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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The Nuclear Landscapes of the Polygon, Kazakhstan

A few years ago I had an extended exchange with a guy in Canada who did an intriguing project about the Polygon/Semipalatinsk Test Site (STS) in Kazakhstan, the place where the Soviet Union carried out the majority of its nuclear tests. The project was part of a master’s thesis in Landscape Architecture, at the University of Toronto, and proposed a number of structural “interventions” at the site, so a kind of commodification for visitors. It was envisioned that

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Scaled-down D-Day Commemoration Ceremonies This Year

On this Day, 76 years ago, on 6 June 1944, the biggest ever amphibious landing operations, popularly known as D-Day, took place in Normandy, France, and gave the Western Allies the foothold they needed to begin the fight against Nazi Germany on the Western Front in WWII. The whole plan was code-named ‘Operation Overlord’.

Beginning here, the Western Allies slowly pushed back the Nazi occupiers out of France and eventually

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Dunkirk 1940

On this day, 80 years ago, on 4 June 1940, the last of the Allied evacuations from Dunkirk took place, and the next day Nazi Germany declared victory in the Battle of Dunkirk.

It was the first major confrontation on the ground between British and German troops in WWII within France. The British Expeditionary Force (BEF) had been deployed to France after Germany invaded Poland and Britain and France declared war on Germany. When the

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Operation Blue Star

36 years ago, in early June 1984, the Indian military launched an attack on the Golden Temple (aka Harmandir Sahib), the holy of holies of the Sikhs, in order to “flush out” the extremist religious leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and his followers who, on invitation by a Sikh political party leader, had taken refuge in the temple complex and fortified it. The group had been critical of the dominant social and economic conditions at the time and felt Sikhs were being discriminated against. This had already

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A surprise reappearance

Not long ago I found that an article that was published in March, based on a telephone interview I had done with the author in January, featured the above photo of me. This is indeed one of the VERY few selfies I’ve ever taken, at a time when that word ‘selfie’ didn’t even yet exist, or at least wasn’t so widespread yet, namely in November 2010, at Darvaza, Turkmenistan.

And, it is the photo that I had used as my profile picture for my

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Illuks, Sri Lanka – a remote, leech-infested mountain retreat

This was the last photo I was still able to put on DT’s Facebook page before it/I was purged. I’m reusing it here (see original post text below), however, for a different reason, namely because I’ve been thinking about Sri Lanka a lot more recently. And the reason for that is this: last week I “attended” (at home) an online ‘Zoom’ meeting that was organized by the travel company ETG (whom I’ve used several times for my travels in Asia, including Sri Lanka). This featured a presentation by travel author John Gimlette, who wrote

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