Many people relate the word tourism with moments of vacation on the beach enjoying sunsets, diving into the sea or a swimming pool, or visiting museums.
However, adrenaline lovers are looking for more and more extreme experiences that take their emotions and senses to the limit. Exploring cemeteries at dawn, entering abandoned houses, or visiting sites where human catastrophes occurred has become popular and is now known as What is dark tourism or thanatourism?
Every year, more and more travelers venture into dark tourism and visit those places where death and misfortune reigned.
This new way of touring the world aims to bring tourists closer to death. This happens through visits to where some tragedy occurred; generally, they also have historical value. Do you have the courage to read on and learn more about the subject?
What Is It, and How Did It Come About?
Dark tourism consists of visiting places or making pilgrimages to areas where the theme of violence and death is the protagonist.
This term, also known as thanatourism, was first used in 1996 in Scotland by Lennon and Foley, two students at the University of Glasgow. That same year, marketer and writer A. V. Seaton officially coined the word in his editorial publications.
Many objected when different destinations in Europe began to label themselves as dark tourism. Some argued that it was a lucrative practice based on people's suffering.
Philip Stone and Richard Sharple, tourism analysts at the University of Central Lancashire in the United Kingdom, said that death was already present in people's lives. Video games and other forms of entertainment make people see an end differently. So the practice of dark tourism would be a powerful way never to forget what happened in the past so as not to repeat it.
For some years now, thanatourism has become popular all over the world. There are even companies dedicated to the creation of this type of experience. For example, some tours take you to Chernobyl or the Auschwitz concentration camp.
In Mexico and, above all, in the United States, you can find houses of terror called dark tourism due to the high adrenaline rushes they provoke.
Depending on the physical and mental health of the traveler, he may or may not be suitable for this type of activity and tour.
The recommendations for those who want to venture into this new way of traveling the world are good physical and cardiac health and not suffering from depression or anxiety, or any other mental illness.
How Many Types of Dark Tourism Are There?
There are seven types of dark tourism, and they are ordered from light to dark. In other words, from the lowest to the highest intensity:
Dark entertainment industries: here, enter horror houses, houses, or warehouses adapted to simulate zombie apocalypses or haunted forests.
-Theatrical, dance, performance, or painting exhibitions that make you connect with the afterlife.
-Dungeons, dungeons, cells, fortifications, or prisons that bear witness to significant historical events
-Cemeteries and all the activities related to or carried out in them
-Places of worship, such as the altars of the Santa Muerte in Tepito
-Areas of armed confrontations: those sites where violent conflicts took place or where the protagonists of rebellions lived, such as the bunkers where Adolf Hitler took refuge in Poland.
-Tours of sites where there were massacres or genocides for political, racial, or social reasons.
Dark Tourism in Mexico
Eco Alberto Park, Ixmiquilpan, Hidalgo
In this state of the Mexican Republic, you can find several extreme activities, but nothing like the night hike.
This is a midnight tour in which visitors pretend to be immigrants who will cross the border between Mexico and the United States. In this role-playing game, they will face Zetas, drug traffickers, and all kinds of thugs who seek to attack them and take their belongings.
Santa Muerte in Tepito, Mexico City
The Tepito neighborhood is known for being the first place in the world to profess devotion to Santa Muerte. Here you can visit the altars, attend masses and even talk to the founders of this sect.
Narcotours, Mazatlan and Sinaloa
Considered the birthplace of the narco, in this Sinaloa city, you can find tours that take you to explore homes, precincts, and streets where shootings and arrests took place.
On tour, you can visit the house where El Chapo was arrested and see traces of the shooting on the walls.
You will also visit the shrine to "Malverde," the saint of drug traffickers. According to his followers, he is in charge of protecting all those who dedicate themselves to this illicit activity.
Main Destinations Throughout the World
Auschwitz Concentration Camp, Poland
It was one of the main camps built by the Germans in 1940 and is located in Poland. Currently, there are tours in several languages: German, English, Spanish, Italian, French, and Yiddish.
On tour, you can see the barracks where the Jews slept in overcrowded sleeping quarters. The gas chambers also had to be rebuilt because they were destroyed by the Germans themselves before leaving the camp.
The most significant nuclear accident in history occurred here. It was in 1986 when reactor 4 of the atomic complex exploded. Thousands of people died due to the radiation and many more died from disease and the aftermath of the disaster. The deadly accident occurred in Pripyat, which is now a ghost town, as all the inhabitants left the territory.
Catacombs of Paris
Several meters below Paris, corridors and entire streets of what once belonged to the French capital. The fantastic thing about this site is that these tunnels and labyrinths are filled with human bones. tourism consists of visiting places or making pilgrimages to areas where the theme of violence and death is the protagonist.
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