• 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
  • 084 - Kozloduy.jpg
  • 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
  • 141 - KGB gear.JPG
  • 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
  • 151 - the original tomb of Napoleon, St Helena.JPG
  • 152 - Buchenwald, Germany.JPG
  • 153 - Bhopal.JPG
  • 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
  • 159 - Maly Trostenec, Minsk, Belarus.jpg
  • 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
  • 168 - Hohenschönhausen, Berlin.JPG
  • 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

Top 10 countries

most rewarding for the dark tourist overall

    

1. Germany [It had to be – I'm not being masochistic about my original home country – but not only was it the place where the worst atrocity in human history originated (the Nazis' Holocaust) but it was also the pivotal focal point during the Cold War, when the country doubled up, literally, as two states belonging to opposing systems, one a US NATO ally, the other a communist Warsaw Pact member with the most over-efficient internal spy network ever. All this left dark sites for tourists to visit in a range and in numbers that is just impossible to beat. Basically it's No.1 for the same reasons that its capital Berlin is also the capital city of dark tourism.]
  
2. Poland [Without Germany's reign of terror during WWII in its neighbour Poland, the Latter probably wouldn't even feature in this list. But the Nazis perpetrated their very worst crimes chiefly in occupied Poland, esp. in the form of the Holocaust. And it is in this context that it features the No.1 single dark destination in the world: Auschwitz. Poland's struggle in overcoming communism also added to its dark portfolio. And its general touristic infrastructure has been improving dramatically over the years.]
  
3. the USA [The Big Country which offers not only quirkiness en masse, but also a massive share of dark destinations of a very wide range, many WWII or Cold War related, but also some more exotic categories – oh, and of course the world's No. 1 terrorist atrocity memorial site at Ground Zero. And in terms of tourist infrastructure, including the dark, much of the country is in the top league too.]
 
4. Japan [Not as wide a range of dark sites as Nos. 1-3, but still pretty varied, from dangerous volcanoes to icky medical exhibitions, although its principal reason for getting into the Top 10 is of course the fact that it is home to two of the historically darkest places ever: Hiroshima and Nagasaki.]
  
5. Rwanda [For the sheer shocking darkness of some of the dark sites in Rwanda, the country should be at No.1, really. However, almost all of them pertain to the same pitch-black dark chapter in history: the Rwandan genocide. So what Rwanda offers in degree of darkness it somewhat lacks in range. Still, going to see all those genocide memorials in Rwanda is hard-core dark tourism of the highest order and therefore the country must feature in this list, no doubt about it …]
  
6. Cambodia [Bordering Vietnam, and dragged into the Vietnam War, despite its official neutrality, it subsequently became the home of one of humankind's most unimaginably horrifying genocides, an auto-genocide in fact, at the hands of the brutal Khmer Rouge regime under Pol Pot. This left some dark sites on the dark tourism map that may not be many in number, but rank amongst the toughest in the world to visit.]
  
7. Ukraine [Few dark sites to visit, but with the No.2 of the darkest sites in the world (and my personal Number One!), namely Chernobyl, it just had to feature here too. Its other dark sites also add to its range, though in terms of tourist infrastructure it's a little trickier than countries Nos. 1-6 to get around in.]
 
8. Austria [Cute little Austria in the Top 10 dark countries? Oh yes. It's not all just skiing and lederhosen. For starters, Hitler was not only originally from Austria (not Germany!), he also returned to it (well, annexed it to the German Third Reich) bringing all the legacy of Nazism. Thus some of the most evil places of this period, from euthanasia centres to one of the most notorious concentration camps (Mauthausen) are to be found on Austrian soil. In addition, the country's capital Vienna rightly has a reputation for being a city obsessed with death – an undertaker's museum, one of the world's largest and most impressive cemeteries, catacombs full of skulls and bones (and even mummified bodies) shown off with glee by tourist guides, all bear witness to this.]
  
9. Kazakhstan [Also the ninth biggest country in the world, and with a dark history to match. Although that's mostly the legacy of the Soviet Union and would just as well apply to today's Russia. Kazakhstan, however, had to bear the brunt of the dark elements of the Soviet days. It was the prime place for exiles and gulags (just as much as Siberia) during the Stalin era and beyond. In addition it was abused as the "rubbish bin" of the Soviet Union, as it were, as far as environmental crimes are concerned: it was here that the main nuclear testing ground was located, the "Polygon", near the formerly "closed city" of Kurchatov, and the city of Semey/Semipalatinsk, whose anatomical museum bears witness to the gruesome medical effects of radiation. Similarly, the USSR's central rocket launching/testing facilities (for both military ICBMs and the "civilian" space programme) was set up in Kazakhstan too, namely at Baikonur (still in use – and still causing environmental concerns). Moreover, megalomaniacal irrigation programmes, both in Kazakhstan and in neighbouring Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, led to the drying up of the Aral Sea, once the largest lake of the country, now in large parts a polluted desert, which stands as one of the worst man-made environmental disasters in history and also devastated the Kazakh ex-harbour town of Aralsk. Furthermore there's generally a plethora of industrial wastelands, relics of the Soviet era of communism, and plenty of evidence of a new cult of personality revolving around the "first" (and only) president Nazarbayev, especially in Kazakhstan's OTT new capital of Astana.]  
  
10. North Korea [OK, admittedly it's not so much the number and quality of the country's dark sites as such that make it appear in this list, it's more the fact that the country itself has such a dark reputation, also that it is so extremely exotic a tourist destination, and that it's just so plain weird and surreal that it had to be slotted in at No.10 here. No independent travelling is possible in North Korea (and you won't see the current really dark places that the country reputedly has plenty of), but the style of OTT propaganda-driven guided tour travelling in the DPRK is absolutely unique in the world. And: when it comes to cults of personality, no one can get even close to beating the North Koreans. Of the Big 4 communist leaders' mausoleums in the world, that of the Kims is the No.1 by miles, even though it is normally the least accessible.]
 
 
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
--- Outtakes/extended, top 20 list candidates:
 
11. Russia [The largest country in the world – and with a dark history to match, full of grim chapters of similarly gigantic proportions. Only, Russia isn't exactly a champion when it comes to dealing with the dark chapters of its past, and thus there are far fewer sites pertaining to this past that the dark tourist can visit than could be the case if the attitudes in Russia were different. Moreover, the places developed for dark tourism that do exist are often found in far away locations that are very difficult or impossible to get to – such as former gulag sites. Places connected with the USSR's/Russia's nuclear legacy (including some of the worst ever nuclear disasters such as at Mayak) tend to be "forbidden zones" to this day. The two biggest cities, St Petersburg and Moscow, however, offer a bit more – and the latter includes the original of all the Big 4 communist leader mausoleums: the Lenin mausoleum on Red Square.]
 
12. Vietnam [Of course, it's first and foremost the legacy of the Vietnam War that grants this country a place in the Top 20 – and the range of war-related sites is pretty wide too, including one of the most hard-core war crimes exhibitions in the world. But there's also a long-standing communist cult of personality that adds to the attraction for the dark tourist, and neither Ho Chi Minh's mausoleum (one of the Big 4 in the world) nor the Ho Chi Minh museum in Hanoi should be missed by anyone interested in these things.]
 
 
14. Chile
 
 
 
 
18. France (for its splendid WWII-related sites alone)
 
 
 
  

   --- back to lists ---

 

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