Dark tourism – the tourism of sites of tragedy – may be a recent growth area for the travel industry but it’s not a new phenomenon. As far back as the Dark Ages, pilgrims were travelling to tombs and sites of religious martyrdom. The Battle of Waterloo in 1815 was observed by nobility from a safe distance and one of the earliest battlefields of the American CivilWar (Manassas) was sold the next day as a visitor attraction site. More recently, Ground Zero in New York has become an essential part of the tourist itinerary for many visitors.
But why are these sites so popular?
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