- Have you ever wondered what destruction happens to a city or region post a nuclear radiation accident?
- Are you aware of the Chernobyl Plant and Pripyat city, the site of the nuclear accident situated in the erstwhile USSR?
- Did you know that there are countless documentaries and movies been made about the Chernobyl disaster?
There are countless stories and myths, which abound about Chernobyl. While some say that it was just an accident at a nuclear plant, others point to a warring country being responsible for executing the same. The nuclear accident at Chernobyl happened in the erstwhile USSR era.
This was roughly around the same time when the Cold War was raging between Communist USSR and the Western Capitalist world. The stories, myths, controversies have made Chernobyl somewhat of an urban legend.
Chernobyl has become so famous that it has been featured in a Netflix series. It has also started attracting audiences and tourists from all over the world, who want to see one of the most significant remnants of our modern history.
An Introduction to Pripyat, the city surrounding Chernobyl
Visiting Pripyat today we could only imagine that it was a city of opportunity, where almost every resident had a prestigious job and a promising future. This city is located on the Pripyat River, 3 kilometers from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, has been prosperous and advanced since its foundation.
Until April 26, 1986, when the explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant forced more than 300 thousand people to leave their homes due to the threat of radiation. This is how the exclusion zone appeared – an area of 2,600 square kilometers, free of people.
Before the Chernobyl incident, Pripyat was one of the most economically developed and bustling cities of the USSR. The trade, commerce, and lifestyle of the people were as good as it could get under a Communist regime. Culturally, Pripyat embodied the best of the USSR. The Chernobyl accident was a major turning point in the fortunes of the city and its inhabitants.
The Problems faced by Inhabitants of Pripyat after the Chernobyl Accident
Many inhabitants were forced to shift to government camps and medical facilities. They were monitored for radiation and many also faced isolation and therapy. Even after the nuclear winter ended, traces of radiation were found in water, soil, etc. The government could not ever settle inhabitants in the city. Many were forced to migrate thousands of miles to different regions, often starting from scratch.
The accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant changed hundreds of thousands of destinies, caused enormous economic damage, and a crushing blow to the nuclear industry. In the shortest possible time, the whole city was to be empty, people were not allowed to take anything except documents. Visiting Pripyat now, we can see how much pain it was for people to leave in a hurry all their property acquired over the years.
As Pripyat was a bustling center of trade and commerce, you can still see so many markets, big complexes, theatres, and auditoriums. Many historians have stated that Pripyat was as rich and powerful as Moscow was. However, after the accident, there was just chaos and destruction as far as the eye could see.
How Chernobyl looks like today?
Here is what you can expect if you visit Chernobyl today
Visiting Chernobyltoday is like returning to the distant Soviet Union. Here you can still see elements of communist propaganda, personal belongings scattered on the streets, and abandoned buildings. The hammer and sickle adorn the lanterns on the eve of the May holidays, which were not destined to take place. Toys are scattered across the schoolyard, abandoned by children in the confusion. The clock in the city shows 11:55 – the time of the power outage.
Visiting Chernobyl safe is possible with the help of the professional guides, who know all the impressive but at the same time safe places of the abandoned city. Chernobyl visit is available in several options:
- One-day tour (Includes 27 top locations, lasts for 11 hours including comfortable bus. The price is from 35 euro per person)
- Two-day tour (Includes 57 top locations, lasts for 36 hours including top comfortable bus. The price is from 95 euro per person)
- Private tour (No restrictions on the number of locations, no limitation on hours – one, two, or even five days in Chernobyl)
Present-day Chernobyl: What is happening?
Whatever tour you choose Chernobyl visit will give you an opportunity to see how nature conquers human error. Pripyat turns into a forest. Houses begin to collapse, asphalt turns into moss, houses grow into trees, wide avenues disappear. Visiting Pripyat, it will be interesting to see:
- Shelter “Sarcophagus”. It covers the destroyed Unit 4 to protect the environment from continued exposure to radiation.
- The Exclusion Zone. Excursions along this area are conducted with visits to local “attractions”, museums, and communication with self-settlers.
- Amusement Park. The official opening of the amusement park was planned for May 1, 1986.
- Red Forest. It has absorbed a huge dose of radioactive dust. Most of the trees died, and the survivors took on a rusty hue.
- The Bridge of Death. The townspeople came here to see the burning reactor, not knowing that the radiation level here was one of the highest in the city.
Over the past decade, hundreds of thousands of tourists made a visit to Chernobyl and Pripyat. But, believe me, the emotions that you feel when you find yourself in this city cannot be compared with anything.
The Final Word
If you are someone who is fascinated by Cold War history or seeing the height of Communist Power in the USSR, you will love Chernobyl. Even though the city and the region lie in ruins, there is a quaint romance about the place. Describing how you would feel after visiting Chernobyl is something that even the best travel writers cannot do.
Part of the reason is that Chernobyl and Pripyat remain one of those rare places on Earth, which can still give you goosebumps. You have a city, without inhabitants, you have markets without shoppers, and you have buildings without owners.