• 001 - the logo.jpg
  • 002 - Hiroshima sunset.jpg
  • 003 - Auschwitz-Birkenau ramp.jpg
  • 004 - Chernobyl contamination.jpg
  • 005 - Darvaza flaming gas crater.jpg
  • 006 - Berlin Wall madness.jpg
  • 007 - Bulgaria - monument at the bottom of Buzludzhy park hill.jpg
  • 008 - Ijen crater.jpg
  • 009 - Aralsk, Kazakhstan.jpg
  • 010 - Paris catacombs.jpg
  • 011 - Krakatoa.jpg
  • 012 - Ho Chi Minh mausoleum, Hanoi.jpg
  • 013 - Uyuni.jpg
  • 014 - DMZ Vietnam.jpg
  • 015 - Colditz Kopie.jpg
  • 016 - Glasgow Necropolis.jpg
  • 017 - Hashima ghost island.jpg
  • 018 - Kazakhstan.jpg
  • 019 - Arlington.jpg
  • 020 - Karosta prison.jpg
  • 021 - Kamikaze.jpg
  • 022 - Chacabuco ghost town.jpg
  • 023 - Eagle's Nest, Obersalzberg, Berchtesgaden.jpg
  • 024 - Kursk.jpg
  • 025 - Bran castle, Carpathia, Romania.jpg
  • 026 - Bestattungsmuseum Wien.jpg
  • 027 - Pripyat near Chernobyl.jpg
  • 028 - Sedlec ossuary, Czech Republic.jpg
  • 029 - Pyramida Lenin.jpg
  • 030 - Falklands.jpg
  • 031 - Majdanek.jpg
  • 032 - Soufriere volcano, Montserrat.jpg
  • 033 - moai on Easter Island.jpg
  • 034 - Sidoarjo.jpg
  • 035 - Hötensleben.jpg
  • 036 - Natzweiler.jpg
  • 037 - Polygon, Semipalatinsk test site, Kazakhstan.jpg
  • 038 - Srebrenica.jpg
  • 039 - Liepaja, Latvia.jpg
  • 040 - Vemork hydroelectric power plant building, Norway.jpg
  • 041 - Enola Gay.jpg
  • 042 - Pentagon 9-11 memorial.jpg
  • 043 - Robben Island prison, South Africa.jpg
  • 044 - Tollund man.jpg
  • 045 - Marienthal tunnel.jpg
  • 046 - Aso, Japan.jpg
  • 047 - Labrador battery Singapore.jpg
  • 048 - Artyom island, Absheron, Azerbaijan.jpg
  • 049 - Treblinka.jpg
  • 050 - Titan II silo.jpg
  • 051 - dosemetering doll, Chernobyl.jpg
  • 052 - Holocaust memorial, Berlin.jpg
  • 053 - Komodo dragon.jpg
  • 054 - cemeterio general, Santiago de Chile.jpg
  • 055 - Tuol Sleng, Phnom Phen, Cambodia.jpg
  • 056 - West Virginia penitentiary.jpg
  • 057 - ovens, Dachau.jpg
  • 058 - Derry, Northern Ireland.jpg
  • 059 - Bulgaria - Buzludzha - workers of all countries unite.jpg
  • 060 - Sachsenhausen.jpg
  • 061 - Tiraspol dom sovietov.jpg
  • 062 - modern-day Pompeii - Plymouth, Montserrat.jpg
  • 063 - Pico de Fogo.jpg
  • 064 - Trinity Day.jpg
  • 065 - Zwentendorf control room.jpg
  • 066 - Wolfschanze.jpg
  • 067 - Hiroshima by night.jpg
  • 068 - mass games, North Korea.jpg
  • 069 - Harrisburg.jpg
  • 070 - Nuremberg.jpg
  • 071 - Mostar.jpg
  • 072 - Tu-22, Riga aviation museum.jpg
  • 073 - Gallipoli, Lone Pine.jpg
  • 074 - Auschwitz-Birkenau - fence.jpg
  • 075 - Darvaza flaming gas crater.jpg
  • 076 - Atatürk Mausoleum, Ankara.jpg
  • 077 - Banda Aceh boats.jpg
  • 078 - AMARG.jpg
  • 079 - Chacabuco ruins.jpg
  • 080 - Bucharest.jpg
  • 081 - Bernauer Straße.jpg
  • 082 - Death Railway, Thailand.jpg
  • 083 - Mandor killing fields.jpg
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  • 085 - Jerusalem.jpg
  • 086 - Latin Bridge, Sarajevo.jpg
  • 087 - Panmunjom, DMZ, Korea.jpg
  • 088 - Ijen blue flames.jpg
  • 089 - Derry reconsilliation monument.jpg
  • 090 - Ebensee.jpg
  • 091 - Mödlareuth barbed wire.jpg
  • 092 - skull heaps in Sedlec ossuary, Czech Republic.jpg
  • 093 - Nikel.jpg
  • 094 - Fukushima-Daiichi NPP.jpg
  • 095 - Tital launch control centre.jpg
  • 096 - Dallas Dealy Plaza and Sixth Floor Museum.jpg
  • 097 - Auschwitz I.jpg
  • 098 - Stalin and Lenin, Tirana, Albania.jpg
  • 099 - Malta, Fort St Elmo.jpg
  • 100 - Peenemünde.jpg
  • 101 - Tarrafal.jpg
  • 102 - Kilmainham prison, Dublin.jpg
  • 103 - North Korea.jpg
  • 104 - Mittelbau-Dora.jpg
  • 105 - St Helena.jpg
  • 106 - Stutthof, Poland.jpg
  • 107 - Merapi destruction.jpg
  • 108 - Chueung Ek killing fields, Cambodia.jpg
  • 109 - Marienborn former GDR border.jpg
  • 110 - Mig and star, Kazakhstan.jpg
  • 111 - Nagasaki WWII tunnels.jpg
  • 112 - Hellfire Pass, Thailand.jpg
  • 113 - Kiev.jpg
  • 114 - Grutas Park, Lithuania.jpg
  • 115 - Zwentendorf reactor core.jpg
  • 116 - two occupations, Tallinn.jpg
  • 117 - Trunyan burial site.jpg
  • 118 - Ushuaia prison.jpg
  • 119 - Buchenwald.jpg
  • 120 - Marienthal with ghost.jpg
  • 121 - Murmansk harbour - with an aircraft carrier.jpg
  • 122 - Berlin Olympiastadion.JPG
  • 123 - Bastille Day, Paris.jpg
  • 124 - Spassk.jpg
  • 125 - Theresienstadt.jpg
  • 126 - B-52s.jpg
  • 127 - Bledug Kuwu.jpg
  • 128 - Friedhof der Namenlosen, Vienna.jpg
  • 129 - Auschwitz-Birkenau barracks.jpg
  • 130 - mummies, Bolivia.jpg
  • 131 - Barringer meteor crater.jpg
  • 132 - Murambi, Rwanda.jpg
  • 133 - NTS.jpg
  • 134 - Mauthausen Soviet monument.jpg
  • 135 - pullution, Kazakhstan.JPG
  • 136 - palm oil madness.jpg
  • 137 - Berlin socialist realism.jpg
  • 138 - Okawa school building ruin.jpg
  • 139 - Pawiak, Warsaw.jpg
  • 140 - flying death, military museum Dresden.JPG
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  • 142 - KZ jacket.JPG
  • 143 - ex-USSR.JPG
  • 144 - Indonesia fruit bats.JPG
  • 145 - Alcatraz.JPG
  • 146 - Chernobyl Museum, Kiev, Ukraine.JPG
  • 147 - Halemaumau lava lake glow, Hawaii.JPG
  • 148 - Rosinenbomber at Tempelhof, Berlin.jpg
  • 149 - Verdun, France.JPG
  • 150 - hospital, Vukovar, Croatia.JPG
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  • 154 - Groß-Rosen, Poland.jpg
  • 155 - at Monino, Russia.jpg
  • 156 - blinking Komodo.jpg
  • 157 - inside Chernobyl NPP.JPG
  • 158 - Mount St Helens, USA.JPG
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  • 160 - Vucedol skulls, Croatia.JPG
  • 161 - colourful WW1 shells.JPG
  • 162 - Zeljava airbase in Croatia.JPG
  • 163 - rusting wrecks, Chernobyl.JPG
  • 164 - San Bernadine alle Ossa, Milan, Italy.jpg
  • 165 - USS Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.JPG
  • 166 - Brest Fortress, Belarus.JPG
  • 167 - thousands of bats, Dom Rep.JPG
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  • 169 - Perm-36 gulag site.JPG
  • 170 - Jasenovac, Croatia.JPG
  • 171 - Beelitz Heilstätten.JPG
  • 172 - Kremlin, Moscow.jpg
  • 173 - old arms factory, Dubnica.JPG
  • 174 - Pervomaisc ICBM base, more  missiles, including an SS-18 Satan.jpg
  • 175 - Cellular Jail, Port Blair.jpg
  • 177 - control room, Chernobyl NPP.JPG
  • 178 - Podgorica, Montenegro, small arms and light weapons sculpture.jpg
  • 179 - Vught.jpg
  • 180 - Japanese cave East Timor.jpg
  • 181 - Ani.jpg
  • 182 - Indonesia wildfire.jpg
  • 183 - Chacabuco big sky.jpg
  • 184 - Bunker Valentin, Germany.JPG
  • 185 - Lest we Forget, Ypres.JPG
  • 186 - the logo again.jpg

Caen

  
 3Stars10px  - darkometer rating: 2 -
   
Caen 03   monasteryOne of the largest cities in the Normandy region of France, and one of significant history, not least in WWII. It’s home to one of the largest and most elaborate modern museums about that war, and especially D-Day, as well as the Cold War period that followed. 
    
More background info: Caen is the place most closely associated with William the Conqueror, during whose reign much of the ancient grand buildings and the massive fortress/castle were built. He was also buried in Caen, namely in the massive Abbaye aux Hommes, a former Benedictine monastery.
  
Almost 300 years after his conquest of England, the English in turn occupied and sacked Caen during the Hundred Years War in 1346, but it was recaptured by the French at the end of that war.
   
In the 1940 invasion of France by Nazi Germany during WWII, Caen, like all of Normandy, became occupied too.
   
Much of the city was again destroyed during the Battle of Caen that ensued after the Allied D-Day landings of 6 June 1944 on the beaches to the north and west of the city. The German defence held out until 9 July, when in particular British troops liberated Caen. By then over two thirds of its buildings had been destroyed.
   
The reconstruction of Caen after the war altered the appearance of the city, but it nevertheless retains the biggest and best examples of Romanesque architecture in Normandy.
   
   
What there is to see: For the dark tourist, the main reason to come to this place is the city’s vast war museum, which is hence given its own chapter here. This museum also organizes guided tours of the D-Day beaches, memorials and cemeteries, which are hence also covered in a separate chapter here:
  
  
   
  
Within the city itself, there isn’t so much more of particular dark interest. One exception may be the bullet holes inside the castle left from when members of the French Resistance were shot at that spot during the occupation by Nazi Germany. But I haven’t seen these myself, as I only read about them after I had been to Caen and I haven’t been back since.
   
Possibly also of interest to some is the grave of William the Conqueror inside the grand Abbey of Saint-Étienne, aka “Abbaye aux Hommes”, i.e. ‘men’s abbey’ to the south-west of the castle (it has its informal name in contrast to the “Abbaye aux Dames”, or Holy Trinity Abbey, in a women’s convent to the east of the castle).
   
To the east of the Abbaye aux Hommes stands one of Caen’s few remaining war ruins, namely that of the Église Saint-Étienne-le-Vieux, whose nave was largely destroyed in the Battle of Caen in WWII. It remains unrestored, unused, and off limits.
  
   
Location: in the heart of the Normandy region of France, roughly 125 miles (200 km) west of Paris, and ca. 65 miles (100 km) south-east of Cherbourg. The city itself is ca. 10 miles (15 km) inland from the coast, but connected to it by a canal.
  
Google Maps locators:
   
   
Abbaye aux Hommes: [49.1818, -0.3733]
   
Église Saint-Étienne-le-Vieux: [49.1812, -0.3693]
   
Train station: [49.1765, -0.3477]
   
   
Access and costs: quite easy to get to, not necessarily too expensive.
   
Details: From within France, Caen is most easily reached by train, including from Paris, Rennes and Cherbourg. For those coming by car the city is easily accessible by motorway, but parking in the centre can be problematic. Caen is also served by the ferry port of Ouistreham on the coast to the north of the city, which offers a connection to Portsmouth, Great Britain, on the other side of the English Channel. Caen also has a regional airport, but this will be of only limited use to most visitors.
   
Getting around the inner city is easy enough on foot, but the distance to the Mémorial may be too great for some, so they will have to use public transport at least for that.
  
Accommodation options in Caen are fairly plentiful, including some really good budget ones. No need to break the bank.
  
As for food & drink, the choices are wide here too, including quite a proportion of ethnic restaurants. A dense cluster of eateries is to be found just to the east of the castle’s Saint-Pierre Gate.
   
  
Time required: to see just the dark attractions, two days may be just about enough, but to see more of the city a little more time is needed.
  
   
Combinations with other dark destinations: In addition to the tours offered by the Mémorial de Caen, one could also use the city as a base for independent explorations of the many museums and sights along this coast – see under D-Day museums and Atlantic Wall.
   
And of course see also under France in general.
   
  
Combinations with non-dark destinations: Caen offers some of the most impressive large-scale ancient architecture of the region, going back to the times of William the Conqueror. First and foremost this includes the huge Castle, which is more a fortress really, one of the largest from the Middle Ages – it goes back to the year 1060! Up to WWII it was used as a military barracks. Today, there are several museums located within its walls, including the Fine Arts Museum and the Museum of Normandy.
  
Other grand architectural gems include several churches and monasteries, such as the aforementioned Abbaye aux Hommes and Abbaye aux Dames, both also dating back to Norman times, but also the splendid Gothic Église Saint-Pierre.
  
Examples of the very few old half-timbered houses that survived WWII can be found on Rue Saint Pierre.
  
See also under France in general.
 
 
   
  • Caen 01 - skylineCaen 01 - skyline
  • Caen 02 - grandCaen 02 - grand
  • Caen 03 - monasteryCaen 03 - monastery
  • Caen 04 - interiorCaen 04 - interior
  • Caen 05 - grave of William the ConquerorCaen 05 - grave of William the Conqueror
  • Caen 06 - castleCaen 06 - castle
  • Caen 07 - towerCaen 07 - tower
  • Caen 08 - cathedralCaen 08 - cathedral
  • Caen 09 - squareCaen 09 - square
  • Caen 10 - old houseCaen 10 - old house
  • Caen 11 - very old houseCaen 11 - very old house
  • Caen 12 - abandoned houseCaen 12 - abandoned house
  • Caen 13 - botanical gardenCaen 13 - botanical garden
  • Caen 14 - market and marinaCaen 14 - market and marina
  • Caen 15 - nightlifeCaen 15 - nightlife
 
 
 
 
 
  

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