Gulag tourism and visitation: the case of Kazakhstan

Lennon, J. and Tiberghien, G. (2022) Gulag tourism and visitation: the case of Kazakhstan. Dark Tourism Research Symposium: Memory, Pilgrimage and the Digital Realm, Edinburgh Napier University, 5th May 2022.

Full text not currently available from Enlighten.


Kazakhstan is the location of some of the most important Gulag incarceration heritage sites from the Soviet period of domination. Despite the scale and severity of incarceration and loss of life commemoration, conservation and interpretation of Gulag sites is at best partial, visitation remains low and the attitude to this element of Kazakh history is (at best) ambiguous. This conference paper considers critical heritage sites and museums of the Gulag period in Kazakhstan and a qualitative case study approach is adopted to better understand the development and operation of Gulag tourism. Direct observations and qualitative document analysis of the major Kazakh Gulag museums and other important Gulag heritage sites was undertaken. Date from interviews with some 24 key stakeholders is also reported. This paper questions the orthodoxy inherent in the appeal of dark tourism sites and seeks to ascertain why domestic and international visitation remains low given the scale and importance of the Gulag incarceration narrative.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Tiberghien, Dr Guillaume
Authors: Lennon, J., and Tiberghien, G.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Interdisciplinary Studies
Related URLs:

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record