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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In the northern hemisphere we’re at the height of the summer right now, and many of us have to deal with hot temperatures and sometimes humid conditions. So I decided to provide some respite by directing today’s “virtual travel” exercise, which I think these blog posts can be seen as, far north, beyond the Arctic Circle: to Svalbard. So you can cool off a bit, in travel dreams …
I’ve only ever been north of the Arctic Circle once, namely on my summer 2012 trip to Norway, including a few days on Spitsbergen, and Murmansk in the northwesternmost part of Russia.
The Svalbard archipelago, with the main island Spitsbergen, is
Yesterday’s post mentioned the fabled underground airbase of Željava, located now on the border between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. I said it would be worth a post of its own. So here we go. Why delay it.
It’s a very cool site, especially in terms of ‘urbexing’ and it’s visually extremely appealing, provided you like it dark, dank and even a bit scary 😉
As it happened, though, a different
On this day, 29 years ago, on 25 June 1991, both Slovenia and Croatia declared themselves independent, marking the first proper secessions from the Yugoslav Federal state. This happened amidst rising tensions between different ethnicities and especially between Serbs and Croats, which eventually developed into war.
Slovenia got off comparatively lightly, with a military intervention by the Yugoslav army that lasted only 10 days and cost “only” 65 or so lives, before the country was reluctantly but effectively released into independence. The above photo shows a relic from that short war, namely a piece of wreckage of a Yugoslav helicopter that is on display in the generally excellent modern history museum in Slovenia’s capital Ljubljana.
In Croatia, on the other hand,
Today is the 19th of June, celebrated as “Juneteenth” in the USA. Narrowly defined it commemorates a declaration of emancipation/freeing of slaves in Texas in 1865 on that date, but is now more generally celebrated to mark African Americans’ civil rights and freedom. Amidst the current Black Lives Matter protests, this date has been given an extra boost.
Regarding the subject of slavery, this also features in dark tourism. Sites related to the
This date has historical significance for various reasons. E.g. it was the day when the last public execution by guillotine took place in France, as late as in 1939. The following year the three Baltic states fell under Soviet rule; while in 1967 China detonated its first thermonuclear test device on this date. But in Germany, the date is primarily remembered for the 1953 Uprising in the GDR, especially in East Berlin, which was brutally crushed by the Soviet military, even involving tanks, and was followed by mass arrests and dozens of executions.
In East Berlin, one of the main demonstrations took place outside
On this Day: 38 years ago, on 14/15 June (read on!) in 1982, the Falklands War ended with the surrender of Argentina.
The photo above shows an abandoned Argentine position near Wireless Ridge, north-east of Mt Longdon, not far from the islands’ capital Stanley. This position is comparatively well preserved. My guide even pulled out some hidden personal items left behind by the soldiers.
After showing me this