The Bosnian War was devastating. Taking place between 1992 and 1995, the war saw the forces of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina battling Bosnian Serb and Bosnian Croat entities, which were backed by their respective home countries. The conflict saw over 100,000 dead and the first genocide in Europe since WWII. Now that you’ve had your history lesson for the day, let’s look to a stadium that was caught in the middle.
The field, which now is marked by hundreds of gravestones from the war, was, in fact, a venue for the 1984 Sarajevo Olympics. The stadium, which is pock-marked with bullets and missile-blasted debris, is a silent reminder of the hard times which passed through the area. At one point it held some of the world’s greatest athletes, a great contrast to today, where it sits looking forlorn, abandoned and pretty damn depressing.
Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium (Washington D.C., USA)
Ok ok, so this one might still be technically operational, but we’ve got a feeling that the District of Columbia may want to demolish and repurpose the land it’s occupying. Operated by Events DC, the venue is in fact under a lease that runs until 2038 from the National Park Service (they own the land) – so maybe they won’t sell up… we’ll check back in, in 20 years’ time! Heh. But check that aerial – RFK, Capitol Building and Washington Monument. It’s like the political Bermuda Triangle; wonderful for a politics student to get lost between them. Despite the cool geographical situation, there was a serious problem at RFK: the losing streak it somewhat caused for the Redskins between 1961 and 1996.
The home base all those years, it was occupied by the Nationals for two years as of 2005. Wow, 2005 is 14 years ago. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it. One of the first major stadiums designed to host both baseball and football, its signature “cookie-cutter” design was a first for American architects. Aside from baseball and football matches, RFK Memorial Stadium also hosted NFC Championship games, MLB All-Star games and American friendlies and World Cup matches. Not to mention boxing matches, a cycling race, marathons, concerts and a Le Mans auto race! Talk about multi-purpose.
Tiger Stadium (Detroit, Michigan)
First cab off the rank is Tiger Stadium, located in Detroit Michigan. The home of The Detroit Tigers, it cost $US300,000 back in 1911 (which in 2018 dollars, is almost $8 million)! Between 1912 and 1999, the stadium was the home of the Detroit Tigers of Major League Baseball, along with the Detroit Lions of the National Football Team between 1938 and 1974. In 1975 It was declared a State of Michigan Historic Site – so it’s pretty special!
The last game for the Tigers was held in 1999, and following this final match, there was a ping-pong match of redevelopment vs demolition, for 10 years! Eventually, the stadium couldn’t survive its ultimate fate of demolition, which occurred in 2009. The Tigers since moved to Comerica Park, and in 2018, the original site was redeveloped to host youth sporting activities. Hey, at least it was repurposed in the end!
Avanhard Stadium (Pripyat, Ukraine)
Well, when you look this place up on the map, or on the internet, there really isn’t much. Certainly adds to the eerie, spooky demeanor of the place! The Ukrainian Avanhard Stadium has long been abandoned, situated in Pripyat. The home ground of Ukrainian Football Club FC Stroitel Pripyat, there is a bit of a story as to why Avanhard has left an abandoned shell. Opened in 1979, the stadium was around for just under 7 years, before a massive nuclear disaster occurred mere kilometers away. Recently, the miniseries, Chernobyl details the Ukrainian catastrophe and the massive conspiracies surrounding the area. Pripyat, which sits inside the Exclusion Zone surrounding Reactor Number 4, the worker’s city was abandoned to the nuclear fallout which was, in fact, a hundred times more lethal than the bombs dropped on both Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The necessity for the stadium came from the 50,000 strong town’s youth and want to watch sport! Like many USSR-formed football teams, the team of Pripyat was formed out of a group of workers, or “stroitel” which means “builder” in Russian! On April 26, 1986, it was reported that FC Mashinostroitel (a superb name construction, really, bless them) were preparing to leave for Pripyat, before a helicopter landed on their training field, with an officer informing them “you’re not going to Pripyat tomorrow.” After Chernobyl, no football team would ever play in Pripyat again.
Roman Coliseum (Rome, Italy)
Colosseum, Coliseum, it really depends on what you prefer. Known also as the Flavian Amphitheatre, the Anfiteatro Flavio is an oval amphitheater in the center of Rome. Built out of limestone, it is today, one of the most visited tourist attractions in Italy, and even the world! Welcoming roughly 4.2 million tourists a year (though last year saw record numbers of 7.4 million!), the Coliseum is a defunct sporting arena, which hosted gladiatorial games. The spectacles which ensued included the famed gladiator duels – which men fought beasts and one another to the death.
For its time, the Coliseum was a feat of engineering, particularly when you look at the size of the construction and how many people it could hold: an estimated 50,000 to 80,000 spectators, averaging 65,000 in the audience! Did you know that it even hosted naval warfare games – it could be flooded and filled with water! An iconic symbol of Imperial Rome, it is listed as one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. Sure, much of the structure has been destroyed, but having been built back in 70-80 AD, that is a marvel in itself, that it is still standing. A true testament to the great architects and engineers of the time. If you’re ever visiting Rome, make sure to visit, and just circle the perimeter so you can get an idea of just how massive it is!