When on vacation, many people choose to visit traditional tourist attractions such as museums or unique natural landmarks and check out architecture with great historical value.
But another type of tourism, called dark tourism is becoming more and more appealing to many tourists, by taking them to macabre sites, with dark, violent histories. More exactly, dark tourism has been defined as travel to sites historically associated with death or tragedy. It turns out a growing number of people are attracted to such sites, so here’s a list of ten ghastly destinations to check out in your future travels:
1. Auschwitz – the Nazi concentration camp exerts a terrible fascination over travelers all around the world. Despite being the site of torture and death of more than 1 million people, hundreds of tourists come to visit every day, as part of guided tours or on their own. The site has two parts, Auschwitz and Auschwitz II-Birkenau. The entrance is free, and the museum is open 7 days a week.
2. Hiroshima – Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park, dedicated to the tens of thousands who lost their lives in the nuclear attacks of 1945, includes the A-Bomb Dome – the ruins of the building closest to the “hypocentre” of the bomb and the Children’s Peace Monument. Despite (or maybe due to) being a site of destruction, it still attracts many curious tourists every year.
3. Ground Zero – 15 years after the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001, which killed over 2,900 people and injured more than 6,000 others, the World Trade Centre is still being visited by many tourists around the world. A memorial was enacted a year later, featuring a list of the names of all the victims lost in the attacks.
4. Fukushima – With Japan commemorating five years since the nuclear disaster, the site is to this day brimming with curious visitors, even as structures are being demolished by teams in thick radiation suits.
5. Prisons – Many former prisons such as Alcatraz, on an island off the coast of San Francisco, are open to visitors all around the world. Some of them have even transformed into hotels, such as Malmaison Oxford in the UK, the Four Seasons Istanbul, and the Lloyd Hotel in Amsterdam.
6. Pripyat, Ukraine – Pripyat is the town where the Chernobyl disaster happened in April 1986. The accident itself did not kill many people, but long-term effects such as cancers and deformities are still being accounted for even today. Once home to 50,000 people, Pripyat is now an abandoned town, left as it was in the moment of the tragedy, so it looks like the set of a post-apocalypse movie. Nevertheless, it receives many visitors every year.
7. Costa Concordia – The Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia capsized and sank after striking an underwater obstruction off Isola del Giglio, on 13 January 2012. In the two years that followed, the wreck become a grim tourist attraction, with thousands of visitors queuing up each day to catch a ferry that passed within just a few feet of the submerged cruise ship. In July 2014, the ship was refloated and removed.
8. Suicide forest, Japan – The forest has such an unusually dense tree distribution that it literally blocks winds, making it an exceptionally quiet and eerie place. Over the years, it has become popular spot for suicides. Despite the warnings, it is still a attractive site for tourists.
9. Battlefields – Former war sites such as Somme, Hastings, Gettysburg, Waterloo, Bosworth and many more lure hundreds of tourists every year and even provide guided tours.
10. The Paris catacombs – The former underground tunnels filled with the bones of millions of dead reburied here when Paris’s regular inner-city cemeteries were closed down at the end of the 18th century. The system of tunnels is deliberately designed to lure visitors with a taste for the macabre.