Urbanist Hanoi

BackArts & Culture » [Photos] Taipei's Ghostly Disused Leprosy Sanitarium

[Photos] Taipei's Ghostly Disused Leprosy Sanitarium

Taipei is known as a highly advanced, efficient city famous for modern marvels such as the Taipei 101 and a fantastic metro system.

On the outskirts of the city, however, things can get a little more gritty. Head west into the suburbs of New Taipei City, home to used car dealerships and an urban sprawl wedged into narrowing valleys, and one will find the eerie, mostly abandoned Losheng Sanitarium.

Located on a hill behind the enormous construction site of a new MRT depot, this facility is a must-visit for anyone interested in photography, abandoned places and urban exploration. 

The sanitarium, first called the Rakusei Sanitarium for Lepers of Governor-General of Taiwan, was built in the 1930s when the island was occupied by the Japanese. Lepers were forced to live here in isolation from society.

When a cure for the disease was discovered in the middle of the 20th century, the lepers were allowed to leave, but many stayed since they faced discrimination and were used to being ostracized.

Today a modern hospital sits across the MRT construction site from Losheng, while a heated debate rages over the preservation of the site. Originally the metro depot was intended to completely clear out the sanitarium, but opposition to the plan forced city leaders to reconsider.

Now, steel beams support many of the building to keep them from sliding down the hill, the base of which has been removed by construction. Elderly residents still live in some of the structures, but most of the site sits abandoned.

Bedrooms rot in the heat, family portraits litter floors and filthy clothing fills wardrobes. Plants grow in the corners of rooms where the ceiling has been blown away.

The most fascinating - and creepiest - parts of Losheng are the two main medical buildings where lepers were treated. Even after all these years computers, medical equipment and x-ray slides remain in place.

One room features an operating table and a cart with a needle and surgical gloves on it, as if the doctors and nurses had simply walked out in the middle of a procedure, never to return again.

Hospital beds litter other rooms, and the setting is absolutely perfect for a horror film. Exploring Losheng at night would be a truly frightening experience.

Of course, one must keep in mind the sinister purpose behind the sanitarium's construction. Graphic pictures of patients in one room are a reminder of how horrific leprosy was, and how glad we should all be that it has been cured.

Losheng, which means "happy life," stands as a photogenic, ghostly reminder of how those unfortunate enough to contract the disease were treated in the past.

Take a tour of the facility below:

A moldy office or bedroom in the residential section of the sanitarium.

An examination chair at Losheng.

Faded family portraits litter the floor of a bedroom.

Personal belongings remain in some rooms years after most residents left.

A kitchen packed with random boxes and electric wheelchairs.

Medical equipment sits unused and covered in dust in the facility's medical buildings.

The control panel for an x-ray machine.

A needle and damp glove sit on a surgical tray, as if the medical staff left in the middle of a procedure.

A microscope which was once used to examine biological samples.

X-rays of a chest and torso hang in a window.

Losheng's long, empty hallways create a genuinely creepy atmosphere.

A surgical chair awaits its next patient.

An alarm box on a wall at Losheng.

A pitch-black x-ray room full of medical information and paraphernalia.

The main reception area at Losheng.

Empty, rusted lockers in what must have been a changing room.

A laboratory that, judging by the signs, once contained deadly, flammable chemicals.

Tables that were most likely used for autopsies.


Related Articles:

- [Photos] The Rustic Beauty of Hanoi's Red River Brick Factories

- [Photos] Hue's Abandoned Waterpark Is a Post-Apocalyptic Beauty

- [Photos] Parkour Meets Fire Spinning in Abandoned Lideco Neighborhood


Related Articles

in Arts & Culture

[Photos] The 3D Ribbon Embroideries That Turn Nature Into Wearable Art

For these incredible creations, monochromatic silk garments serve as canvases, upon which the colorful ribbon renderings of Vietnamese animals and plants are sewn.

in Arts & Culture

'Napalm Girl' Kim Phuc Awarded International Peace Prize in Germany

Nearly 50 years after the iconic photo of her running from a bombing raid was taken, Phan Thi Kim Phuc has earned Germany's Dresden award for her support of UNESCO and children wounded in war.

in Hanoi

1,000 Volunteer Opportunities Available for Hanoi F1 Race

Do you know how to determine the weight of a race car?

in Food Culture

A Brief Guide to Vietnam's Lesser-Known Sweet Sticky Rice Dishes

You may have tried the famed mango sticky rice from Thailand and wondered, “How on earth does this rice go so well with the sweetness of mango and coconut milk?” Usually, some would think of rice as p...

in Hanoi

A Magnitude-5.3 Earthquake Centered in China Rattles Hanoi Over the Weekend

A strong earthquake centered in southern China rattled Hanoi this past Saturday morning, frightening many in the city.

in Health

After Typhoon Damrey, 150,000 Children in Vietnam Are at Risk of Malnutrition: UNICEF

Typhoon Damrey, which struck south-central Vietnam over a week ago, has left tens of thousands of children at risk of health issues, UNICEF reports.