What is Dark Tourism? Your Complete Guide

For many years now dark tourism has been a part of our fascination, but ever wondered what exactly this fascinating word mean?

What actually is Dark Tourism ??

Dark Tourism

Dark tourism which also goes by the name of black tourism or grief tourism  is(not literally, but metaphorically!) a type of tourism which involves travelling to places which are historically associated with death and tragedy. The reason of attraction to these places is mostly due to their historical value and not solely due to their association with dead or tragedy.

Who is a dark tourist ?

Surprisingly , all  of us to some extent, maybe not intentionally but unknowingly, are a dark tourist!  How?  Ever visited any site which was directly or indirectly related to a tragedy such as volcanic eruption sites, suicide spots, war grounds!

Dark Tourism

There has been a long tradition of visiting ancient sites of disasters and death such as colosseum , although the term dark tourism is pretty recent, coined by professors John Lennon and Malcolm Foley in the year 1996.

If a destination bears at least one of the six qualities namely:

  • Mass murders or executions
  • Historically important wars or mausoleums
  • Death of an important person
  • Tools or remains representing death
  • Religious significance
  • Natural disasters

then it is considered dark tourism site.

Although the name sounds scary at first instance but such spots are the most frequently visited these days, one of the reasons being the increase in the interest of people to visit historic places because of the numerous movies highlighting such marvelous architecture. Apart from this, many people travel to active war zones and refugee camps to feel what it means to be at war.

Dark tourism  has become the most favorite word in the dictionary of an adventure loving person. People find it thrilling to visit mysterious places such as Kuldhara village in Rajasthan , which is believed to be haunted.

Here presenting the top dark tourism places from around the globe:

1. Concentration camp Auschwitz, Poland

A german concentration camp during World War  2  where people from all over Europe were deported has now become one of the best known dark tourism destinations, the highlight of which being the free access to the whole complex including the inside of huts where the prisoners were kept.

2. 9/11 Memorial, New York

Dark Tourism

Multiple monuments, museums etc were built after the attack on September 11,2011. Since then it has become a site of tourist attraction and people generally don’t realize it to be a dark tourism site.

3. Chernobyl, Ukraine

Dark Tourism

In 1986, one of the worst nuclear accident in the history of mankind which occurred due to the explosion of no 4 light water graphite moderator reactor at Chernobyl nuclear power plant, this site has attracted thousands of people.

4. Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, North Korea

Dark Tourism

Formerly called Kumsusan Memorial Palace, is a building that serves as the mausoleum for Kim ||-sung , the founder of North Korea and for his son Kim Jong-il

5. Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, Cambodia

Former secondary school used as security prison 21, in which around 20,000 people were imprisoned in between year 1976 and 1979 , has now become one of the famous dark tourism destinations.

What are the Top Dark Tourism Destinations in India ??

The complete guide to dark tourism destinations in India :

1.Bhangarh Fort

Bhangarh Fort

In the state of Rajasthan, is the most haunted and spooky place in India as it is considered to be cursed by a magician.

2. The Lambi Dehar Mines, Mussorie

Is one of the spookiest places in the country. Millions of workers died in the mines while working, unusual deaths and activities have also been observed at this place.

3. Kuldhara

Dark Tourism

Its a place, again in Rajasthan where it is said that 83 villages lost their existence in just one night, presently no one lives there.

4. Ramoji Film City, Hyderabad 

It is one of the biggest and famous film cities of India where there are various hotels in which supernatural activities have been observed.

5. Shaniwarwada Fort, Pune

Dark Tourism

It it is believed that a prince was unkindly murdered here and because of this reason this place is considered as a part of dark tourism.

6. Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar

Dark Tourism

On April 13, 1919, the Jallianwala Bagh gardens witnessed the massacre of thousands of unarmed people, including women and children. If we visit this place even today, we can still see bullet holes in the walls and the well, in which hundreds of people jumped in to save themselves.  

What’s the link between Netflix and Dark Tourism ??

Netflix webseries also deserves a huge credit for the sudden increase in the craze for  dark tourism because of the launch of the documentary series named dark tourist  which highlighted dark tourism.

Netflix and Dark Tourism

It debuted on 20th July 2018, streaming service worldwide and is presented by New Zealand journalist David Farrier. The eight episodes of the series are divided into regions, with two dedicated to the United States and one each for Europe, Japan, Africa, Southeast Asia and the Stans (Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan).

Each episode sees Farrier hop between a few locations that have been associated at some time or other with the dark tourism trend. The series so far has received a mixed review with some praising the work and few others criticizing and raising ethical questions. But no doubt, it brought dark tourism into a picture.

The British empire was certainly responsible for enough dark stuffs and suffered in various ways. In the British homeland , there is a sort of quirky, electric mix of dark tourism destinations, ranging from disaster and war memorial sites, beautiful old cemeteries to cold war and nuclear sites.

Owing to the high population of the UK and the people who committed some of the worst crimes in the history of mankind have been sent to their deaths in the city, transforming the various parts of the city into dark tourism destinations.

The tower of London, Jack the Ripper Tours, Bart’s pathology Museum, Highgate cemetery, London Hospital Museum, Cross Bones Graveyard Southwark are some of the best dark tourism places in UK.

It is sheer curiosity that pushes people to tread the road less travelled to seek answers. Travel, by far, has been mostly related to journey and exploring beautiful places; but with this type of tourism finding its ground, it only explains how the human mind cannot be tamed.

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