Dark tourism, also known as dark tourism or thanato tourism, is a form of tourism that involves visiting historical sites that are related to or associated with death and tragedy. Because I travel to understand the world and history, these are places I have visited regularly. It sounds sinister, dark and strange, and they are places where you get quiet and where you get a knot in your stomach. Yet they are places that I often visit. Is this disrespectful or respectful?
Dark tourism, visiting dark places. 15x well-known dark tourism places you can visit!
Dark tourism, what is it?
In dark tourism, people go looking for dark places. These are places with a clear connection to tragic events. Examples of dark tourism are visiting a museum about Hitler. Or travelling to the battlefields of the First World War. Visiting the camps from the Second World War or looking at dungeons and cemeteries. But also visiting places where historical figures have been murdered or visiting places where victims have lived or are buried.
Is visiting these places disrespectful or respectful?
Opponents find it very disrespectful to use these tragic places as tourist attractions and to make money with them. Tourists can be disrespectful and cause irreparable damage to the environment. But I think dark tourism is important, because the world must not forget what happened. The money it makes can be used to maintain and maintain these places and to educate people. I find visiting these places interesting and educational and if your intention is good. For me it is curiosity, the desire to commemorate the victims, but also because I think that visiting these places is “something you have to do”.
15x well-known dark tourism places you can visit
1. Auschwitz death camp in Poland. Auschwitz was the largest extermination camp used by Nazi Germany and here you can learn more about the Second World War and see with your own eyes the place where many people lost their lives.
2. The Killing Fields in Cambodia. Killing Fields is a place that gives you insight into the terrible events that took place during the Khmer Rouge regime of Pol Pot. If you want to understand Cambodia, then I think you should have a little knowledge about this terrible civil war. It is hard to believe that less than 40 years ago a horrific massacre took place here.
3. Chernobyl in Ukraine. This is a place in the former Soviet Union where, on 26 April 1986, a nuclear disaster took place which is estimated to have cost the lives of some 600 000 people. An area of some 30 kilometres became uninhabitable as a result of the radiation released by the disaster. You can enter certain parts of the area with a guide.
4. Ground Zero in the United States. This is where the World Trade Center in New York was located and where the Twin Towers were located where two hijacked aircraft flew in on September 11, 2001. Almost 3,000 people were killed in this attack. There is now a monument and a museum.
5. Landmine museum in Cambodia. This landmine museum shows the consequences of the mines in the country. Pol Pot was of the opinion that landmines are the perfect soldiers and has used them many times. During his reign there are 4 to 5 million landmines spread all over Cambodia. The government of Cambodia has been trying for years to dismantle all landmines, but the problem is that there is not enough money to dismantle them.
6. Hiroshima & Nagasaki in Japan. These are two cities that were bombed with atomic bombs by the United States in 1945 and thus forced Japan to capitulate. A total of 250,000 people have died and in both cities there is a museum where annual commemorations take place.
7. Semipalatinsk test site in Kazakhstan. The Semipalatinsk test site was formerly Semipalatinsk-21 and was the most important test site of the Soviet Union’s nuclear weapons. Nowhere else in the world were so many nuclear tests carried out within a 100-kilometre radius of a city. Many died as a result of the radiation and around the city about 1.2 million people were radioactively contaminated. The test site is still a restricted area, but due to its enormous size it is practically accessible to everyone.
8. Tuol Sleng prison in Cambodia. In the Tuol Sleng prison in Phnom Penh you see things you don’t want to see and/or know at all, because it is all so horrible. It shows the horrible side of the human mind during the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia.
9. La Catedral, Pablo Escobar prison, in Colombia. Pablo Escobar was one of the richest drug barons in the world and made a lot of money with the cocaine trade. After Pablo Escobar had made a deal with the Colombian government, he was allowed to build his own prison in the town of Envigado near Medellin. This prison is La Catedral and you can visit it.
10. Anne Frank House in the Netherlands. Anne Frank was a Jewish girl from Germany and she became known for writing a diary. She wrote this during the Second World War when she was in hiding in Amsterdam. Her diary is one of the most read books in the world. The place where she was in hiding can be visited.
11. Aokigahara in Japan. This is a forest of about 35 square kilometers and is called the suicide forest. It is very dark and dark in the forest and there are hardly any paths. Dozens of people choose this place for suicide every year. You can discover the forest by yourself or with a guide.
12. Demilitarized Zone in Korea. The DMZ is the buffer zone between the countries of North and South Korea. This is a zone of 4 kilometers wide and 28 kilometers long and is a large piece of no man’s land that separates these two countries. The guard in this zone is kept by American UN soldiers.
13. Vietcongtunnels in Vietnam. The Vietcong tunnels have been frequently used by the Vietcong fighters during the Vietnam War. Vietcong fighters are the communist rebels of the South, but also the North Vietnamese army used these tunnels. The tunnels were built according to a very intelligent system and they consisted of various levels that were connected by various doors.
14. Robben Island in South Africa. Nelson Mandela stayed in prison on Robben Island from 1964 to 1982. During his imprisonment the issue of apartheid was discussed at an international level. Mandela became internationally known and became the symbol of the worldwide anti-apartheid movement.
15. Père-Lachaise Cemetery in France. Cimetière du Père-Lachaise is the largest cemetery in Paris. With more than three million visitors a year, Père-Lachaise is the most visited cemetery in the world. This is partly due to the fact that so many celebrities are buried there.