Category: Chernobyl

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Islands of Dark Tourism

In this post I want to take you off the beaten track and to some less well explored, more exotic, remote locations. The eight selected places have only one thing in common: they are all islands. Other than that they are very different from each other and represent a range of distinct categories of dark tourism that dark globe trotters visit for very different reasons.

Of course there are well-known dark islands, too, such as Alcatraz or Robben Island, both former prison islands turned memorials, which today attract large numbers of visitors and hence overlap with mainstream tourism; but here we are going to get further away from that.

Dark travel videos and a surprise change in Turkmenistan

Last week I was contacted by someone in the English department of the Franco-German co-operation TV channel ARTE. I was alerted to two series of short video productions (with episodes of between 5 to 8 minutes in length) on topics that include, or at least overlap with, dark tourism themes. (Find the links to the programmes below!)

  

The first one is called “Toxic Tour” and has six episodes, each about

Fear-mongering vs a feel-good discovery

on the news yesterday were reports about a sensational discovery in the Antarctic waters. An expedition managed to track down and photograph the wreck of the Endurance, the ship of the Sir Ernest Shackleton’s 1914-16 Antarctica expedition, also called “Endurance”. The ship hit pack ice early on, got stuck in it and was thus immobilized. As the ice increasingly crushed the vessel, it had to be abandoned by the crew who camped off-board on the ice. The ship eventually sank on 21 November 1915.

After that,

Very Dark Times for Ukraine

I’ve been struggling for words over these past three days. But slowly they are coming back.

And I thought I just have to speak out in some way rather than just staying silent. So I decided to throw my otherwise self-prescribed political neutrality on this blog overboard and make a statement.

In a way that’s partly because now it’s personal. Putin’s

Post from Moscow!

I don’t mean that I’m in Moscow and posting this on my Blog from there. No, I’m still in Vienna, Austria, but I had a parcel from Moscow delivered to my door by the Austrian postal service this morning. I had to pay a delivery fee of 6 EUR – so I was tempted to entitle this post “From Russia – not with love but a fee” …

Here’s a photo of the

Dark Tourism & Mining

This is another theme post, and again not the result of a poll but half promised in the previous blog post and then requested in a comment in response to that post. So here we go.

In terms of dark tourism, one of the prime places associated with mining has to be Butte in the Rocky Mountains of Montana, USA. It became a boom town in the 18th and 19th century thanks to its rich deposits of

Atlas of Dark Destinations promo

It’s now nearly a month since my book came out internationally. So here’s an update and some promo material I received from the publishers. I would also like to urge you, my readers, to help spread the word. In doing so you’d help to support the upkeep of this blog and my main website. On the latter I’ve also expanded the book entry. For that I used the publishers’ promo images.

They had some beautiful taster photos taken specifically for

Dark Tourism & Nuclear Power Plants

And here comes the fourth and final theme from our most recent poll. In my archives I don’t actually have photos of that many nuclear power plants (NPPs), but included are some of the historically most significant ones – and the darkest! Because of the security issues revolving around the nuclear industry, often photos are only possible from a distance, more or less zoomed in, but I also have some closer up and even a couple of interior

Dark Tourism & Reflections

And here comes the third of the four themes of our most recent poll (which didn’t have a winner, hence all four are fielded). So now for reflections – and I mean that literally, mostly, though a little bit of reflecting in the figurative sense will also feature. But this is primarily a visual blog post.

I like photographing reflections! I’m always on the lookout for reflections wherever I travel. Hence I have loads of such photos that accumulated over the years. So the

Dark Tourism & Furniture

And here comes the second of the themed posts (after last week’s “DT & hands”) that featured in our most recent poll, which didn’t have a clear result. So for this time I’ve picked furniture.

The photo below was taken at the DDR-Museum (‘GDR museum’) in Berlin and shows a reconstruction of the furnishings of a typical East German 1970s/early 80s living room – note in particular the

Dark Tourism & Hands

The most recent theme poll didn’t have any winner by last Sunday, but one vote came in late and nudged ‘Hands’ ahead of the other three. So I’ll feature this theme first, but the others will come up here at some later stage as well.

The first photo – featured above – was taken at Recoleta cemetery in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which features plenty of beautiful Gothic elements, but this pretty hand with cobwebs, a detail of a full-body statue, is one of my favourite hand photos of them all! Beautiful and a bit spooky at the same time.

Another favourite is this next one, taken at the fabulous

A medical theme

To make up for last week’s absence of a new blog post (and the likelihood of there not being one next week), I give you an extra-elaborate one today – on a medical theme, not decided on by a readers’ poll, but just by myself. The reason being that early tomorrow morning I’ll have my left hand operated on. Hence I picked the above photo as the lead image.

I took that in

1st Anniversary, best of

It was exactly on this day, precisely one year ago, on 28 May 2020, that this blog went live and the first post went up. To mark this first anniversary, I went through the entire blog and picked twelve of my favourite photos used on the blog so far, one for each of the twelve months I’ve been here, as it were.
Here are my 12 choices … in no particular order:

Duga

As promised in the previous blog post about Chernobyl in general, I now give you a separate post with another photo essay from the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, but this time concentrating on a single location within it: the fabled Duga over-the-horizon radar array.

It was part of the Soviet Union’s Cold-War-era early-warning systems supposed to detect the launching of missiles aimed at the USSR. Its location close to the Chernobyl NPP is apparently

35 Years since Chernobyl

On this day, 35 years ago, in the early hours of 26 April 1986, the Chernobyl disaster began. The story of that disaster, the technical details and the people involved, all that has been recounted numerous times in various places, including on my website (see Chernobyl, and ChNPP), and more recently this book (my review). For this post I decided to instead give you a photo essay and tell my personal story in relation to Chernobyl, gathered over the three tours to the Zone that

Dark Tourism & Toys

As decided in our most recent theme poll, I now bring you the winner, DT & toys. It was probably the oddest of the choices, the biggest juxtaposition, and hence the most intriguing. In any case it was a very clear win far ahead of all the other choices.

So what kind of dark do we get with toys. Well, for starters there are war toys, like model planes, tanks, toy guns and whatnot. In fact, one of the

Dark Tourism & Corona

About a year ago we went into the first lockdown here in Austria. Corona was still very new, and back then we had no way of knowing that it would continue to have such a grip on the whole world for so long.
Anyway, I thought this was a good point to look back and go on a little time-travel excursion here. So I’ve lifted the series of Corona-related posts I had on my DT page on FB at the time of the first lockdown from the Facebook-posts archive that I

Ten Years 3/11 & Fukushima

On this day, ten years ago (how can it already be that long ago?!?), on 11 March 2011 (“3/11” in American date writing convention) northern Japan was hit by a triple disaster of an unprecedented scale.

First, one of the most powerful earthquakes ever measured, with its epicentre off the Tōhoku coast, shook the main island of Honshu and caused some destruction. This photo taken near Namie shows a

Sisian – and a new poll

After the previous, rather text-heavy post, this time I picked something more visual, and while the previous post was newly-created original material, this time it is again something from the archives. Just over a year ago I posted a series of photos on my now purged Facebook page that were taken in the little town of Sisian in south-eastern Armenia. This followed one of the quiz questions I used to put up there regularly on Fridays. The photo above came with the question “a fun-less funfair, abandoned, overgrown and slowly rusting away … Where is this?”. I had half expected that

Dark Tourism and Electricity!

I finished the reconstruction of the posts on my purged Facebook page for the year 2017. And noticed that it had been a good year, especially for themed weeks of successive posts with a common topic or keyword.

Some of those were rather unusual and probably unexpected for most readers, such as ‘dark tourism and animals’, ‘dark tourism and ash’, ‘dark tourism and bridges’, etc. – and perhaps the most exotic one was ‘dark tourism and electricity’. I reproduce it here (with some adaptations):