Chernobyl’s Ghost City of Pripyat: 25 Haunting Images of the Aftermath of Nuclear Disaster
A few days ago, I was lucky enough to be able to visit this one of a kind location where a major catastrophic event took place. An event which I vaguely remember from my childhood but I’ve come to hear often about over the years, like a cautionary tale of the awesome might of the atom, and how small and insignificant we really are in a “Nuclear World”. I started with a visit to ground zero, then moved on to the town of Pripyat, an extreme adventure into a surreal setting you probably might only hear about in a horror movie or a science fictional tale.
Founded in the 1970’s, the city of Pripyat was initially designed to house all personnel from the nearby Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant and their families. All in all around 50,000 people resided in this city which was pretty close to ground zero of the worst nuclear disaster in history when an accident caused the meltdown of one of the power plants’ reactors on April 26, 1986. All of the inhabitants were evacuated 36 hours after the disaster.
This once bustling progressive city considered to have had one of the best living standards in the Soviet Union is now a ghost-town which looks like something out of a “post-apocalyptic movie”. It stands preserved in time and untouched from the day everyone left it as an example of the ultimate man-made catastrophe. Radiation levels remain too high for permanent human habitation and will probably remain so for hundreds of years to come. The city was originally constructed within a dense forest, so now nature has reclaimed it with heavy vegetation, radioactive trees and flowers growing everywhere.
These are some of the images I took during my visit to the disaster area:
Entrance to the city
A once luxurious hotel
Wide streets and apartment buildings once bustling with people
Abandoned Soviet Palace of Culture
Soviet propaganda street box
More Soviet propaganda visuals on the streets
At Pripyat’s amusement park, an abandoned Ferris wheel…
a merry go round
and Bumper cars where thousands of children used to spend their free time
Rotting wooden floors of what used to be a Basketball court at the sport center
An Olympic swimming pool at the sport center. (Most cities didn’t have swimming pools)
One of the city’s several parks
One of many activity centers
The city’s post office and call center
One of many Supermarkets at the time packed with fresh food and goods, since the city was well supplied
Children’s school crossing facing one of the city’s biggest schools
Crumbling elementary school classroom with decaying paint and floors
One of thousands of children’s books rotting away on shelves
Slowly rusting cash register at a local store
Hundreds of gas masks lying around, possibly used in a misguided attempt to offer people some sort of protection
After leaving, all visitors must pass through two checkpoints and are scanned for absorbed doses of radiation. If the safe dose is exceeded, their belongings are removed they are given a chemical shower.