By past you must mean 2011 or so because the Dark Web now doesn't take long to load website wise and there are a multitude of site directories to choose from. These site directories frequently let you know which sites are up or down, too.i have used a tor in the past and been on there. to be honest with you....unless you have specific address it is a shitshow.
everything is super slow and what you do find on your own seems so outdated that it is laughable.
there was a "wiki" style site that gave some nav but i am pretty sure it was operated by federal authorities.