What We Loved This Week, Jul. 17 – 23

America’s Christian entertainment industry, facial tattoos in Myanmar, flappers hiding booze, new UNESCO sites, surprising New York City photos.

Bloody Jesus

Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/The Washington PostJulian Jimenez portrays Jesus during a traditional Via Crucis or Way of the Cross procession in Langley Park, Maryland.

Inside America’s Christian Entertainment Industry

Ark Encounter

Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/The Washington PostVisitors to Ark Encounter wait for the attraction’s opening ceremonies in Williamstown, Kentucky.

Although some of the Christian entertainment/education industry’s highest profile destinations — including Kentucky’s Creation Museum and newly opened Noah’s Ark Encounter — were quite costly to erect and aren’t exactly hitting their projections, similar attractions continue to open every year.

Next year, in fact, the $400 million, 430,000 square foot Museum of the Bible is set to open in Washington, D.C. While none have yet been that big, or that expensive, America offers plenty of Christian destinations.

Step inside that world at The Washington Post.

Adam Eve

Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/The Washington PostAdam and Eve are seen in the Garden of Eden at the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky.

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Surprisingly Normal Scenes From Pyongyang, North Korea

Isolated from much of the world for decades, North Korea has offered itself to the world as an object of intense criticism and ceaseless fascination. But for Jaka Parker, the alienated and practically impenetrable nation was simply home.

Life In North Korea

Jaka Parker/InstagramJaka Parker

From November 2012 to March 2016, Jaka Parker lived with his wife and children in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital. For nearly as long, he documented his days in photos. And those days look fascinatingly average.

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33 Haunting Photos Of Abandoned Baltimore

“It was only a matter of time before Baltimore exploded,” wrote veteran Baltimore reporter and resident Michael A. Fletcher in The Washington Post just after last April’s riots over the death of Freddie Gray tore the city apart.

With racial unrest as just one problem among many — including poverty, crime, and drug addiction — Baltimore has long been among the most widely cited cases of urban blight in post-industrial America.

Thus, it’s hardly shocking that Baltimore has lost a stunning 35 percent of its population between its post-war peak and today. What remains is a city littered with deserted streets, corroded factories, and thousands upon thousands of vacant row houses that look all too fittingly like oversized tombstones:

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Abandoned Baltimore Ghetto Photos

Zorah Olivia/FlickrAbandoned row houses off Eastern Ave., a major thoroughfare that traverses the entire eastern half of the city.

Vacants Fence

Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesThe U.S. Census Bureau has counted an astonishing 46,800 vacant properties in Baltimore — a whopping 16 percent of its housing.

Boarded Up Vacants

Alex Wong/Getty ImagesAccording to a 2016 report in The Baltimore Sun, approximately 500 of those vacant houses are so decrepit that city inspectors must check their stability, for fear of the houses collapsing, every ten days.

Sellers Mansion

Wikimedia CommonsBuilt in 1868, the Sellers Mansion was once a grand emblem of Baltimore's post-Civil War prosperity, then a proud landmark for the African-American community that took hold in the mid-20th century.

Today, however, it sits abandoned, as it has for more than 20 years, its bones soon to deteriorate beyond the point of repair.


Baltimore Heritage/FlickrThe Hebrew Orphan Asylum operated as an orphanage from 1876 to 1923, then as a hospital until 1989. The building has remained vacant since then.

Old Town Mall

James Blucher/FlickrThe area surrounding Old Town Mall, a commercial corridor since the 1600s, remained viable through the mid-20th century. At that point, housing projects were built just nearby. But after the projects proved to be untenable dens of crime in the 1990s, they were demolished, leaving Old Town Mall to rot.

In recent years, developers have set their sights on the area. But for now, it remains a veritable ghost town.

Obama Mini Mart

James Blucher/FlickrShops at Old Town Mall.

Black And White Vacants

John Perivolaris/FlickrBoarded up row houses on the border of the Greenmount West and Oliver neighborhoods.

Empty Street

Andrew Burton/Getty ImagesVacant row houses in the Sandtown neighborhood, one of the most crippled areas in the entire city and a very recent hotbed of racial unrest.

Vacants Puddle

Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesEarly this year, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced plans to demolish thousands of the city's vacant buildings, which, he says "are infecting entire neighborhoods" and encouraging crime.


Dorret/FlickrPerlman Place — which according to city officials quoted in The Baltimore Sun, had "the highest concentration of blight in the city" — just before its April 2010 demolition.

Row Houses

Dorret/FlickrAnother view of the vacant row houses of Perlman Place.

Trashed Bus

Nick Normal/FlickrTogether, the Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad (former station pictured above) and the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad once made Baltimore one of the U.S.' great railroad cities in the — and provided both jobs and revenue.

However, since the mid-20th century, these railroads (like so many other across the nation) have fallen into serious decline and, in some cases, total abandonment.

Rail Car

Alexander Rabb/FlickrSome rotting streetcars, once part of Baltimore's public transit network, have since become part of the city's Streetcar Museum.

Busted Car

Nick Normal/FlickrAn abandoned trolley car sits near the railway.

Empty Factory

James Jamieson/FlickrInside the now abandoned Schenuit Rubber Company factory, closed since the 1990s.

Big Abandoned Building

Chuck/FlickrAbandoned plants and factories abound across the city.

United Iron And Metal

cranky messiah/FlickrThis scrap metal yard located in Baltimore's eastern fringes is one of several still located in the city. In recent decades, the illegal sale of found or stolen scrap metal has become a source of income for the poor and/or homeless in the throes of drug addiction.

Grain Elevator

Lindsay Blair Brown/FlickrThe abandoned Canton grain elevator in south Baltimore serves as a grim reminder of the Port of Baltimore's troubled past.

Although it has rebounded in recent years, the port, a major source of employment and revenue for the city, spent much of the last four decades in dire straits.

For much of the 1980s and 1990s, shippers steered clear of Baltimore and business -- not to mention the jobs that came with it -- severely dried up.

Port Decay

Craig Bruce/FlickrAnother view of the Canton grain elevator, shuttered in 1994, when the Baltimore ports were at their nadir.

Curtis Creek

Wikimedia CommonsThe port's decline began to set in as far back as the 1970s. Above, abandoned ships languish in Curtis Creek in 1973.


Nick Normal/FlickrThe Silo Point condominium tower, formerly the Baltimore and Ohio Locust Point Grain Terminal Elevator.

There is perhaps no clearer symbol of Baltimore's all but abandoned industrial sector and the urban development that has failed to revitalize the city.


Nick Normal/FlickrConstruction at a once decrepit property in the Fells Point neighborhood.

Building Fronts

Nick Normal/FlickrMore attempts at revitalizing once dead buildings, now nothing more than facades, in Fells Point. Fells Point is one of the city's most economically viable neighborhoods.

Johns Hopkins

Alex Wong/Getty ImagesWhile most development efforts have focused on the harbor area (e.g. Silo Point), over the past decade-plus Johns Hopkins University has attempted to revitalize some of the run-down property that surrounds its campus.

Car On Fire

Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesRegardless of lawmakers' and developers' attempts to combat the city's deterioration, Baltimore's sociopolitical fabric has taken a major hit over the past year in particular, especially with regards to racial unrest.

Civil Rights Sign

Andrew Burton/Getty ImagesThe flash point came last April, when an African-American resident of West Baltimore named Freddie Gray died in police custody after being arrested for allegedly carrying an illegal switchblade.

Kid Sign

Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesMedical examiners found that Gray received his fatal injuries while being transported by police and ruled that the cause of death was homicide, suggesting that the officers used brutally excessive force.

Burning Car

Andrew Burton/Getty ImagesA protest on April 25 ultimately turned violent and left 34 in handcuffs and 15 police officers injured.

Fire Kid Bike

Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesFollowing Gray's funeral service two days later, more protesting and rioting ensued.

Police Horses

Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesGovernor Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency, imposed a curfew, and called in the National Guard.

Police In Riot Gear

Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesOn May 1, the Baltimore City State's Attorney announced that the six officers involved would be charged with various crimes including assault, manslaughter, and murder.

Armored Vehicle

Patrick Smith/Getty ImagesWhile the individual trials of the six officers involved have not all been completed as of yet, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced that the city reached a $6.4 million settlement with Gray's family so that the city can attempt "to heal." For Baltimore to truly heal, it's likely going to need a lot more than justice in the case of Freddie Gray.

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