War Tourism

The UNESCO High Dam Salvage Project was undertaken in 1964 to raise the Aswan Dam in the Nile Valley of Egypt since its instability threatened nearby areas. The mission discovered two underwater cemeteries, one on either bank of the Nile. The real shock came when the skeletons were excavated and dated. 45% of men, women and children buried at the cemetery had died from violent wounds with pointed stone blades were found in 21 bodies. The site turned out to be the Mesolithic Jebel Sahaba, the oldest evidence of warfare from 12,000 to 14,000 years ago.

War is perhaps a collective animal instinct humans have inherited from our ancestors with catastrophic consequences. Wars in recent history evoke a sense of pathos in those who were directly or remotely affected by it. World War II was the deadliest conflict in history whose death toll stands at between 60 and 85 million people. The places, battlegrounds and structures associated with the war have taken on ghostlike, awe-inspiring qualities, evoking a sense of tragedy and curiosity. The same holds true for all the wars that ravaged millions of lives in recent memory.

War tourism, also called military tourism, is for those who have a nostalgic stake in the places concerned. Other war tourists are history buffs and travel enthusiasts. Many sites associated with war tourism have dedicated remembrance days, which attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists. Many war tourism destinations are consciously developed by countries to promote tourism. The popularity of individual destinations depends on the magnitude of the conflict and how many people were affected by it.

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