20 dark places for fans of “black tourism”

20 dark places for fans of “black tourism”

Are you looking for places marked by tragedy, death, do you feel the allure of a “dark aura”? Relax, you are not alone. Thousands of tourists are looking for the same thing, and there is no shortage of such “attractions” in the world. Here are 20 places for “black tourism” lovers.

Not every tourist is looking for scenic landscapes, impressive monuments and pleasant experiences. Some people are looking for a “dark aura,” taking the risk of going to places marked by tragedy, death, war, accidents or natural disasters.

This trend is called “black” or “dark tourism” or “thanatotourism.” However we judge it, it fits the character of man who has always been fascinated by misfortune, because-let’s face it-crimes, executions, accidents and disasters have always been able to count on a wide group of curious observers and journalists.

So if you’re wondering if you’re okay, since you are looking for such places and experiences, ask yourself if after visiting the “dark sights” you have a deeper reflection on the history and state of humanity and if you can respect these feelings. people for whom the memory of traumatic events is still alive. If so, it is also worth knowing the “dark side” of the world for a reason.

Here are 20 subjectively selected places for fans of “black tourism.

1. Auschwitz-Birkenau, Poland

Probably the darkest place in the history of mankind, a powerful symbol of the cruelty of which man, blinded by a totalitarian ideology, is capable. Auschwitz-Birkenau was a German Nazi concentration and death camp that operated during World War II. Over 1.1 million people of various nationalities, mostly Jews and Poles, probably died there.

2. Death Fields, Cambodia

The Chong Ek death fields near the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh look innocent. In fact, they are a grim monument to the Khmer Rouge regime of the 1970s. Pol Pot’s fanatical followers brought nearly 17,000 people here after being tortured in prison. Most of them–to save bullets–were beaten with hoes and buried in mass graves of 450 each.

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3. The memory of the Rwandan genocide

The name of this small country in Central Africa is automatically associated with the most brutal genocide of modern times in 1994, when mass pogroms of the Tutsi people were carried out by Hutu extremists. The victims and the neighbors who helped them were hunted for months, and the killings were usually carried out with machetes. There are several memorials across the country that clearly represent the artifacts of the nearly one million killed.

4. Chernobyl, Ukraine.

In 1986, an accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant led to radioactive contamination, forcing thousands of people to evacuate and creating a 30 km radius exclusion zone. Today, these areas, deemed uninhabitable for millennia by authorities, dominated by wildlife and promoted by pop culture, are increasingly visited by tourists staring at Geiger counters.

5. Pompeii, Italy

An ancient city near Naples froze over when the eruption of the volcano Vesuvius in 79 A.D. covered it with hot ash, killing many of its inhabitants. Today we can see this well-preserved time capsule where archaeologists regularly make sensational discoveries . Most impressive are the casts of the bodies of the victims preserved from the ashes, frozen in poses from the moment they were caught in the act of death.

6. Hiroshima, Japan

The name of this Japanese city went down in history on August 6, 1945. On this day mankind was for the first time convinced of the deadly power of nuclear weapons. In a fraction of a second, the American “Little Boy” atomic bomb killed some 70-90 thousand people and wiped the city off the face of the earth. One of the few surviving sites is the former Industry Promotion Hall of Hiroshima Prefecture. Today the characteristic skeleton of the building is a monument to peace and a warning against nuclear destruction.

7. Fukushima, Japan.

The second most famous place after Chernobyl, where a fatal nuclear catastrophe caused by a massive tsunami caused by an earthquake occurred in 2011. In organized groups, you can enter the red zone and see the aftermath of the disaster-a ghost town where time stood still as residents hurriedly evacuated, abandoning all their possessions. You can also see how life is slowly coming back to life in the less contaminated settlements where some former residents are slowly returning.

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8. Oradour-sur-Glan, France

The French town turned into a ghost town in 1944, when a few days after the famous D-Day Allied landings in Normandy the Germans for unknown reasons murdered 642 residents in the local church, sparing neither women nor children. An agitated President Charles de Gaulle ordered that the town be preserved intact after the massacre as a permanent memorial to the victims and a touching warning of the consequences of war.

9. Aokigahara Forest, Japan.

Next to Japan’s famous Mount Fuji is the dense wilderness of the Aokigahara Forest. The climate of this beautiful natural area is spoiled by the fact that it is very popular among people. Every year more than 100 people decide here. The local police have for years used preventive arrests against people whose behavior indicates suicidal intentions.

10. Berlin, Germany

The capital of Germany throughout its history, especially in the 20th century, is full of dark places associated with the Third Reich, World War II and finally the Cold War, the GDR and the Iron Curtain that separated the city and the world until 1989. Of the many places it is worth seeing, including the World War II Bunkers, the 1936 Olympic Stadium, the former Sachsenhausen Camp, Tempelhof Airport, the remains of the Berlin Wall, the former Stasi Prison, the GDR Life Museum, the Espionage Museum, the American listening station Teufelsberg and much more.

The Semipalatinsk nuclear test site in Kazakhstan.

The vast desert steppe in eastern Kazakhstan that was used by the Soviet Union for most nuclear weapons tests during the Cold War. It could be said to have been analogous to the American military test site in the Nevada desert, but unlike it, it was permanently closed in 1991. Since then, the area has become partially accessible to intrepid travelers . Here you can admire the remains of the infrastructure used for testing, bunkers, tunnels, towers and lakes formed in the craters after the explosions.

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12. Verdun, France

A small town in northeastern France whose name is forever associated with one of the longest and deadliest battles in human history. It symbolizes the madness and brutality of industrial warfare on an unprecedented scale. The city is home to an outstanding museum of World War I and is surrounded by battlefields with several monuments, historic forts and remnants of funnels and trenches.

13. North Korea.

This is perhaps the only time an entire country can be called a dystopian tourist attraction. However, North Korea, known as the most mysterious country in the world, is accessible to tourists, who are an important source of currency for the ruling regime led by Kim Jong-un. It is forbidden to travel in the country alone, all tours are carefully controlled and based on propaganda. It is not a good idea to deal with “regular” people, and if you break these strict rules, it is easy to get into trouble. The strange cult of personality is well illustrated by the obligatory visit to the Kumsusan Mausoleum, where the “beloved leaders” Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il are buried.

14. Pearl Harbor, USA

Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu in Hawaii is one of the most important dark tourist attractions in the world in terms of the number of visitors each year. It is the main U.S. memorial to the history of World War II in the Pacific. It was the site of a surprise Japanese attack that dragged the United States into the war. About 2,400 Americans died in a single day, more than 160 planes were destroyed, and about 20 ships were sunk or damaged. You can see here, among others, the sinking of the USS Arizona, the remains of all the sailors from which have not been recovered to this day.

15. Robben Island, South Africa

The island near Cape Town was once a leper colony and later a sanctuary. Its darkest fame, however, was for being used as a prison during apartheid (the racist system in South Africa). It was there that Nelson Mandela was held for many years in harsh conditions along with other political prisoners. The place is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and tourists can visit it as part of guided tours by former prisoners.

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16. Traces of the 9/11 attacks in New York, USA.

After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 in New York, many monuments and museums have been created. The most popular is the so-called Zero Ground, the site where the twin towers of the World Trade Center in Manhattan once stood before hijacked planes crashed into them, killing nearly 3,000 people. people. In addition to memorials in the form of waterfalls disappearing underground, it houses a museum with artifacts related to events that shook America and changed the world.

17. Skull Chapel, Sedlec, Kutna Hora, Czech Republic

Looking at a small building in a town near Prague, it’s impossible to guess what it hides inside. And inside there are 400,000 bones. people have been buried for years in a nearby cemetery. In 1870, Frantisek Rint used them to decorate the temple. The effect is eerie, but also beautiful . Everything is made of bones: inscriptions, bowls, crosses, even the large chandelier hanging in the middle is built from all the elements of a human skeleton.

18. The Gulag of Kolyma and Magadan, Russia.

As for the Gulags of the Stalin era, Magadan and the area on the Kolyma River enjoy the worst fame. The area in eastern Siberia is so remote that it was not necessary to build fences and barbed wire around the camps because potential fugitives had no chance of surviving in the white desert. It takes a lot of persistence to get here, and you usually enlist the services of experienced guides. The so-called Kolyma Tract, known as the “Road of Bones” after the exiles buried under it, with visits to numerous ghost towns and Gulag ruins .

19. Varosia, Famagusta, Cyprus

The ghost town of Varosia is the district of Famagusta in the northeast of Cyprus. The resort once enjoyed great popularity and prestige, but after the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, it was deserted and to this day, the parties to the Cyprus conflict cannot agree on how to divide and revive the city. Unfortunately, they can only be seen from afar under the watchful gaze of Turkish soldiers, and it is an interesting and sad time capsule because the residents-mostly Greek Cypriots-have left most of their possessions behind, fleeing for a while.

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20. Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom.

Today it seems quiet here-though in the minds of many the strife is still alive. However, during the so-called “Troubles” (the struggle between Catholics and Protestants), some of the forbidden areas in Northern Ireland were not on any tourist route. Nowadays, a popular dark attraction is a walk through West Belfast on the traces of the troubled past. You can see political murals and the wall that still separates the Catholic community from the Protestant community, as well as sites of riots and bombings.

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