Are you ready to take a walk on the dark side? Dark tourism, also known as grief tourism, is a type of travel that involves visiting sites associated with death, tragedy, or suffering. While it may seem macabre to some, dark tourism is a growing trend among adventurous travelers seeking to get off the beaten path and delve into the world’s darkest corners.
Jill Charpia, founder of Travel Till You Drop, is no stranger to dark tourism. Having visited over 75 countries in her 25 years of traveling, Jill has explored some of the world’s most infamous dark tourism sites. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what dark tourism is, why people are drawn to it, and some of the most popular dark tourism destinations around the world.
What is Dark Tourism?
Dark tourism refers to the practice of visiting places associated with death, tragedy, or suffering. This can include everything from historic sites like concentration camps and battlefields to more recent tragedies like the 9/11 Memorial in New York City. While some may find the idea of visiting these sites distasteful, proponents argue that dark tourism can be a way to learn about history, pay respects to those who have suffered, and gain a deeper understanding of the world around us.
Why Do People Engage in Dark Tourism?
There are many reasons why people engage in dark tourism. For some, it’s a way to learn about history and gain a deeper understanding of the world around them. For others, it’s a way to pay respects to those who have suffered and honor their memory. Some people are drawn to the thrill of visiting these sites and experiencing the emotions that come with them. And for others, it’s simply a way to get off the beaten path and explore the world’s darkest corners.
The World’s Darkest Destinations
From the Killing Fields of Cambodia to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, there are countless dark tourism destinations around the world. Here are just a few of the most popular:
Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp, Poland
One of the most infamous concentration camps of World War II, Auschwitz-Birkenau is now a museum and memorial to the victims of the Holocaust. Visitors can tour the camp, see the gas chambers and crematoria, and learn about the history of the camp and its prisoners.
Ground Zero and the 9/11 Memorial, New York City
The site of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City has become a popular dark tourism destination. Visitors can see the memorials honoring the victims of the attacks, tour the museum, and learn about the history of the events that took place on that fateful day.
Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, Ukraine
After the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986, the area around the power plant was evacuated and has remained uninhabitable ever since. Today, visitors can take tours of the exclusion zone to see the abandoned city of Pripyat and learn about the history of the disaster.
Killing Fields of Cambodia
During the Khmer Rouge regime in the 1970s, over 1.7 million people were killed and buried in mass graves throughout Cambodia. The Killing Fields of Choeung Ek and Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum are now memorials to the victims of the genocide and offer visitors a sobering look at Cambodia’s dark history.
While dark tourism may not be for everyone, it’s clear that it’s a growing trend among adventurous travelers seeking to explore the world’s darkest corners. Whether you’re interested in learning about history, paying respects to those who have suffered, or simply getting off the beaten path, there’s no shortage of dark tourism destinations around the world. So, are you ready to take a walk on the dark side?