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Dark Tourism: On the Path of Tragedy (Adventure Travel)

Most people have a vacation in order to forget about everyday problems. However, there are those who love adventure travel and are looking for the “heavy stuff”. Have you heard of dark tourism? There are places that were centers of tragic events in the past. Whether natural or man-made, those tragedies are usually immortalized through monuments, museums, and even guided tours. A “dark tourist” is a person who visits the places hit by a disaster of some kind wanting to honor the victims. Here are a few places for which are trademark destinations for “dark tourism”:

Gallipoli, Turkey amazing adventure travel

The Battle of Gallipoli which happened during the First World War (between 1915 and 1916) was immortalized through monuments around Anzac lagoon. French and British forces wanted to free passage to Russia with the occupation of Istanbul (then Constantinople), the capital of the Ottoman Empire.

01-Gallipoli_Turkey  via Flickr, by iris, license CC BY-ND 2.0

9/11 Memorial, New York

One of the greatest tragedies of modern times is most certainly the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers in New York on September 11th in 2001. Four years after the event, there was nothing else but debris and dust on the location, but a wonderful Memorial Center was opened on the tenth anniversary of the attack.

02-9_11_Memorial  via Flickr, by InSapphoWeTrust, license CC BY-SA 2.0

Vimy Ridge, France adventure travel vacations

Northern France is still scarred by the events of the First World War, and testimonies of the “first modern war” can still be seen all around.  Vimy, near Arras, is home to the Canadian Memorial Center, which is a popular destination for tourists from England.

The Killing Fields, Cambodia adventure travel vacations

Throughout Cambodia there are several sites of mass murders during the Khmer Rouge regime (1975-79). Conducting an analysis of about 20.000 mass graves, the researchers estimated that these fields were the burial grounds of at least 1.380.000 victims, and it is believed that the total number of victims of the Khmer regime (from execution, disease, torture, and starvation) is between 1.7 and 2.5 million people. The Memorial Choeung Ek Center was built in their honor, and is located at 15 kilometers from Phnom Penh.

03-The_killing_fields  via Flickr, by gewitterhexer, license CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Nazi concentration camps, Germany and Poland

We are all aware of what happened in the concentration camps in Germany and Poland during the World War II. However, when you happen to visit some of them, the impressions can be far more distressing. The most famous of all – Auschwitz – Birkenau in Poland was turned into a memorial center and a museum.

Memorial Park and Peace Museum in Hiroshima, Japan

Hiroshima was the target of the first nuclear attack in the history of warfare, when the US army dropped the atomic bomb on August 6 in 1945. The city was completely destroyed, and around 150.000 people died from the effects of the bomb.

04-Memorial_Park_Peace_Museum_Hiroshima  via Flickr, by justina kochansky, license CC BY-NC 2.0

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