Sites of nuclear tragedies, massacres, deaths, and sorrow- not necessarily the dream holiday destinations. Yet these sites are becoming increasingly popular as dark tourism sites. Dark tourism ,as the term implies is tourism focused on places associated with tragedy – a nuclear wasteland, a terrorist memorial, a holocaust site etc
While humanity’s fascination with death and all things macabre is not something new, there has been criticism about the ethical side of the entire concept. But what matters is the intention of the visitor. Learning from a dark past and acknowledging the victims and their struggle might have its positive sides. Here are 5 of popular dark tourism sites.
1. Chernobyl, Ukraine
While the radiation threat is very much real, it hasn’t held back tourists to Chernobyl. In 1986 Chernobyl witnessed the biggest nuclear accident in human history. The 30-kilometer radius surrounding the plant known as the “ Exclusion Zone “ is the tourist hot spot here, and even has hotels.
2. Auschwitz, Poland
The cruel reminder of the Nazi regime has become a major tourist attraction. This Nazi concentration camp has through its gas chambers claimed about 1.1 million innocent lives. The former concentration camp, now the Auschwitz Birkenau Museum, has seen a steady flow of tourists who are constantly reminded of humanity’s darkest side.
3. Ground Zero, U S A
The site where the World Trade Center stood once is now Ground Zero following the disastrous September 11 attacks which resulted in the death of almost 3000 people and sent shock-waves throughout the world. The ground zero memorial is complemented by a museum and has become one of NY’s major tourist destinations.
4. Killing Fields, Cambodia
Another chilling reminder of the evil that humanity is capable of. These include multiple sites of state-sponsored genocide in Cambodia between 1972 and 1979 under the Khmer Rouge regime that killed almost 2 million people. The best known is Choeung Ek, where more than 8000 skulls are stacked in the Memorial Stupa and contains mass graves.
5. Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park , Japan
The twin bombs that the USA dropped in Hiroshima and Nagasaki took not only numerous lives but also left a mark on its future generations. The memorial park at Hiroshima is not only dedicated to the victims of the attack but it is also a plea to the world to maintain peace and prevent war.
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