Photos of Abandoned Churches Display the Decadent Beauty Left Behind in Ruins

Abandoned Church Overrun by Nature

Some photographers take pleasure in capturing pristine environments. But for others, their creativity is sparked by photographing the beauty of what once was. This is particularly true for Roman Robroek, who merges his love of photography, travel, architecture, cultural heritage, and adventure by seeking out abandoned buildings. One of his most haunting set of images shows a huge variety of churches across Europe in different states of decay.

These religious buildings, once community gathering spaces, have been left to be reclaimed by nature. Whether they were abandoned due to damage during a natural disaster or simply located in an uninhabited village, each space has its own unique story to tell. For Robroek, this work affords him a closer look at the craftsmanship and decadence of the past while allowing him to share these wonders with a wider public.

“I find it important to document a small piece of history that way and open the door for people to peek inside the buildings that they normally wouldn’t see,” Robroek tells My Modern Met. “Next to that, I’m a huge fan of the old architecture in general. Modern architecture is not my thing. This way the old architecture won’t be forgotten.”

Robroek scouts his locations in several ways. One approach is by virtually discovering churches using Google Streetview. In other cases, he plays detective and looks for clues in photographs he finds, or he searches newspapers for mentions of decaying buildings. Lastly, he has a group of trusted colleagues who share his passion. This allows him insight into special locations that have not yet been spoiled.  “It’s important to know who you can trust because there is nothing worse than a location getting vandalized, robbed out or sprayed with graffiti because it became too popular to visit.”

Sit back and enjoy these photographs, which will transport you to another world and leave you wondering about the stories behind these mysterious spaces.

Photographer Roman Robroek travels across Europe to photograph abandoned churches.

Abandoned Churches by Roman Robroek

Abandoned Church

Abandoned Church Overrun by Nature

Abandoned Churches by Roman Robroek

His photos highlight the beauty and decay of these religious spaces.

Abandoned Churches by Roman Robroek

Old Church

Crumbling Church without a Roof

Abandoned Churches by Roman Robroek

Through his work, he allows people to get a peek inside spaces they never would get to see.

Decaying Church

Abandoned Churches by Roman Robroek

Abandoned Churches by Roman Robroek

Abandoned Churches by Roman Robroek

Abandoned Building

Abandoned Church Without a Roof

“I hope that people enjoy the beauty that’s being kept secret behind closed doors.”

Abandoned Chuch in Portugal Filled with Sculptures

Disused Church

Abandoned Churches by Roman Robroek

Empty Church

Abandoned Churches by Roman Robroek

Roman Robroek: Website | Facebook | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Roman Robroek.

Related Articles:

Haunting Photos of Deserted Pianos in Abandoned Buildings

Photos Capture Beauty of Abandoned Buildings After an Earthquake

Fascinating Photos Highlight the Forgotten Beauty of Abandoned Buildings

Photographer Travels Europe to Document the Beauty of Abandoned Buildings

Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Staff Editor and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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