Olympic Pool / 游泳池

This was an unexpected discovery but in a good way. I was taking the bus to go to the coal mines on the Western outskirts of Datong, and I saw an abandoned building looking like a gymnasium… I had to go check it out, even with minus ten degrees outside!

Abandoned building, Datong, Dec 2015

It looked gloomy and I was scared to meet strange people or to have to climb over some dangerous fence to get in but as the picture shows, this building is in fact located inside a public park! What was even more unexpected was to notice how the park had been recently renovated around the building… except for the building itself! When I arrived closer, I guessed that instead of a gymnasium, the building had to be a big swimming pool… And I was right!

Main pool, Olympic Pool, Dec 2015

I found the pool area very large and long, so I decided to call this place the « Olympic pool ». I am almost sure that the length of the main pool is 50 meters… Let’s assume it is that long. The problem is that it is not very clear when this place was built and when it was abandoned. I will continue my research about it but it seems online research is not really efficient, interviews might work better. According to two employees of the park, it was built in the 1980s and left abandoned two or three years ago (some graffiti from 2013 tend to confirm this timeline). They did not know what was going to happen to the place…

Inside the swimming pool

What I found as I stepped inside the building took my breath away. That is a really photogenic space, and I was all by myself, it was a great moment of discovery!

Olympic swimming pool, Dec 2015
Diving boards, Olympic Pool, Dec 2015
General perspective, Olympic Pool, Dec 2015
Corner, Olympic Pool, Dec 2015
Dried out, Olympic Pool, Dec 2015
Children pool, Olympic Pool, Dec 2015
Inside the children pool, Olympic Pool, Dec 2015
Pool view from above
Upper side, Olympic Pool, Dec 2015
Windows, Olympic Pool, Dec 2015
Side windows, Olympic Pool, Dec 2015
Window close-up, Olympic Pool, Dec 2015
Ceiling detail, Olympic Pool, Dec 2015

Although the masterpiece was the pool area, there were other interesting rooms and spaces in the building.

Intermediary space, Olympic Pool, Dec 2015
Demolished upper room, Olympic Pool, Dec 2015
Room with blue paint, Olympic Pool, Dec 2015
Room with orange wallpaper, Olympic Pool, Dec 2015
Stairs, Olympic Pool, Dec 2015
Corridor, Olympic Pool, Dec 2015

Pool signs

There were several signs in the building, with or without rules…

Exit for women, Olympic Pool, Dec 2015
Exit for men, Olympic Pool, Dec 2015



Do not spit on the floor, Olympic Pool, Dec 2015
Please wear pool shoes and be careful of wet floor, Olympic Pool, Dec 2015
Absent rules, Olympic Pool, Dec 2015

Chinese graffiti

There were also quite a lot of graffiti in and out of the building, which is usually rare in China.

Graffiti, Olympic pool, Dec 2015
Graffiti, Olympic Pool, Dec 2015
Graffiti, Olympic Pool, Dec 2015
Local street gang !, Olympic Pool, Dec 2015


Outside the building

Even from outside, this abandoned building looked peculiar. I wish I could have climbed on the roof, but I’m not Brïn…

Main facade, Olympic Pool, Dec 2015
Main facade, Olympic Pool, Dec 2015
Side view, Olympic Pool, Dec 2015
Corner, Olympic pool, Dec 2015
Rooftop metal structure, Olympic Pool, Dec 2015
Side view, Olympic Pool, Dec 2015

People living in China, if you are looking for a place for a photo shoot, for filming a movie or a music video, this would definitely be an awesome choice!

I will just end this post by a question about the fashion of waterparks and pools in Datong, where it is minus twenty degrees during the winter and not even up to 30 degrees during the summer… This Olympic pool is not the only abandoned water place in the area: just one bus stop after this one, I spotted an abandoned waterpark simply in the middle of nowhere, next to a factory…

Abandoned waterpark, Dec 2015

Why???? Absurd urban planning… Well, at least it makes « urbexers » happy!

If, like me, you are fond of abandoned swimming pools, you can also read a report about an unfinished swimming pool in Datong, or my report about an olympic pool in Yunnan, Xishuangbanna.

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