Dark Tourism BLOG
This page is intended to provide a more flexible and also more interactive element to dark-tourism.com, which is otherwise more static (more like an encyclopedia). The idea came about after the DT page I used to curate on Facebook was suddenly shut down by the company (full story here). So I’m continuing here – with regular blog posts, either featuring particular dark-tourism destinations or marking specific days in dark history and sometimes reacting to current affairs that are in some way relevant to this site’s topic.
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On this day, thirty years ago, on 3 October 1990, Germany was officially reunified and the GDR (the old communist East German state) ceased to exist, just eleven months after the so-called Fall of the Berlin Wall (or, more precisely, the opening of the border crossing points, which is generally seen as the beginning of the end for the GDR). The physical Wall too was soon after mostly demolished. So it has now actually been gone longer than it had been in existence! How time flies.
30 years is of course a big anniversary and the German media are predictably full of
There has been extremely worrying news the last few days from a little-visited region in the Caucasus that was included in my trip there ten years ago – Nagorno-Karabakh. Apparently the ‘frozen conflict’ over this contested region has flared up again and escalated into military confrontation and fighting, with already over a hundred dead, so it’s worse than the last time around in 2016. Moreover, now Azerbaijan is receiving open backing by Turkey, while Armenia is banking on support from Russia. So this has the potential to spiral into a full-on proxy war (as nearly happened in Syria a few years ago).
A little bit of background: Nagorno-Karabakh was a
Flaktürme, or ‘flak towers’, in Vienna’s Augarten park. In case you don’t know, “Flak” is short for “Flugabwehrkanone”, or ‘anti-aircraft gun’, and these towers were constructed to house batteries of big guns of that type during WWII. They were each complemented by another tower for radar/aiming technology. Hence the main towers were called “Gefechstturm” (‘combat tower’), while the smaller secondary tower was called “Leitturm” (‘directing tower’ or ‘lead tower’). Thus these installations always came in pairs. On the lower floors they additionally provided much needed air-raid-shelter space for civilians. But in their main military purpose,
The idiomatic phrase ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ is probably being used a lot in these weird times– as something that is hoped for, the end of a crisis. Alas, with regard to the current pandemic, that light remains very faint at best, if it’s discernible at all. There’s still no cure, no vaccine, no clear outlook of what’s yet to come.
These thoughts inspired me to look through my photo archives searching for images of tunnels with lights at their ends, and indeed there have been some on my extensive travels. Here we go, the first one is
This post’s theme was not decided by a poll this time but just by myself. For one thing it allowed me to reconnect to the first of my little trips I made this summer, namely to Brno, Czech Republic. The photo above was taken in one of the prime dark sites in that intriguing city and shows some of the fabled mummies to be seen in Brno’s Capuchin Crypt. They’re only semi-mummified (naturally, through the crypt’s micro-climate, it is said); you also see some bare bone. I found the hooded mummy in the centre one of the scariest-looking specimens here.
I was a little surprised to witness
On this Day it’s the 19th anniversary of 9/11 – i.e. the terrorist attacks in the USA by means of hijacked planes, two hitting the Twin Towers of the WTC in New York, one the Pentagon near Washington D.C. …
The photo above was taken at the former “Tribute WTC” visitor centre in New York (now relocated, reworked and renamed “9/11Tribute Center”) and shows a projection in the exhibition part of the old centre, involving iconic images of those spiky steel facade elements that remained upright after the collapse of the towers.
This date was also always