There is something about death and destruction that fascinates the human mind, and dark tourism appears to cater to the mesmerizing obsession that we have with it.
From the curiosity of North Korea to the nuclear disaster of Chernobyl, many grapple with understanding and making sense of tragedies, whether accidental or displaying the worst in human behaviour.
If dark tourism is something that appeals, here is a list of five must-visit experiences for any dark tourists bucket list:
Chernobyl and Prypiat – Ukraine
Rising steadily as a dark tourist favourite is the site of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Radioactive material was sent hurling into the atmosphere in 1986 when reactor 4 imploded. Since then, an exclusion zone has been in place, covering Chernobyl and surrounding cities and villages.
Only accessible with a tour guide, and a mountain of documentation, Chernobyl is still considered to be dangerous but appeals to visitors the world over. Grab protective gear and add this to the dark tourism must-see list.
Auschwitz – Poland
A camp of horrors, where an estimated million people lost their lives while being held prisoner here, by Nazi soldier in the second world war. Tales of torture, starvation, and disease run rampant, and the feeling of indescribable experieness hangs in the air. Some say this is where evil resides, and with many of Auschwitz commanding officers given the death penalty for their part in the atrocities, they may be right.
Ground Zero – New York City, USA
Many remember the moment the planes hit the twin towers and have their own story to tell. Here, the site of the tragic 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City can be visited. See where the twin towers once stood and take time to walk through the museum created in memory of the victims of the 9/11 attacks. Listen to the New Yorker experience as a tour guide shares their connection to that fateful day. Ground Zero is both chilling and thought-provoking.
Culloden – Scotland
A place where the English and Scottish clashed in a bloody battle on Culloden moor in 1746. Visitors can learn about the Jacobite uprising and how Bonnie Prince Charlie led the Scots to a gruesome defeat. Both sides of the story can be heard as visitors walk across the moor where 1,500 Scottish soldiers lost their lives and lie in their final resting place. This site has become more popular with the TV show Outlander with tourists flocking to see where this infamous battle went down. Visit the scene of a bloodbath from many moons ago.
Jack the Ripper – London, England
In the year 1888, London was terrorised by a butcher. They called him Jack the Ripper. Tours offer the public the chance to walk in his footsteps and be taken on a journey around Whitechapel in London. Many argue about ‘whodunnit’ with some pointing the finger at royalty and others believing that with his intricate knife skills; he must have been a surgeon. Learn about the victims, his grotesque crimes, on the interactive tour and try to figure out: who was Jack the Ripper?