• 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 - Ani.jpg
  • 018 - Kamikaze.jpg
  • 019 - Arlington.jpg
  • 020 - Karosta prison.jpg
  • 021 - Kazakhstan.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 - Sigoarjo.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 - Vught.jpg
  • 095 - Tital launch control centre.jpg
  • 096 - Dallas Dealy Plaza and Sixth Floor Museum.jpg
  • 097 - Auschwitz I.jpg
  • 098 - Stalin and Lenion, Tirana, Albania.jpg
  • 099 - Podgorica, Montenegro, small arms and light weapons sculpture.jpg
  • 100 - Peenemünde.jpg
  • 101 - Tarrafal.jpg
  • 102 - Kilmainham prison, Dublin.jpg
  • 103 - North Korea.jpg
  • 104 - Mittelbau-Dora.jpg
  • 105 - Chacabuca big sky.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 - Japanese cave East Timor.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 - Indonesia wildfire.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
  • 176 - Bunker Valentin, Germany.JPG
  • 177 - control room, Chernobyl NPP.JPG
  • 178 - Lest we Forget, Ypres.JPG
  • 179 - the logo again.jpg

Romania

   
An Eastern European country which has its place on the dark tourism map for basically much the same reasons as other former Eastern Bloc countries, like e.g. its neighbour Hungary, namely: a) the Holocaust during WWII and b) the communist era and its end. In addition the Dracula myth is mostly associated with Romania too and has generated some specialist dark(-ish) tourism in its own right.
 
Here are the individual places covered on this website:
  
- Bucharest
 
In Romania, the Holocaust mainly took the form of deportations to newly conquered lands in Transnistria. Some 200,000 Jews and Roma were victims of these rather chaotic measures (at least compared to the systematic and well-organized 'extermination' of Europe's Jewry at the hands of the German Nazis esp. in Poland). Most of Romania's surviving Jews left the country after the war, so that its once 800,000 strong Jewish community has now dwindled to just a few thousand. There's a Museum of Jewish History in Bucharest covering this.
 
Romania had initially been an ally of Germany and the Axis powers, but switched sides as the Soviet Red Army advanced (and retook Transnistria), subsequently falling under the Soviet sphere of influence, viz. becoming part of the communist Eastern Bloc and a member of the Warsaw Pact during the Cold War.
  
The first part of the communist era in Romania came with all the brutality of the Stalinist era, with the infamous "Pitesti experiments", a brainwashing and torture programme between 1949 and 1952 (officially a "re-education programme"), its worst excesses. Today only a small memorial pays tribute to the victims at the spot where the prison stood (opposite the military hospital) in the town of Pitesti, 70 miles (114 km) east of Bucharest.
 
Another political prison of a similar nature, namely Sighet Prison, in the far north of Romania, is today a memorial site and museum. More such memorial sites are likely to be set up in the future.
 
Better known to the (Western) world is the second half of the communist era in Romania, the reign of the country's own version of a communist cult-of-personality dictator, namely Nicolae Ceausescu. In tandem with his scarily influential wife Elena he subjected his country to some craziness that exceeds much of what happened in other totalitarian states of this sort. To pay off national debts he sold the country's produce abroad while allowing his own people to starve and spent exorbitant sums of money on megalomaniacal projects such as the Palace of Parliament in Bucharest – entire districts of the city were bulldozed to make space for wide boulevards and housing blocks. (Ceausescu allegedly derived his inspiration for this kind of architecture from a visit to North Korea's capital Pyongyang – and some of the results do in fact look quite similar …).
 
In the West, however, Ceausescu was for a while a kind of a darling in the Eastern Bloc because he refused to stand shoulder to shoulder with the USSR when the Warsaw Pact intervened in the CSSR (ending the Prague Spring), and also deviated from the Soviet line in some other respects. Internally, though, he was much hated, increasingly so during the 1980s when repression (esp. through the dreaded secret police, the Securitate), rationing and those ruthless demolition and rebuilding programmes "estranged" him from his people even more.
 
The end of communism in Romania was in many ways different to communism's demise in the other former Eastern Bloc countries. As these one by one shed their communist regimes more or less peacefully, the so-called Romanian revolution of 1989, in contrast, was a very bloody affair. It's also the only case in the fall of communism which included the execution of the former dictator, after a brief show trial.
 
Today, there are several sites related to the revolution for the dark tourist to visit in Bucharest, including the former Communist Party Central Committee building from where Ceausescu delivered his final speech and from whose rooftop he fled by helicopter. His "pauper's grave" is also on the (very determined) dark tourist's itinerary.
 
Other than Holocaust or communism/revolution-related sites, Romania is of course also home to the Dracula myth – and its tourism industry tries hard to capitalize on this. If your the concept of dark tourism includes Dracula-related sites, then Romania is naturally the place to go, although in this respect it may not be as rewarding as one might think.
 
Bran Castle, about 120 miles (190 km) from Bucharest, is the place most heavily touted as "Dracula's Castle" (though not so much by the castle museum itself). Historically, though, it's a bit dubious. However, the souvenir industry seems convinced enough and visitors apparently are too.
 
Purists prefer another castle as the "real" one (because it has a clearer link with the historic figure of Vlad Tepes) – namely Poienari Citadel in the Arges valley, north-east of Bucharest. But that's little more than some pretty unspectacular ruins (some would say just a bit of rubble) at the top of a strenuous 1480 steps up a mountain to the citadel's cliff-top/crow's nest location.
 
The Dracula myth is capitalized on elsewhere in Romania too, and if you want it to include your food and drink then you have to go to Bucharest's "Count Dracula Club" themed restaurant …
 
  

© dark-tourism.com, Peter Hohenhaus 2010-2019

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