Scary tourism. Travel to disaster sites
Journeys | 30.10.2020
Some tourists are attracted to the places of natural or man-made disasters – mysterious, gloomy, and sometimes dangerous. The Mischief Night is a good time to learn about places to go for a thrill.
Pompeii, Italy
The most famous calamity of the ancient world is the destruction of the city of Pompeii. In 79 AD the eruption of the Vesuvius Volcano took place near Pompeii, which buried the Roman city along with the neighboring Herculaneum under mounds of ash and pumice. Pompeii was first rediscovered in 1599. During the extensive excavations by the Spanish engineer Roque Joaquín de Alcubierre in 1748 the structures were uncovered, including a Roman theater. A thick ash layer helped to "preserve" the city, so it survived to a great extent – from streets to frescoes. Now Pompeii is an open-air museum, part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Pompeii is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Italy with around 2.5 million visitors annually. You can explore the city on your own or with tours. It is more convenient to get to Pompeii from Naples – just half an hour's drive.
Chernobyl, Ukraine
The largest nuclear accident occurred on the night of April 26, 1986, when the reactor of the fourth power unit exploded at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. The explosion released radioactive materials into the atmosphere and caused a fire that lasted 10 days. The disaster resulted in thousands of deaths, as well as the evacuation of 350,000 residents from the cities of Chernobyl and Pripyat. After the initial liquidation of the consequences of the accident, the authorities continued to operate the remaining three power units, gradually shutting them down until the plant finally ceased work in 2000.

After the release of the Chernobyl series, tours to the site of the accident became especially popular. Travel companies conduct tours along the signed route in the "exclusion zone" of Chernobyl – the area around the plant. Radiation level in this area has been generally recognized as safe. He excursion includes a visit to all the main attractions, including the ruins of the village of Kopachi, which was demolished and buried after the disaster due to the high level of pollution, and the Red Forest – a pine massif destroyed by radioactive contamination.
Fukushima, Japan
The Great East Japan Earthquake occured on March 11, 2011. It was the strongest earthquake ever recorded in Japan.

The earthquake caused a powerful tsunami, which reached a height of 40.5 meters and spilled over 10 km inland. Currently, over 15,000 people are given up for lost and over 2,500 people are gone missing. Because of the tsunami, an explosion occurred at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, as a result of which radioactive materials were released into the atmosphere. About 164,000 people were evacuated from the area around the station.

Today, tourists can visit the coastal area of Fukushima and see with their own eyes the amount of the damage caused by the disaster. One-day and two-day tours departing from Tokyo are offered by several agencies.
Lakehurst, USA
On the evening of May 6, 1937, a German passenger airship LZ 129 Hindenburg flamed up while attempting to dock with a Naval Aviation Station near Lakehurst, New Jersey. In less than half a minute the entire airship caught fire. Thirty-seven people died, and the disaster became one of the most high-profile news of its time. He causes of the fire was never determined. Some believe this was due to weather conditions, while others speculate that the chemical mixture used to coat the airship's skin flamed up.

Today volunteers from the Lakehurst Navy Historical Society take public tours of Historic Hangar No. 1, where Hindenburg was once located. To the west of the hangar, the crash site is marked with a bronze plank and cement outline. Pre-registration is required – more information can be found on the company's website.
Bikini Atoll, Marshall Islands
Shortly after World War II, the US government conducted a series of nuclear tests on Bikini Atoll, a tiny ring of islands in the Pacific Ocean. One of these tests was the Bravo test, a 15 megaton TNT equivalent hydrogen bomb (about 7,000 times that of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima). The explosion made a crater a mile wide and caused widespread radioactive contamination that has since led to the evacuation of Bikini residents.

Currently, Bikini remains uninhabited due to contamination. Nevertheless, divers have been coming here since 1996. They are mostly attracted by the opportunity to investigate the sunken fleet of ships originally used for nuclear tests. In addition, divers can see rare marine life.
Hanford, USA
He US government created the Hanford Complex in 1943 as part of the Manhattan Project. Ere, on the bank of the Columbia River in Washington state, is Reactor B, the world's first full-scale plutonium production reactor. Reactor B is one of three at Hanford that produced plutonium for Fat Man, the atomic bomb detonated over Nagasaki at the end of World War II.

The Hanford Plutonium Reprocessing Plant is the place where nearly two-thirds of all US military plutonium was reprocessed and one of the most dangerous places to work in history. Inadequate safety measures during active use of the complex resulted in the release of 53 million gallons of radioactive material into the surrounding ecosystem. Hanford itself was recognized as the country's most polluted nuclear facility. Now the complex is decommissioned, although a small portion of the site, including a commercial nuclear power plant, remains active.

Despite the potential hazard, visitors to Hanford can take two guided tours. The Hanford Tour includes an overview of the complex, detailed information on cleanup measures, and a guided walking tour of Reactor B. Another tour focuses exclusively on the famous reactor, which was named a National Historical Landmark in 2008. Detailed information about the tours is available on the official website.
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