In Finnish | In English
Kajaanin kaupunkieksploraatio
We are a crew comprising of two young man based originally in Kajaani, Finland. We have been doing urban exploration deliberately since spring 2007. We "found" the hobby incidentally in January or February 2007, when we surfed on the Internet and stumbled upon the website of Turun kaupunkieksploraatio (UE crew from Turku, Finland) that was at the time still active. Enthusiasm for the new hobby grew rapidly, thanks to many websites concerning the same thing we found from the Internet. First target that we intentionally explored and photographed was Farmyard at the back of Matinmäki racing track in our hometown Kajaani. During the following spring and summer the amount of explored places increased rapidly and started to include places outside Kajaani, too. As years passed by, our range of explored locations has been diversified even more to cover many different types of abandoned places in various cities, towns and villages. The main focus of our hobby is still in northern part of Finland.
Nowadays it is practically our younger member, Juho, who still explores and photographs new locations. The other member, Heikki, does not do urban exploration actively anymore. The latest photographs on our website taken by him are from early June 2011. In the next chapter, the active member introduces himself:
My full name is Juho Pinola and I'm 23 years old. I'm currently living in Oulu, Finland. My enthusiasm towards abandoned places continues unabated even though the hobby has continued already for nine years when writing this (March 2016). Honestly speaking, I have been interested in abandoned places in some extent my whole life. I think the most motivating thing in this hobby is the possibility to see something that majority of ordinary people can't see in their everyday life. This is strongly connected to my special enthusiasm for photographing buildings that are soon going to be demolished; after demolition, they are lost for good and there are only the photographs to remind that they once existed. Other things that keep me doing this hobby are the excitement connected to finding new places and the great photographs that can be taken in decaying buildings. In fact, photographing is essential part of my hobby and during the years I have started to focus on it even more. I admit that I am an investigative personality to some extent and after I have visited some new place I try to find out additional information about its former use and special events taken place there. Source of information is for the most part the Internet and in a few situations I have also read literature concerning them. Understandably historical information can't be found about all places, though. In these cases I have replaced facts with my own estimates and reflections. I think the websites that have had the biggest impact on my hobby and on this website are the Finnish Spivey Point that has by now officially disappeared from the Internet and the American Opacity, which has somewhat similar philosophy on its background as our website.
From the beginning, it has been my task to maintain the website. I'm going to continue maintenance and updating also in the future, there are plenty of new places waiting to be published on the website. Nowadays new places appear on the site at least few months after I have explored them because of other time-consuming activities like studying in the university and other urgent things. I'm not going to publish all the places I have photographed on this site. A case in point of these are very good conditioned places that have open doors but still contain a large amount of stuff. In these cases I can't be sure whether the building has really been left unused.
Urban exploration?
Urban exploration (shortened urbex or UE) means going to and exploring abandoned and non-public places. These include all kinds of abandoned buildings and structures from ordinary residential houses to entire industrial plants, mine areas and hospitals. Some hobbyists also explore places that are in use but non-public. This kind of activity is called infiltration and it includes, for example, the exploration of unused spaces in buildings that are still active, service tunnels and drains. Most urbex hobbyists take photographs in places they visit and some also share their shots with others for example in online photo galleries and homepages. They are not vandals or graffiti painters even though they are visiting abandoned buildings. General motto is "Take only photographs, leave only footprints". It is a significant part of the hobby to be aware of risks (e.g. bad-conditioned structures and asbestos) and avoid excessive risk-taking. Going into abandoned buildings is not illegal in Finland, but still urbex hobbyists rarely encounter angry owners and in bigger recently shut down places also security guards. An information packet really worth of reading about the legality of urban exploration in Finland is found at an entry posted to Syrjäseutu blog in January 2014 (in Finnish only). More general information about the hobby can be found from English Wikipedia's article Urban exploration.
The website
In the early summer 2007, we found the first online photo gallery for our shots on Google Picasa. Anyway, the free disk space offered by this service was exhausted by the end of the year and we had to consider new solutions. The next try was in fact the first version of this website, which was published on free webhost GeoCities on 16th February 2008. By the same years July we had realised that the free webhost was unpractical mainly because of small disk space and hourly data transfer limit. As a solution, we bought own domain for the website. It has proven to be a durable solution, for after it we haven't had the need to change webhost anymore. In April 2009 we added a new section to the site featuring places that are still in use. It is named Towns and Villages and contains photographs from a few different localities in Finland. There are also few places that touch a bit on our website's original topic. Updating of this section has been left in the background in recent years, though.
There used to be for quite a long time, from the beginning to March 2016, some places that were password protected on this website because of their exceptional situation. There were a maximum of five of these places. This was because they were left without use very recently or were still partially in use and we wanted to protect them from vandalism and theft. It was possible to get username and password for viewing them by sending email to our email address kniexp@mbnet.fi. The email is still working and You are welcome to send feedback and opinions about the website to it. Later, with the same type of vulnerable places I have started to either use a pseudonym or leave the location inaccurate. There is always a note on the place's page if pseudonym has been used.
Excluding this page and some parts of the frontpage, the whole website is in Finnish only. Nowadays I'm a little bit sorry about that, but when I started developing this site in early 2008 my English skills were not yet good enough to write everything fluently in English. I think at this point it would be way too much work to translate it all so let it be so... If you want to read the texts, please use Google Translate or some other translation engine. :)
Photographs on our website can be used for personal use (e.g. computer wallpaper) freely, but when publishing them in other contexts it would be fair to mention the source. In these cases it's enough to write that the photograph has been taken by Kajaanin Kaupunkieksploraatio (Kniexp) and it would also be nice to include a link to our website. When copying longer texts from this site it would also be fair to mention the source. The publication of photographs for commercial purposes should be asked each time via email. If needed, we have full-sized original versions of all the photographs on this site.
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