Eerie photos show a once bustling village deliberately drowned in a multi-coloured toxic lake by a communist dictator.
The images feature an abandoned graveyard slowly being consumed by a fluorescent turquoise lake, as well as the spire of a church poking through murky red waters.
A crumbling rooftop also appears to float on the red and yellow sludge caused by a nearby mine.
The stunning shots capture the Romanian ghost village of Geamana, which was evacuated and deliberately flooded in 1978 to make way for one of the continent’s largest copper mines.
Only the top of a church tower pokes through the scarlet, polluted waters which now covers the western Romanian ghost village of Geamana
The village was flooded in 1978 by dictator Nicolae Ceausescu to accommodate what was Europe’s largest copper mine. The colour of the water is a result of the toxic sludge thrown out by the mine
A flooded grave pokes through the florescent water. Local residents claim the Romanian Government promised to relocate the graves but 40 years after the flooding, they remain
A black and white picture of how Geamana, housed in the Apuseni Mountains, used to look, with it’s distinctive church spire that now pokes out of the man-made lake
Iron, sulphur and copper residues from a the copper mine cause the sickly patterns in the lake. Orange mixes with purple, green and yellow to create the hypnotic ripples
The waste products from the mine were washed into the man-made valley, which spelled the end for the remote community.
Romanian photographer and urban explorer Cristian Lipovan, 36, frequently visits the lake and witnessed year on year how the village – which was once home to hundreds of people – has sank below the poisonous water.
Mr Lipovan said: ‘Geamana is a missing village, a ghost village, swallowed by a lake that has vivid, unreal living colours.
‘The water that surrounds the hill is red in colour, it shows that everything is poisoned, from water, grass, trees, fruits, vegetables, animals and ultimately man.
‘The lake is growing rapidly, and there are still people living in the area who live with the threat of poisonous water encroaching on their homes.’
He added: ‘The atmosphere is bleak and gloomy because of the psychedelic, unnatural colours and because of the poor, unfortunate people who spend their days eating, drinking, smelling and breathing poison.’
A graveyard is slowly sinking into the lurid water. The lake is growing rapidly and is consuming architecture that has stood in the village for generations
But some people choose to remain by the side of the poisonous water. The people live their daily lives ‘eating, drinking, smelling and breathing poison’
The lake is fast catching up to the 20 villagers who remain. They moved to higher ground in the valley after the flooding 40 years ago
In 1977, communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu announced plans to build the Roșia Poieni super mine and offered affected residents around £1,500 each to leave their homes – some of which had been there for generations.
A year later the Apuseni Mountain village was under the polluted, metallic water.
At it’s peak the mine was producing over 11,000 tons of copper a year, making it the biggest mine in Romania.
As a steady supply of acidic grey-and-red liquid filled Geamana’s valley following the mine’s opening, 20 villagers refused to leave and simply moved to higher ground.
The abandoned church and its graveyard are now mostly underwater. It paints a bleak, eerie picture with the sludge in the foreground and dark mountains behind
When the flooding was announced in 1977, hundreds of families were forced to evacuate. The roof of one of the former family homes pokes above the surface of the sludge
A basic hut sits beside farmed land on the bank of the toxic lake. Vegetation still grows in the valley despite the chemicals in the water
A battered boat sits on a more moderately-coloured section of the lake. But nearby it merges with the chemicals in the lake to paint a scene similar to the Meeting of Waters – where the Amazon meets the Rio Negro in Brazil
‘The sad story began in 1977, when Nicolae Ceausescu moved the population from Geamana village to make a waste disposal site for the Rosia Poieni copper mine,’ said Mr Lipovan.
‘It is the largest copper mine in Romania and at that time it was the largest in Europe.
‘It’s now creating a real ‘ecological bomb’ in the Apuseni Mountains.
One of the shacks sits near the lake and looks on as other huts are consumed by the bright orange water. But the land in front of the house appears to have been recently farmed, suggesting people still live there
What appear to be weathervanes sit nearby submerged in the water beside a run-down house with part of its roof caved in
The interior of one of the abandoned homes shows what appear to be primitive measuring stick gauges next to a flag in a large cupboard
‘In the first phase of flooding, the village of Geamana disappeared, with everything in it: the houses, the church, the cemetery.
‘Next, the threat moved to the surrounding villages, in which have been swallowed hundreds of houses and another cemetery.
‘One church was dismantled stone by stone and rebuilt in a museum in Sibiu.
‘Still, there are some people who have been ambitious enough to stay until the very end.’
But the lake is rising on average 3ft a year and edging closer to where they now call home.