There are tourist attractions in the world that make your heart beat faster and goosebumps appear on your arms. They are places with a dark past that attract crowds of thrill-seeking visitors.
#1 The Gates of Hell, Turkmenistan
This crater about 98 foot deep & is located in the Kara-kum desert in Turkmenistan and has been burning continuously for 43 years. The whole story began in 1971, when the area was being drilled for natural gas. They found a shallow deposit, part of the terrain collapsed, and gas began to escape from a large hole. In order to prevent it from getting into the atmosphere, it was decided to ignite it. It was supposed to burn only a few days, but it is still burning today.
#2 Kolmanskop, Namibia
The history of this town begins with the discovery of a deposit of precious stones in 1908. On the wave of the ‘diamond rush’ a settlement was established here, which was initially inhabited by keen prospectors. Over time, as mineral extraction increased, the settlement evolved into a town where the miners’ families also settled. In Kolmanskop, houses for about 400 people, a hospital, a school, a power plant, a sports hall and even a theater and a casino were built. Unfortunately, the prosperity did not last long. After World War I diamond prices began to fall. As a result, diamond mining was limited, and in 1930 it was stopped altogether. Gradually the inhabitants began to leave Kolmanskop in search of a better life. The city was completely subjected to the laws of nature. Over the years, the desert sands gradually swallowed up more and more buildings.
#3 Island of Dead Dolls, Mexico
Dolls hanging from trees. Eyeless, limbless, dirty, worn down by the teeth of time. This is not a horror movie setting. This is Isla de Las Munecas, the island of dead dolls. It is located in the Xochimilco district in the southern part of Mexico City. Over 60 years ago, this tiny, abandoned island was inhabited by one man – Julian Santana Barrera. Once, a girl drowned in the local canal. Legend has it that since then the man started hanging dolls on trees to ward off evil spirits. It is said that the soul of the child did not find peace and wandered around the island. Interestingly, Julian Santana Barrera in 2001 drowned in the same canal where the water took the little girl.
#4 Luková, Czech Republic
Standing motionless on wooden benches are figures of the faithful dressed in white cloths. Bowing their heads, they are praying in total concentration, which cannot be disturbed even by breathing. A terrifying silence pervades the atmosphere. This unusual spectacle takes place in the Church of St. George in the village of Luková, some 27 miles from Pilsen. The oldest parts of the church (sacristy, presbytery) were built in the 14th century. After years of war turmoil the church was reconstructed. It gained elements characteristic for the Neo-Romanesque and Neo-Gothic style. In 1968 part of the roof collapsed during a funeral. The villagers considered it a bad omen and opposed the reconstruction. The site was saved from demolition by the artist Jakub Hadrava, who placed statues of 32 ghosts in the church. The statues are covered with phosphorus and emanate moonlight after dusk.
#5 Hashima, Japan
This island is called Gunkan-jima (Island – Warship) by the locals. Until 50 years ago, Hashima was among the most populous islands. There were an impressive 83,500 inhabitants per square kilometer. Today the island remains deserted. Since 1887 Hashima was inhabited by coal miners. It was mining that contributed to the significant development of the island. Residential areas, stores, swimming pools and all kinds of public buildings were built here. Unfortunately, with the dwindling coal deposits, the Japanese industry became interested in oil exploitation. Eventually the mines closed in 1974 and the island began to depopulate. Today it is officially open to thrill-seeking visitors.
#6 Paris, France
Under the streets of Paris hides a completely separate, dark world. It stretches for large damp, dark corridors of catacombs, which began to drill even during the period of the Roman Empire. At that time limestone was obtained from them to build the city. When the deposits were exhausted, the winding underground tunnels were forgotten. They became visible in 1774, when houses in one of the streets slipped. In 1786 Louis XVI ordered to fill the tunnels with corpses from Parisian cemeteries. In this way he wanted to prevent epidemics and neutralize the stench of decomposing corpses in overcrowded necropolises. This underground cemetery would have fallen into oblivion again if not for Louis-Étienne Héricart de Thury. He came up with the idea of turning these dark tunnels into a mausoleum and making them open to the public. In 1810, the work was begun. Skulls and bones were used to build along of walls, to create patterns, crypts, altars and benches. The whole is completed with plaques with poetic affirmation of death. At the entrance, everyone stands face to face with the inscription: Arrête! C’est ici l’empire de la mort – Stop! Here is the empire of death.
#7 Philadelphia, USA
In this city you can get to an abandoned prison – Eastern State Penitentiary. It was opened in 1829 and then belonged to one of the most modern prisons in the entire United States. The cells had central heating, a toilet and a sink with access to running water. There was a window in the ceiling called the eye of God. It was a reminder that every inmate was constantly being watched. After more than 140 years, the prison has been retired and became a tourist attraction. Scratched walls, rusting metal elements, falling plaster and little light add to the atmosphere of terror. As you walk through the corridors you can see chains hanging from the ceiling and even a spooky-looking operating room. Many inmates are said to have suffered mental illnesses or nervous breakdowns. All because the main method of rehabilitation was isolation and limiting contact with other people. And the Bible was considered the only legitimate reading. What is interesting, Al Capone was sent to Eastern State Penitentiary, and he spent 9 months there.
#8 Epecuen, Argentina
This ghost town is called the Pompeii of Argentina. It lies in the province of Buenos Aires, near the city of Carhué. The history of Epecuen begins at the beginning of the 20th century, when it was discovered that the water in the nearby Lake Epecuen had healing properties. The minerals contained in the water were found to be helpful in the treatment of rheumatism, asthma and skin diseases. The town quickly developed into a fashionable resort. Hotels, spa centers and restaurants were built. Each year there were more and more tourists wishing to immerse their bodies in the healing waters. Eventually the lake, which contributed to the development of the town, became its executioner. In 1985, as a result of heavy rains, the dikes were breached and water began to flood the streets. Eventually its level reached 10 meters. 1.5 thousand inhabitants were evacuated from the town. The water did not recede for years. Only in 2009 it began to recede. Currently, the extinct city looks as if it was slightly covered with snow. All because of the salt, which covered buildings and trees.
#9 Kutná Hora, Czech Republic
In the vicinity of Prague in the Czech Republic there is an unusual place. This is the Skull Chapel, where almost all decorative elements are made of human bones. Entire chains of skulls hang from the ceiling, which are connected to a sizeable chandelier (it is said that every bone in the human skeleton can be found in its construction). The whole is completed with pyramids, monstrances and crosses. The Skull Chapel was brought to life by Czech sculptor František Rintov in 1870. It is not known how many human bones he used from the nearby cemetery in his work. Some say 40 thousand.
#10 Aokigahara, Japan
At the foot of Mount Fuji is a dense mixed forest where sunlight comes in scant supply. It has become infamous for the large number of suicides who have chosen to take their own lives in this dark forest. In 2002, 78 bodies were found in Aokigahara, and by 2004, 108 had already been found. The forest is open to the public, and hanging ropes can still be seen on many trees.
What’s the most obscure place you’ve been able to visit?