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10 dangerous but fascinating places
Posted on 23/03/2015 , Modified on 25/03/2015

SecurityTunisia

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DANGEROUS: Extraordinary places aren't always the most comfortable. Many of the most beautiful, historic, or simply unusual places in the world have been embroiled in conflict or natural disasters, to name but a few - placing them off bounds to all but the most intrepid explorer. Here are ten places where your government doesn't want you to go - and they may well be right - but that doesn't mean you should forget about them. If not today, one day you will be glad.

Chott el Jerid, Tunisia

Chott el Jerid, Tunisia
Stefan Krasowski

Tunisia has long been a popular holiday destination, particularly along its Mediterranean coastline. But the interior of the country also has a lot to offer - not least for Star Wars fans, who can visit many of the locations used to film scenes on the desert planet of Tatooine. In recent years, however, tensions have begun to flare and a number of tragic incidents have taken place - rendering the southern regions of the country in particular dangerous places for travel.

Pripyat, Ukraine

Pripyat, Ukraine
D. Markosian

This "ghost town" was abandoned in the wake of the Chernobyl disaster. It is one of the most radioactive places on earth, but you can still visit - Geiger counter in hand - to take in the eerie, tragic but fascinating atmosphere of this modern-day Pompeii.

Aleppo, Syria

Aleppo, Syria
yeowatzup

Aleppo may well be the most historic city in the world, but it has tragically been devastated by three years of brutal civil war. Many of its historic sites, such as the Great Mosque and the Al-Madina Souk, have been damaged in fighting, while much of its population has fled. Visiting is not a possibility at the moment, but there is hope that one day it will once again be a thriving city.

North Sentinel Island, Andaman Islands

North Sentinel Island, Andaman Islands
NASA Earth Observatory

This island is home to one of the few uncontacted tribes in the world. A population of anywhere between 50 and 400 live there, and fiercely guard their territory, launching arrows and spears at anyone who gets too close. Indeed, in numerous cases would-be trespassers have been killed, and the Indian government has stopped trying to make contact with the island.

Socotra, Yemen

Socotra, Yemen
Rod Waddlington

This archipelago off the coast of Yemen is home to one of the most beautiful and otherworldly landscapes on earth, including the famous dragon's blood and bottle trees. Socotra is truly a place like no other, with a third of plant life unique to the island. However, Yemen's violent political situation - with wars, coups and terrorist attacks - makes it an unwise holiday destination for the moment.

Yankari National Park, Nigeria

Yankari National Park, Nigeria
Thomas Breuer

Yankari National Park is a beautiful land of warm natural springs with crystal clear waters, and vegetation hidding collections of wild animals. However, in northern Nigeria, it is close to many of the key battlegrounds of the brutal terrorist group Boko Haram and, unfortunately, does not look be a viable option for tourism for a while to come.

Timbuktu, Mali

Timbuktu, Mali
Emilio Labrador

Located on the edge of the Sahara Desert in Mali, Timbuktu is ancient centre of learning and scholarship. The city has been around much longer than many modern cities, with its large collection of Islamic manuscripts and iconic mud buildings. In recent years, however, it has been the scene of ongoing battles between the Malian and French militaries and Islamist forces, and is not currently a safe place for holidaying.

Danakil Desert, Ethiopia

Danakil Desert, Ethiopia
Achilli Family Journeys

The Danakil Desert in Ethiopia is the hottest place on earth. An alien landscape of bright colours (caused by the salt), it is extraordinary - but, as well as the heat, a dangerous place to visit due to its volatile location on the Ethiopia-Eritrea border.

Mesopotamian Marshes, Iraq

Mesopotamian Marshes, Iraq
www.abualsoof.com

The "Marsh Arabs" were immortalised in Wilfred Thesiger's 1964 book about the people who live in this extraordinary landscape. The marshes, however, were drained to as much as a tenth of their size by Saddam Hussein's regime, devastating the local culture and lifestyle. The area has begun to recover, however, and despite Iraq's ongoing conflicts, there is hope that this could one day become an eco-tourism destination.

Tehran, Iran

Tehran, Iran
Hamed Saber

Whether or not Iran could really be described as a "dangerous" place to visit depends entirely on who you talk to. According to the British Foreign Office, there is a risk of arbitrary detention when travelling through the country, and as a result all but essential travel is discouraged. However, the vast majority of visitors to Iran will tell you it is a beautiful, hospitable and fascinating country, despite a tense political situation.