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Atlas of Dark Destinations maps out over 300 of the world’s ‘dark tourism’ sites

If you need your subsequent break to be one thing extra significant than merely getting away from all of it, new guide Atlas of Dark Destinations is an efficient method of mapping out an itinerary. Author Dr Peter Hohenhaus explains in the introduction that ‘darkish tourism’ is a method of participating mindfully with the actual world when travelling.

‘Not all travellers merely need escapism,’ writes Hohenhaus, who factors out that darkish tourism is a method of studying about historical past and broadening horizons – ‘and for the most half is completely reliable’. The creator, who has been learning darkish tourism since 2007 and has been to some 900 darkish locations round the world, explains: ‘Just give it some thought: in case you’ve ever visited a memorial museum or stood by the grave of a well-known individual then you definately, too, have engaged in darkish tourism. It is likely to be stated that just about everyone is a darkish vacationer to a point, not less than often.’

Over 300 locations function in the tome, positioned in 90 completely different international locations, together with prisons, focus camps, nuclear take a look at sites, volcanoes, and ghost cities. ‘Visitor conduct is one thing that it’s essential to fastidiously think about when going to some of these locations,’ Hohenhaus warns. ‘Visiting sites of tragedy requires respectful behaviour. For occasion, darkish tourism doesn’t go nicely with taking smiley selfies.’ Hohenhaus provides: ‘It is my goal that this guide can function inspiration on your personal adventures in addition to an eye-opening atlas of discovery.’ Scroll down for extra on some of the fascinating, transferring and sometimes chilling sites revealed in the guide, full with ‘darkish rankings’ by the creator… 

Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum, Ford Island, Hawaii. Dark ranking – 4/10


Pictured is the wreck of the B-17E bomber Swamp Ghost on show at the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum

‘The US navy base at Pearl Harbor on Hawaii was the goal of a shock assault by Imperial Japan on December 7, 1941,’ writes Hohenhaus. According to the creator, the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum options authentic buildings in which you’ll be able to nonetheless see bullet holes from the 1941 assaults.

He says: ‘Inside the hangars, in addition to on open-air show, are a big quantity of plane, not solely from World War Two but additionally many extra trendy varieties used, for instance, in the Korean and Vietnam wars.’


The creator provides that maybe the ‘most exceptional exhibit’ on show is the Swamp Ghost – ‘a B-17E bomber that in 1942 crash-landed in a swamp in Papua New Guinea’. The ‘semi-submerged however comparatively intact’ aircraft lay in the swamp for greater than half a century earlier than it was salvaged and delivered to the museum, Hohenhaus reveals.

Museum of Nuclear Science & History, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Dark ranking – 7/10

A Titan II ICBM missile on show at the Museum of Nuclear Science & History in New Mexico


According to the guide, the museum has an open-air part (pictured) the place varied plane are on show, in addition to nuclear (mock-up) bombs and missiles of all sizes 

According to Hohenhaus, this ‘is the principal museum of all things nuclear in the USA’. The museum covers the historical past of the improvement of the nuclear bomb, the use of this ‘new weapon of mass destruction on Hiroshima and Nagasaki’, and the ‘moral dilemmas concerned’ in the bombings.  

The largest half of the museum is dedicated to the Cold War period and its nuclear weaponry, Hohenhaus reveals. He says: ‘Artefacts on display include the smallest atomic weapons ever deployed as well as whole thermonuclear warheads (not real armed ones, of course). Perhaps most interesting is the section on so-called Broken Arrows; that is, accidents involving nuclear weapons.’

The book notes: ‘The end of the Cold War is celebrated, as is the civilian use of nuclear power, not only in the form of electric power generation, but also in medicine, and in the early naive days of the Atomic Age even in colouring crockery green or red by means of uranium.’ 

The museum has an open-air section where various aircraft are on display, as well as nuclear (mock-up) bombs and missiles of all sizes, including a Titan ICBM, according to the book.

Le Redoutable, Cherbourg, Normandy, France. Dark rating – 7/10

Pictured is the bridge, or command centre, on Le Redoutable – ‘the largest and only (ex-) nuclear submarine open to the public in the world’

Le Redoutable, a ‘nuclear-powered submarine carrying nuclear-warhead ballistic missiles’, was ‘laid down in 1964 and entered service in 1971, carrying 16 missiles’, Hohenhaus reveals. ‘The newest missiles every had a one-megaton warhead – a mighty weapons system,’ he notes.  

The creator says: ‘This sub was decommissioned in the early 1990s and later converted into a museum ship placed in a purpose-built dry dock. The section with the nuclear reactor was cut out. Needless to say, the nuclear-armed missiles were removed too, so there is no risk of radiation to today’s guests.’

Hohenhaus describes the French submarine as a ‘unique visitor attraction: the largest and only (ex-) nuclear submarine open to the public in the world’.

The guide continues: ’Even from the exterior, the 128m-long (420ft) submarine is one thing to behold, however the actual deal with is that you would be able to discover the inside too, together with the bridge/command publish and the part with the SLBM silo tubes, in addition to the officers’ mess, the galley and ultimately the torpedo compartment inside the bow.’

Mimoyecques, Landrethun-le-Nord, Pas-de-Calais, France. Dark ranking – 7/10

The tunnel system at the underground base for the V3 – ‘a multiple-charged “super-gun” with barrels over 100m (350ft) lengthy’

Hohenhaus describes the navy complicated of Mimoyecques, constructed by Nazi Germany, as an ‘absolutely unique site’. 

He says: ‘At this underground site, a new type of “wonder weapon” was to be installed: the V3, a multiple-charged “super-gun” with barrels over 100m (350ft) long and capable of accelerating a projectile to such a muzzle velocity that it could travel more than 160km (100 miles), bringing London within range of this site.’

According to the creator, ‘5 clusters of 5 such super-guns had been deliberate, in a position to fireplace ten pictures a minute, making it a complete of 600 rounds each hour, that means that these V3s would have been showering London with shells constantly’. 

However, the design was ‘fraught with technical problems’. The web site ‘had already been targeted by the Allies’ and have become ’severely broken by deep-penetration “tallboy” bombs’. It was seized by Allied troops in September 1944 and additional demolished, says the creator.

According to the guide, in the years since the conflict, elements of the tunnels in the underground system have been opened as a memorial. There is a reproduction of a bit of a V3 in place at the finish of one tunnel.

In Flanders Fields Museum, Ypres, Belgium. Dark ranking – 7/10

Hohenhaus says that the exhibition at the In Flanders Fields Museum, pictured, ‘contains many sobering parts’

Ypres will likely be ‘perpetually related to the horrors of World War One’, writes Hohenhaus. 

In Flanders Fields Museum is the area’s principal museum devoted to the conflict. The title of the museum ‘is a reference to the famous war poem by Canadian poet John McCrae, who served as a surgeon at Ypres’, the creator explains.  

He says: ‘The state-of-the-art exhibition is comprehensive and includes many sobering elements; for example, the section on the use of poison gas.’

According to the creator, the finish of the exhibition has ‘large panels suspended from the ceiling on which all the conflicts around the world since the Great War are listed’. Hohenhaus says that this half of the museum makes ‘the hackneyed phrase “Never again!” look rather empty’.

Eagle’s Nest & Obersalzberg, Near Berchtesgaden, southern Bavaria, Germany. Dark ranking – 8/10

Kehlsteinhaus, pictured, was gifted to Hitler for his fiftieth birthday. ‘The Kehlsteinhaus is now a popular tourist attraction during the summer season,’ the book reveals 

Part of the underground tunnel and bunker complex at Obersalzberg. Hohenhaus describes the surrounding area as ‘Hitler’s favorite place’

According to the guide, this space ‘was Adolf Hitler’s favorite place’. ‘It was right here that the personal Hitler relaxed, though he additionally acquired political visitors,’ writes Hohenhaus. Obersalzberg is the collective title for Berghof (Hitler’s personal residence), personal homes for different distinguished Nazis, a visitor home known as Platterhof, and SS barracks and bunkers.

The mountaintop home in the complicated, Kehlsteinhaus, also called ‘Eagle’s Nest’, was gifted to Hitler for his fiftieth birthday. Hohenhaus says: ‘The building of the constructing at such an excessive location was an engineering feat – and an costly one (it price an estimated 180million US {dollars} [£133million] in as we speak’s cash). However, Hitler visited it only some instances.’

The guide reveals that in the Cold War period, the Americans used the complicated as a navy recreation centre. ‘It was only after the US military left following Germany’s reunification in 1990 that the space was opened to the public,’ it reads. 

Hohenhaus says: ‘The Kehlsteinhaus is now a popular tourist attraction during the summer season. Inside is a traditional Bavarian restaurant. Many people come here simply to enjoy the views, but the place’s affiliation with Hitler has an undeniably sturdy attract, notably for anglophone vacationers.’

Travellers also can go to the close by Dokumentation Obersalzberg, a memorial museum ‘at the web site of a former visitor home in the Nazis’ compound, and incorporating elements of the underground bunkers’. 

Concentration camp memorial sites in Europe

Pictured above is the gatehouse of the former Natzweiler–Struthof focus camp in Alsace, France 

In whole there have been greater than 20 focus camps plus 1000’s of related satellite tv for pc camps, transit camps, POW camps and different detention centres inside Germany and its occupied territories, the guide explains.

Concentration camps inside and near Germany embrace Sachsenhausen, which was ‘just outside Berlin and one of the first camps established’, Ravensbruck, ‘the main camp for women, located north of Berlin’, and Natzweiler-Struthof, which was primarily based in the Alsace area, now in France.

Hohenhaus writes: ‘Within the German-occupied parts of Poland during World War Two, the very largest of the camps was established: Auschwitz. Not so much a concentration camp but more a small site with an “experimental” function was Chełmno not far from Łodz. Here the method of murdering victims in “gas vans” by carbon monoxide was pioneered, a technique later adopted in the three Operation Reinhard [the phase of the Holocaust that actioned the systematic murder of Jews] camps of Treblinka, Sobibór and Bełżec.’

There had been different camps additional afield, akin to these exterior Minsk, Belarus, and Riga, Latvia. The creator provides: ‘There were also various transit camps in France, Belgium and the Netherlands, with Westerbork, Amersfoort and Vught being the names that stand out and where substantial memorials can be found today.’ 

Hohenschonhausen, Lichtenberg district in japanese Berlin, Germany. Dark ranking – 9/10

View of a cell block in the Berlin-Hohenschonhausen Memorial. The former jail is accessible solely by guided tour

Hohenhaus says of the Berlin-Hohenschonhausen Memorial: ‘This was the main remand prison for political “offenders” in the GDR [German Democratic Republic] run by the infamous Stasi in East Berlin.’

He provides that the Stasi was ‘the former secret “security” police organisation and intelligence network in the GDR’, a state that existed from 1949 to 1990.

According to the guide, ‘suspects’ had been delivered to the jail for interrogation previous to their trial. Hohenhaus writes: ‘The prison was within a restricted, gated and guarded district and thus invisible to the public. Today this is one of the most important memorial sites related to the legacy of the Stasi.’

The jail is accessible solely by guided tour. Former inmates typically lead these excursions, the guide notes. It provides: ‘Tours include the garage where prisoners arrived in special arrest vans, interrogation rooms, and of course the cell blocks. The grimmest are the basement cells in the oldest part of the complex that were already in place when the site was run by the Soviet NKVD (the predecessor of the KGB) before it was handed over to the Stasi in the early 1950s.

‘Occasionally, the tours feature a peek inside a special railway carriage that was used for transporting inmates to other prisons.’ 

The ‘brute of concrete’ that’s the Gefechtsturm Flak tower in Vienna’s Augarten Park

Flak Towers, three areas in Vienna, Austria. Dark ranking – 2/10

Hohenhaus writes: ‘Three cities of the Third Reich – Berlin, Hamburg and Vienna – were equipped with Flak towers, or Flakturme, during World War Two. Flak is short for Flugabwehrkanone, “anti-aircraft gun”.’

According to the creator, the ‘towers got here in pairs: the Gefechtsturm, or “battle tower”, with the weapons at the prime, and a smaller Leitturm, or “steering tower”, with early kinds of radar and distance measurement tools to help the weapons’ goal’. 

He says: ‘As weapons, these systems proved ineffective during Allied air raids, although the bunker towers did provide shelter for the civilian population. As so often with such massive construction projects, forced labour by POWs and concentration camp inmates was used in the creation of these brutes of concrete.’

After the conflict, some of the towers had been destroyed, whereas others had been transformed for different makes use of. The guide reveals: ‘Visually most impressive is the pair in Augarten Park (Vienna), which still stand abandoned and unused. However, they are free-standing, without any neighbouring buildings, giving the best impression of their overwhelming size.’

It provides: ’The inside of the bunkers isn’t usually accessible and the entrances are sealed. There aren’t any indicators informing passers-by about the nature of these enormous gray monsters, so that they usually generate puzzled appears on the half of individuals who encounter them for the first time.’ 

Bucharest, in southern Romania. Dark ranking – 5/10 

Hohenhaus says that the building of the Palace of Parliament, pictured, ‘cost billions and crippled Romania’s economic system’

‘The Romanian capital was once one of the grand metropolises of the East, but suffered badly during the Ceausescu regime.’ So writes Hohenhaus of Bucharest and the communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, who was in energy from 1965 to 1989.

The creator says: ‘Allegedly inspired by a visit to North Korea’s capital, Pyongyang, the dictator had a big half of Bucharest bulldozed to make method for socialist high-rises, particularly alongside a brand new boulevard in the centre, at the prime of which the most megalomaniacal of all Ceausescu’s building tasks was erected: the grandiose Palace of Parliament.’ Hohenhaus describes the constructing as an ‘orgy of marble, crystal chandeliers and gold fittings’ that ‘cost billions and crippled Romania’s economic system’.

Ceausescu’s regime didn’t final. He explains: ‘When one after the other the communist regimes of the Eastern Bloc collapsed, the same thing happened in Romania, but in the least peaceful way of any of these “revolutions”. As protests and violence escalated, Ceausescu and his influential wife, Elena, fled the capital but were eventually captured, court-martialled and executed on Christmas Day 1989.’

Today, guests can undertake guided excursions of the Palace of Parliament, or can stroll round the Piața Revoluției Square, the place Ceausescu ‘gave his final speeches until he was booed off and had to flee by helicopter’. 

Tourists also can go to the ‘former HQ of the feared secret safety organisation Securitate’, which has since been transformed into workplaces and a bar, and the graves of Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu, that are positioned in the metropolis’s Ghencea cemetery. 

Riga, central Latvia. Dark ranking – 5/10

The ‘large concrete statuary’ at Salaspils Memorial on the former grounds of a focus camp 

Hohenhaus writes: ‘The capital city of Latvia is a true gem in many ways, not least for its fabled Jugendstil (“art nouveau”) architecture, but also as a dark destination.’

He explains that when the Nazis invaded Riga, the metropolis’s ‘sizeable Jewish community became a target of repression and extermination’. He says: ‘A ghetto was set up and some of the worst systematic massacres of Jews committed during the Holocaust took place on the outskirts of Riga.’

Describing what occurred to the focus camps in Riga after World War Two, Hohenhaus writes: ‘The site of the camp at Salaspils to the east of the city was given an eerie Soviet-style memorial with giant concrete statuary, but nothing remains of the original camp structure.’

At the finish of the conflict, Latvia grew to become a component of the Soviet Union once more, and its individuals suffered ‘repression, surveillance and even deportation’, in response to the creator. Riga’s former KGB constructing is now a memorial museum and there’s a deportation memorial in the metropolis’s Torņakalns neighborhood, he says. 

Hohenhaus observes that the ‘achievement of overcoming Soviet rule and regaining independence’ is ‘keenly celebrated in a number of museums, akin to the People’s Front Museum and the 1991 Barricades Museum’. Both are positioned in the metropolis’s Old Town.

Chernobyl, north of Kiev, Ukraine. Dark ranking – 10/10

The management room at the shut-down Chernobyl nuclear energy station – the web site of the ‘worst nuclear accident in history’

Hohenhaus describes the nuclear accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, which came about on April 26, 1986, as the ‘worst nuclear accident in history’. 

He says: ‘It took the authorities more than 24 hours to evacuate Pripyat, the town purpose-built in the 1970s for the NPP (nuclear power plant) staff and their families. Residents were told to pack just essential documents and an overnight bag and were carted out in convoys of buses, never to return. At the NPP, firefighters had been called in but faced an impossible task trying to extinguish the burning reactor core. Without any protective clothing, several received lethal doses of radiation.’ 

An ‘Exclusion Zone’ was subsequently declared round the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, the guide reveals. It provides: ‘Although some elderly residents later returned, initially illegally but later tolerated, most of the settlements and towns in the “Zone” have remained depopulated ever since – of humans, that is. In humanity’s absence, wildlife has thrived, together with wolves, elk, wild boar and Przewalski’s horses.’

Hohenhaus says: ‘If you can afford it, it is recommended to invest in a private Chernobyl guide or at least join a small-group tour, and it is best to go off-season.’ He provides: ‘No other place on Earth is so like time travel in both directions simultaneously – back to the Soviet past and forward to provide a glimpse of how a post-apocalyptic, post-civilisation future could look in which nature slowly reclaims what humanity built.’

According to the guide, the major stops on any commonplace tour embrace a go to to ‘some elements of the ghost city of Pripyat’. It notes: ‘Longer excursions (with in a single day stays) can go a lot past the commonplace circuit and will embrace visiting some of the abandoned villages, assembly some “re-settlers” even, and exploring Pripyat in additional depth. By particular association you too can go to the inside of the NPP and see one or two of the management rooms and a reactor corridor.’

National Chernobyl Museum, Podil district, Kiev, Ukraine. Dark ranking – 8/10

Dummies in protecting fits could be present in the National Chernobyl Museum, pictured, which is positioned in Kiev 

‘Short of going on a tour to the real thing, this is the best place to learn about the Chernobyl disaster of 1986,’ says Hohenhaus.

According to the guide, the museum is housed in a former fireplace station, and some autos from Soviet instances are parked exterior.

It explains: ‘The inside provides a good overview of the function of Chernobyl’s reactors, the accident, the clean-up operation, medical results and the aftermath, with a particular deal with kids affected by the radiation.’

The exhibition rooms are ‘full of intriguing artefacts’, the guide provides, in addition to ‘models of the reactor before and after the explosion’. It notes that ‘dummies in protective suits hang from the ceiling’ and the ‘floor of the main hall is a recreation of the octagonal top of the Chernobyl type of reactor’.

Strategic Missile Base Pervomaisk, between Kiev and (*300*), Ukraine. Dark ranking – 8/10

The empty silo for an SS-24 ICBM at Strategic Missile Base Pervomaisk, which has ‘its lid completely ajar’

‘The star piece is a decommissioned SS-18 “Satan” ICBM (pictured), the strongest ever in-built the USSR,’ writes Hohenhaus

Pictured above is the base’s launch management centre (LCC) deep underground. There, guests can expertise ‘a simulated launch sequence’

Hohenhaus says: ‘This is a unique Soviet relic in the middle of Ukraine: a decommissioned intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) silo and launch control centre.’

According to the creator, this missile subject – developed throughout the Cold War – had ‘ten SS-24 “Scalpel” ICBMs, each with ten thermonuclear warheads all programmed for targets in the West’.

Though all nuclear weapons had been withdrawn from Ukraine and the bases destroyed after the Cold War, this base in Pervomaisk is an exception, Hohenhaus reveals. He says ‘parts [of the base] have been preserved’, which incorporates ‘one empty ICBM silo, with its lid permanently ajar, and the base’s launch management centre (LCC) deep underground’.

Tours of the web site embrace taking place to the backside of the shaft into the LCC for ‘a simulated launch sequence’, the guide reveals. It reads: ‘The topside of the site is now an open-air exhibition of rockets, missile carriers and associated hardware. The star piece is a decommissioned SS-18 “Satan” ICBM, the most powerful ever built in the USSR. There is also a small indoor museum about the history of the base.’

The guide recommends that guests with out ample data of Ukrainian or Russian ought to prearrange a tour with an English-speaking information or interpreter.

Sarajevo, in the centre of southern Bosnia. Dark ranking – 8/10 

Part of the ‘Tunnel of Hope’, which as we speak ‘kinds one of the prime vacationer points of interest’ in Sarajevo

Hohenhaus writes: ‘The capital city of Bosnia & Herzegovina suffered the longest siege in modern history during the Bosnian war of the 1990s: nearly four whole years, from 1992 to 1996. Serbian forces shelled the inner city from the surrounding hills and snipers targeted people running for shelter. In total, over 10,000 Sarajevans were killed and the living conditions in the city were atrocious, yet the inhabitants carried on.’

According to the creator, the residents had been helped by a tunnel that was dug beneath the airport to provide the metropolis from the exterior, which was often called the ‘Tunnel of Hope’. It has been partly preserved and as we speak ‘kinds one of the prime vacationer points of interest in the metropolis’.

Elsewhere in the metropolis, there are numerous ‘war-themed tours’ on supply, guiding travellers by means of the ‘so-called sniper alley in the west of the city, cemeteries of victims, the refurbished parliament building and the remaining war ruins’.

Hohenhaus says: ‘All over the city centre you can see the so-called Sarajevo Roses – shell scars in the pavement where people were killed that have been filled with red resin so that they look like splattered blood.’ The Sarajevo Siege part in the History Museum, the Museum of Crimes Against Humanity and Genocide, and the War Childhood Museum additionally make clear the conflict.  

Highlighting one other key occasion in Sarajevan historical past, the guide provides: ‘It was here that the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife were assassinated in 1914, which is widely regarded as having been the trigger that sparked World War One. At the site at the northern end of the Latin Bridge in the city centre is a small museum about the assassination and Sarajevo during the Austro-Hungarian era.’

Perm-36 Gulag memorial, northeast of Perm, Urals area, Russia. Dark ranking – 9/10

The Perm-36 Gulag memorial, pictured, is the solely authentic Gulag web site that has been changed into a memorial for guests

This web site was arrange as a tough labour camp in 1946, Hohenhaus explains. He says: ‘Unlike most other camps it was not closed down after the end of Stalin’s rule however continued as a “correctional labour colony”.’ From 1972 till 1987 it was a camp for political prisoners.

The creator says that as we speak, it’s the solely authentic Gulag web site that has been changed into a memorial for guests. He reveals: ‘The memorial was originally run by an independent organisation, which got into trouble when Putin tightened up legislation and NGOs of this kind were declared “foreign agents”. The site had long been listed as “endangered”, and in 2015 it had to close down after water and electricity were cut off.’

The state has since taken over the running of the memorial. Hohenhaus says: ‘After the takeover in 2015 there was much criticism in the West and among the Russian opposition that this was a political move to “sanitise” the dark history of the Gulag. Indeed, in the current exhibitions there is a stronger emphasis on “criminals” and “nationalists” (Ukrainians, say), but the fact that this was part of the Soviet system of political repression is by no means swept under the rug.‘

According to the book, the original independent exhibition has been ‘augmented by additional ones, including one on banned books and the reasons political prisoners were sent here’.

It provides that the web site’s ‘main attraction’ is the ‘buildings themselves, including the cells, as well as the watchtowers and many fences around the two compounds – one the “strict” camp, the other the “special” (i.e. even stricter) camp’. 

Stalin Museum, Gori, Georgia. Dark ranking – 5/10

Stalin’s ‘preserved delivery home’ on show at the Stalin Museum in Georgia, which Hohenhaus describes as a ‘distinctive relic’ 

The guide reveals that the Stalin loss of life masks (pictured) on show at the museum ‘is as sombre and over the prime as could be’

This museum was in-built the city by which Stalin, ‘one of the most ruthless dictators in history’, was born.

Hohenhaus says that it’s stunning ‘that this shrine-like site survived de-Stalinisation in the USSR under Khrushchev after Stalin’s loss of life in 1953′. He notes: ‘Even after the USSR’s collapse and Georgia changing into unbiased, it nonetheless survives to this present day. It is a singular relic.’

According to the creator, the museum’s major exhibition has remained comparatively unchanged since 1953 and celebrates Stalin ‘as a genius and hero’. ‘Displays include some of his clothes, furniture, gifts from other leaders and a Stalin death mask in a hall that is as sombre and over the top as can be,’ the guide reveals.

It provides: ‘Unsurprisingly the bias at this museum has caused controversy. And so an extra section has been added more recently that points out the darker sides of Stalin too: the purges, show trials and deportations to Gulags. Outside are Stalin statues, his personal railway carriage and his preserved birth house.’

A-Bomb Dome, Central Hiroshima, Japan. Dark ranking – 10/10

The A-Bomb Dome, pictured, is ‘the gutted ruin of what was the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall’. It stood just 150m (450ft) from the hypocentre of the atomic bomb explosion

‘This is the most iconic landmark of Hiroshima, and a symbol of the horrors brought by the atomic bomb that is recognised worldwide,’ says Hohenhaus of the A-Bomb Dome.

An atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima at 8:15am on August 6, 1945. ‘About 70 per cent of the city was destroyed,’ says Hohenhaus, and 140,000 had been killed general, ‘according to a later independent estimate’.

The A-Bomb Dome is ‘the gutted ruin of what was the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall, built in 1915’. The guide explains: ’It stood simply 150m (450ft) from the hypocentre of the atomic bomb explosion; everyone inside was incinerated immediately. Its stable building meant that the constructing didn’t collapse altogether.’ 

It provides: ‘The ruin is surrounded by a fence, so you cannot go inside, but it still emanates a sinister atmosphere when you stand by it. A few information panels around the site provide some background.’

Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, Central Hiroshima, Japan. Dark ranking – 10/10

Pictured is an particularly poignant exhibit at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, the ‘scorched tricycle and helmet of a four-year-old victim of the Hiroshima bombing’ 

This museum ‘is the principal visitor attraction of Hiroshima and one of the world’s prime dark-themed museums’, Hohenhaus notes.

He says: ‘Following a complete makeover, it reopened in 2019 with an all-new exhibition. The new design is visually gloomier than before but technologically state of the art, featuring multimedia and interactive elements.’

According to the guide, artefacts on show embrace ‘the stone steps of a bank on which the shadow of a person who was vaporised in the blast is still visible’. Visitors also can see a wall that exhibits traces of ‘black rain’ – the ‘fallout that rained down from the mushroom cloud and that many injured individuals determined for water drank, making their publicity to radionuclides even worse’. 

An particularly poignant exhibit is the ‘scorched tricycle and helmet of a four-year-old victim of the Hiroshima bombing’.

The guide provides that the ‘historical, technological and medical contexts’ of the bombing are defined in depth in the museum.


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