Birds circling Constanta Casino at dawn
Birds circling Constanta Casino at dawn

Stunning photographs show eerie abandoned Romanian casino that once hosted Russian Tsar

Spookily desolate casino once hosted the Russian Imperial family

Ronan J. O'Shea
Monday 19 February 2018 12:54

A Czech photographer has published a series of eerie but stunning photos of an abandoned casino in Romania, which once counted the Russian Imperial family among its guests.

Constanta Casino in Constanța, a seaside town in the south-east of Romania (about two hours from capital Bucharest), opened in 1910. After the Russian Imperial family visited in 1914, it became a military hospital at the outbreak of the First World War and suffered bombing.

It was restored to its former purpose in 1917 before being bombed once again during the Second World War, after which it was turned into a restaurant and bar due to communist Romania’s strict anti-gambling laws.

Speaking to The Independent, photographer Jakub Kynčl said: “The atmosphere was a bit spooky to be honest. Hundreds of pigeons are nesting inside and a family of cats eats the [deceased]. The air was heavy and a creepy sound of the wind coming in through the broken windows is dominant when you enter.

“Even now, when the building is in a desolate condition, you can imagine how luxurious it must have been.”

Kynčl, who is travel editor of Czech news site, used a Nikon D850 to take the eerie photographs.

“I saw some pictures of Constanta Casino (Cazinoul din Constanta) two years ago for the first time,” he said. ”Recently my mother showed me a black and white image of this building from 1968 in our family album. She was there on vacation with her family…50 years ago.

A photo of the casino in the 1950s, when it was a bar and restaurant

“This building’s history was so incredible that I decided to go during January to underline the feeling of abandonment, as there were almost no people around.

“I spent six hours inside the building and two freezing mornings around it. I had permission to enter from the local City Hall and had to sign an agreement that I was coming in at my own risk.”

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