italy, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, followed by a trip to France. He has even been to Pripyat near Chernobyl.

“I am fascinated by the idea of going into abandoned buildings, finding out their stories, what happened there, why they were abandoned. When I enter such places it is as if I go back in time, I try to imagine those times, to feel the lives of the people who have passed there. Every time I go to a new location, I encompass the emotions for what I can find or what I can meet,” Cristian said.

The photographer has also explored parts of Germany, Italy and France © Cristian Lipovan /

More of Cristian’s work is available at his official website, as well as on Instagram and Facebook.

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