Abandoned: blue toned staircase

Photos: Christian Richter

Following the reunification of Germany in 1990, photographer Christian Richter began exploring the grand yet decrepit buildings of his nation's past. He quickly fell in love with the old architecture — tranformed by years of decay — and it wasn't long before he added photography into the mix. The resulting images are now a part of his "Abandoned" series, which features the decades-long deterioration of extravagant staircases, vaulted ceilings and winding corridors.

For Richter, the exquisite patterns and textures serve as a sober reminder that "everything is impermanent."

Although all the images possess an eerie quality, Richter sometimes happens upon places that really stand out in the creepy department. Once he stumbled upon a crematorium — complete with old kilns and funeral chambers.

To prevent vandalism or trampling of these beautiful buildings, Richter declines to share the locations of his photographs. However, we can still enjoy these amazing properties through Richter's lens.

Continue below for more images and keep up with the ongoing project at Richter's website and 500px.

Abandoned: Yellow spiral staircase
Abandoned: Vaulted blue ceiling
Abandoned: Warm-toned foyer and staircase
Abandoned: Green-tiled room
Abandoned: Grand room
Abandoned: Fancy ceiling
Abandoned stairs
Abandoned: Blue yellow hallway
Abandoned: Lobby
Abandoned: Yellow bathroom
Abandoned: Green peeling paint
Abandoned: Grand foyer
Abandoned: Blue spiral staircase
Abandoned: Indoor mural
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Catie Leary is a photo editor at Mother Nature Network. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.