Spirit houses in the Alps: watch where you step


    We did not understand the ruins more than we were even ruins, claimed Heine. The intransitive Latin Verb means ruere – among other things – sink, cave in. The can do things, creatures and empires. There are countries, such as Italy, have plunged many testimonies from more than two thousand years of architectural history, that they have developed in dealing with the Remnants of the past, a casual championship. Arnold Esch has written in his wonderfully enlightening book, “Historical landscapes of Italy”, the Necessary.

    Hannes Meier background

    editor in the features section, responsible for New non-fiction books.

    F. A. Z.

    In other countries bordering the Alps like Switzerland or Bavaria, it is with the Unaufgeräumtheit heavier. Ruins will be disposed of or to be renovated new look, depending on your budget. All you have to say that it has caught the southern side of the Alps heavy, when talking about the ruins of density. Economic boom times and the associated came prosperity, and went there in faster cycles. Also anyone who drives today, only the Brenner motorway, looks to be witnesses of this fact, you have to fend for themselves. Tourism, alpinism, Spa tourism, power plants, factories, mansions – the wealth of families, passes, fortresses to be obsolete, because peace replaces war industries are subject to world market, leisure fashions to die. Left the built witnesses of stone, at the mercy of Wind and weather, plants and vandals.

    The photographer Stefan Hefele scours the whole of the Alpine region of the French Maritime Alps to the foothills of the Eastern Alps, the Vienna and in Carinthia for years with a passion that they see in his pictures. He wanders through the abandoned villas on the Slopes of the upper Italian lakes, the Alps of the First world war, he finds the abandoned villages in the Hinterland of the Ligurian coast of flowers, faded charm in Bad Gastein, earthquake ruins in Friuli, abandoned Alpine pastures in the Canton of Ticino, dilapidated amusement miles à la Las Vegas how to Consonno, but also future Ghost towns as the winter sports retort town of Alpe d’huez.


    Over the Internet, to blogs, where the hottest “lost places” are, of course, be “risk places” when the plank floor. Hefele belongs to the Generation of Urban Explorer, the so-called Urbexern, the leave not more than footprints and take photos, but otherwise the Dignity of the ruins of respect – if you are a representative of the pure doctrine. In the Foreword mentioned map of the Alps remains in the book a blank space: it would have been helpful to the extent of the deterioration in North-South to illustrate the comparison.