Breaking in: Wola Gasworks abandoned tanks
By Sergio Camalich
“Man! I’m already starting to hate Warsaw; and we’ve been here only an hour”—I said sourly, as we were walking down an empty street at 5am in the morning, after a series of stupid mistakes that had forced us to buy a couple of extra bus tickets from Berlin to Warsaw and then ended up wandering completely lost around the Zachdonia train station, my face falling of because of the cold.
We were still wondering how on earth did we manage to get so lost in such a short time—my nerves on the verge, trying to spot any weird movements or sounds coming from the empty buildings next to us—when two massive brick tanks appeared to our left, both obviously abandoned and in a complete state of deterioration.
Such a good place to be lost at this hour. My mom would be so happy.
Casually, we talked about how interesting it would be to go inside and check them out while we were in Warsaw. Then we totally forgot about them as we finally found the train station and made our way to the Fabryka Hostel, in the Praga District.
A chillaxing day
Two amazing days later, with all the pains of the first couple of hours forgotten and the consequences of ingesting one too many beers and a spicy kebab after a long night of partying, we sat at our table, looking at pictures of abandoned buildings, when we spotted one that looked very familiar.
“That’s where we were the other day!”—I exclaimed.
Those buildings turned out to be part of an abandoned complex that was built in the Wola District, around 1886, to provide gas for all the citizens of Warsaw.
Nowadays, most of it has been turned into a museum—except for the tanks we spotted, which have been abandoned and closed to the public eye.
And that was the end of what we thought was gonna be a chillaxing day.
Overlooking Wola Gasworks’ tanks from the Zachdonia Station
Less than an hour later, we were getting down at the Zachdonia station, both tanks visible from a distance.
As were getting closer, we spotted a hole in the perimeter wall from where we were able to enter the area without a major problem.
Inside the Wola Gasworks tanks
We quickly reached our first stop—the entrance to the smaller tank, where we gasped as we saw the empty vastness of this 19th century construction.
Our goal was the bigger tank, so after a couple of pictures, we made our way to it, as quiet as possible, focusing on not being spotted by the security guards.
The second tank is in a worst state and partially flooded. The reflection of the completely-still water, combined with the light coming through the holes in the ceiling and the dozens of windows creating an intense visual effect.
This is one of those places you wouldn’t believe existed if you didn’t see it with your own eyes.
“This is fucking awesome!”—Pardon my French.
I had never seen anything like this.
We took our time, taking as many pictures as possible while making a plan to get to the top of the tank and maybe wait until night-time to take more pictures.
“Dude, we gotta go! We gotta go!”–Michael suddenly whispered, as I was packing my things to move to our next spot.
Sadly, a guard spotted us and started yelling at us in Polish—nobody likes that, so we had to find our way out before he hit us with the very long stick he was carrying.
We didn’t stop until we were back at the train station, but even then, the rush of the whole thing didn’t passed until a couple of hours later, beer in hand at the safety of our hostel.
Now I kinda get why people like doing this kind of things.