Explorers of one particular industrial town in Belgium can come across a fascinating building called Piscine Mosque.
It started out as a swimming pool, but after it was abandoned in 2005, there were plans underway to turn it into a mosque – hence its unusual moniker and the strangely mixed interior decorations.
Piscine Mosque was built on a busy Belgian city road in 1937, according to the design of architect Éléazar Cozac. The initial purpose behind the building was to provide a place for workers of the L’Amicale Solvay factory to relax.
Factory employees could not only take advantage of the pool here but also patronize a theater and restaurant that were located inside the building. Shortly after, a casino was added too.
A little while after the opening, the pool and other facilities were also opened up to members of the public. However, for some unknown reason, less than a decade after opening, Piscine Mosque was put up for sale.
In 1944, the Université Libre de Bruxelles became the new owner. For many years after that, the local population, students, and even regional sports clubs attended this institution.
Over time, the building gradually began to become obsolete and fell into decline. By the 1990s, Piscine Mosque was unable to cover its running costs. Talk began about the inevitability of needing to close the building and cease all recreational activity.
The owners failed to raise the necessary funds to ensure that the business could continue. As a result, the pool completely closed its doors in 1998. Although this spelled the end for the swimming pool, the university was still able to keep the theater, casino, and restaurant open until 2004.
After closing in 2004, the building was put up for sale again. A year later, a group made up of members of the Muslim community offered to purchase the building. This group intended to convert the former indoor pool into a mosque.
In 2005, after gaining ownership of this building, the group immediately began repairs and alterations. Unfortunately, the renovation work eventually stopped, possibly because the outdated building required more money than expected to transform it into a mosque.
Piscine Mosque was once again left empty, although some subsequent urban explorers noted that evidence of the mosque restoration work can be seen in the elegant patterns of tiles on the walls near the entrance.
The future of the former indoor pool is currently uncertain. In 2017, there was talk about how the site might be renovated, but the costs of this were estimated to be 50,000 euros, a sum which the owner could not afford. Consequently, the building has remained untouched.
The pool is filled with debris while the theater hall is destroyed and empty. Around the edges of the pool and on the walls are many different styles of graffiti.
Despite being closed, the abandoned complex still has its own charm. Photographers and urban explorers often comment on the beauty and intricate design of the central staircase in particular.
The owner of these fantastic photos of the abandoned pool is an independent videographer and photographer from Belgium: Eric Jaminet. Exploring abandoned buildings and forgotten places is his passion, and he publishes the photos documenting his explorations on his website.
Urbex Vision is a collection of his photos and videos that convey the beauty and atmosphere that Eric has encountered. Visit his site, and if you have any questions, feel free to contact him. In addition to the site, you can follow Eric on social networks such as Facebook and Instagram, where he also shares his experience.