Some of them are history geeks; others adrenaline seekers. Urban explorers will hunt down disused factories, abandoned quarries or empty metro tunnels to satisfy their curiosity. Two of them share their photos of Detroit, which on Thursday became the largest US city to ever declare bankruptcy. Their discoveries are breathtaking.


A version of this article was first published on this site in 2010. 

"In Detroit, ruins are part of the city landscape"

Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre are professional photographers from France. They have published a photo book, "The Ruins of Detroit".

We became interested in ruins in 2002, first through sheer curiosity, but now more so for the historical side. We feel a bit like budding archaeologists; we dig out empty buildings that are just next door from our homes but we never knew existed. We don't touch however, we only photograph.

Detroit really made an impression on us; we've been back seven times. Ruins are part of the city landscape and they're easily accessible. Schools, theatres, hotels, there's everything. Sometimes all the furniture has been left too, none of it has been vandalised or stolen. We found a police station, untouched, all the records filed in place and a library, closed for ten years, full of books going mouldy.

Photos from "The Ruins of Detroit":

One of the rooms of a factory. 


A United Artists cinema.


The centre hall of a building.


A bank's safe. 


The Plaza Hotel ballroom.

One of the Plaza Hotel rooms.