Dark tourism spots around the world

Instead of traditional tourist attractions travelers are choosing to visit more macabre destinations and dark tourism sites.  Dark tourism has been defined as tourism involving travel to sites historically associated with death and tragedy. From haunted Chilean cemeteries to creepy abandoned theme parks in South Korea, take a look at 5 dark tourism spots from around the world…

1. 9/11 memorial, New York

World Trade Centre Memorial resized

The World Trade Centre site has attracted many visitors since the 9/11 attacks in 2001. Ten years after the attack the construction of the memorial was completed. Visitors can walk around the memorial and gaze into the twin reflecting pools. The pools have the biggest manmade waterfalls in North America and are nearly an acre in size. The pools sit within the footprints of where the towers once stood and are surrounded by the names of victim’s who lost their lives in the attack. As well as a memorial a museum was also created telling the story of 9/11 through multimedia displays, archives, narratives and a collection of monumental and authentic artifacts.

2. Prypiat,Ukraine

Chernobyl Hospital Resized

Located in northern Ukraine near the border with Belarus. Prypiat was where the Chernobyl disaster happened in April 1986. It was the worst nuclear power plant incident in human history, during the incident 31 people died but long term effects of the disaster such as cancer and deformities affected millions. After the disaster no one could imagine that it would become an exciting new tourist attraction. Tourists are allowed to pay short and highly regulated visits to the 30 mile exclusion zone around the reactor. Visitors can wander through the empty streets and buildings, discarded gas masks can be found on floors of houses and soviet propaganda can be found hanging on the walls.

3. La Noria Cemetery, Chile

La Noria Cemetery Chile

In the Northern hills of Chile La Noria used to be a flourishing and busy mining town but after a number of economic hits the mines were closed and the town was deserted. Local legend has it that the workers of the mines were badly mistreated. With La Noria being a fair distance from the next town the management could mistreat the workers without any interference. Once the mines closed, those workers that the management thought would not keep silent about the mistreatment were killed and buried in the makeshift cemetery next to the town along with the numerous victims of accidents in the mines. Travellers can make their way to La Noria from the town of Iquique, most locals refuse to enter La Noria and the surrounding areas. Visitors can explore the houses, some filled with photographs and sentimental possessions. The cemetery has open graves where bodies are fully exposed. No one knows the reason for this, it is rumoured that the dead of the La Noria cemetery rise at night and walk around the town, and ghostly images frequently show up in visitors´ photographs.

4. Okpo Land, South Korea

Okpo Theme Park

Okpo Land was an amusement park on the outskirts of Okpo-dong. The amusement park was popular and profitable in the beginning but started to see a decline after a tragedy occurred. In the early 1990’s a girl was killed on the popular duck ride, the owner of the amusement park offered no explanation, no compensation to the family and no apology. The park continued to stay open until 1999 when one of the duck carts derailed causing the death of another girl. Following the accident the park owner vanished and the park remained abandoned. Visitors were able to explore the ruins and even see the duck carriage hanging over the edge of the track as it was that tragic day. The park has since been demolished in 2011, the land the park once stood on is still up for sale with no bidders. Locals say that the two girls still roam the site where the amusement park once stood.

5. Pompeii, Italy

Pompeii Resized

Pompeii was an ancient Roman town near modern day Naples. Founded in the 6th or 7th century the town was destroyed and buried under 20 feet of ash and rubble. At the time of the town’s destruction Pompeii was a highly developed town with complex water systems, bath houses, restaurants and taverns as well as other amenities that would be associated with modern towns. The eruption killed most of the towns 11,000 population, during the excavation of the site plaster was poured between the ash layers that once held human bodies to allow us to see the exact position the person was in when he/she died.  Pompeii has now been named an UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most popular tourist attractions in Italy.

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