Category: communism

Categories

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.

Spaç prison

This is the second blog post derived from my recent week-long trip to Albania (see the previous post about Tirana). During that week I had also booked a day excursion with a driver/guide to the former ruined Spaç prison.

Under the long communist dictatorship of Enver Hoxha, Spaç was one of dozens of political prisons and forced labour camps dotted all over the country. It was set up in such a remote location that the

Tirana in 2022

On Monday I returned from a six-day visit to Albania, my first proper dark-tourism trip this year! I was based in the capital Tirana and did most of my fieldwork there, but also went on a guided day trip to one of the former communist-era prisons/hard labour camps in the mountains in the north of the country … but that will be for another separate Blog Post some time soon. For this post I’m going to concentrate on Tirana only.

It was

Patarei prison

I’ve just finished the last updates on my main website for Tallinn, Estonia. The last significant chapter to go up was this one for Patarei prison, based on my visit to the place at the end of July this year. I already featured a couple of Patarei photos in this general Baltics post on this Blog that I uploaded in August. However, Patarei is such a photogenic place that it really deserves another post of its own. See also 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

4th of July

This is a date mostly associated with Independence Day in the USA. So I decided to dip into my archive and put a cluster of 4 July posts together here, plus some extras. Note, though, that US Independence is not the only historical event marked on this date – there are also other, and darker, incidents that fell on it, such as the one

Tito

On this day, 41 years ago, on 4 May 1980, Josip Broz Tito died. He had been Yugoslavia’s socialist leader since the end of WWII. Tito famously fell out with Stalin and the Soviet Union and paved the way for the Non-Aligned Movement as a third way, taking neither the Eastern Bloc’s side nor the West’s side during the Cold War. Moreover he somehow held together a multi-ethnic Yugoslav federation, and

Dark Tourism & Broken Glass

Our latest theme poll had a clear winner so today I give you the requested one of broken glass (DT & bullet holes came second, and I may field that again in a future theme poll).

The photo above is what I consider one of the most appealing images of broken glass in my archives. It’s a close-up of a large war ruin I discovered in Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina, in 2009. Here’s a

Dark Tourism and Bars

The topic of this blog post was decided by the most recent theme poll, where it sailed to a clear victory over all the other options by a huge margin (as reported in last Sunday’s newsletter). So here we go.

As a couple of commentators noted, the word ‘bars’ is of course lexically ambiguous, and exploiting that double meaning had been my intention all along. So let’s begin with the darker side of bars – those you sit behind in prisons and similar institutions.

The first

Dark Tourism & Stars and Stripes

This theme was not decided on by a poll, but just by myself, and the link to today’s significant date should be obvious.

But let’s start at the beginning. So, what kind of stars feature in dark tourism? For one thing there’s the old communist or Soviet five-pointed red star, like these:

Dark Tourism & Cars

As decided in the latest poll, the theme of this post is ‘dark tourism and cars’. It won by two votes ahead of ‘dark tourism and clothes’, so that will be entered again in the next poll. And since several people said that their second choice (and close contender) was ‘dark tourism and spheres’ I’ll give that another chance next time too. NPPs will have to wait a little longer, but as that is one of my personal favourites it is bound to pop up at some point as well (whether in another poll or independently I can’t say yet).

But now to cars. Searching through my archives I found

"17. Juni", Ulrich Hohenhaus

17 June

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