Main checkpoint to the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone for tourists, which defines the 30-km Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant Zone of Alienation. Informational boards in Ukrainian and English include the Chornobyl radiation map and rules. Photos and videos of KPP and its guards are forbidden. Here is the only convenient WC for miles in Chornobyl Zone. Dytiatky is both entrance and exit checkpoints with radiation control for people and transport.
Decontaminated former region center 18-km far from Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant (CNPP). Today most of Zone stаff (up to 3000 people) live here in Chornobyl city. Radiation exposure and nuclear environment here are within normal limits (apart from some «dirty» spots, background radiation in Chornobyl city is equal to any big city in the world). And only above-ground pipelines remind us that soil here is not allowed to be excavated. Chornobyl city has its active infrastructure: dining rooms (canteens), 5 shops, a post office, a church, household facilities for the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone staff (ex-houses), medical points, hotels, and drinking-houses (places «of importance» in the evening). Most of the Chornobyl city houses are former private residences.
CHERNOBYL WORMWOOD STAR MEMORIAL COMPLEX
It is a memorial in the very center of the Chornobyl city, near the former «Ukraina» cinema (storks on its wall symbolize the national tragedy of the Chornobyl nuclear disaster). Chornobyl Wormwood was constructed and ceremonially opened in 2011. a) The ‘Trumpeting Angel’ sculpture is made of metallic wire. b) Another memorial made of granite and marble to honor Chornobyl heroes — Chornobyl liquidators of the Chornobyl nuclear disaster. c) Stone map of the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone with metallic stars, which symbolize abandoned cities and villages. The alley of dead settlements with the village plates. d) Mailbox memorial at the end of a valley – abandoned boxes symbolize the tragedy of the evacuation of 130 000 former residents of the Chornobyl region.
CHORNOBYL FIRE STATION MEMORIAL
14 Firemen from this station were the first to combat the fire on the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the early morning of April 26, 1986. Memorial to Chornobyl heroes sign state: «To those, who save the world» honors both firemen and all the liquidators of the Chornobyl Nuclear Disaster». We can see the sculptures of firemen, doctors, and radiation technicians — the first Chornobyl liquidators. This monument was constructed by the efforts of people, who worked here. The memorial skeleton was made of metallic wire and then covered with concrete and shaped. Famous CNPP pipe was made of the remains of Chornobyl city pipelines, fire-hose and valves are real ones. After all the works memorial was put off the fire station to the road and has become one of the symbols of Chornobyl today’s interest.
SCRAPPED VEHICLES PARK
Another memorial is in the open air, next to the dire station monument in Chornobyl city. It presents transport and special engineered vehicles, which were involved in the Chornobyl Nuclear Disaster liquidation. These particular units were in operation within the most radiation-dirty sites after the Chornobyl accident – near and on the roof of the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant. Despite decades of the Cold war preparations, USSR technicians had to engineer sophisticated technical hybrids to have access to the most problematic sites in Chornobyl Exclusion Zone. Army armored vehicles protected people inside. We can see a unique scavenger, designed based on a Soviet lunar cover (one of four, involved in the Chornobyl Zone). Modernized German police mine robot, which shortly broke down within the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant roof (soviet engineers underestimated the levels of radiation). The museum includes only a small part of vehicles, which were acceptably decontaminated to approach people on the 3-5 meters distance. Transport beyond recovery was buried within radioactive storage facilities (vehicle graveyard).
The name of the former region council center in Chornobyl Exclusion Zone (which included 3 villages) came from the Ukrainian archaism “kopa” – which means “community”. Before the Chornobyl Accident, Kopacahi had a population of 1114 inhabitants with a school, library, post office, cultural center, church, and machine-elevator station nearby. It was the nearest village to the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plthe ant on the Chornobyl map, which suffered the first radioactive fallout in the early morning of April 26, 1986. Kopachi was a temporary dislocation of the 731-st firemen battalion – Chornobyl heroes firemen lived here in tents in the first days of the Chornobyl accident. Despite extremely high radiation exposure, Kopachi residents were evacuated only on May 3, a week after Chornobyl Nuclear Disaster. Kopachi village was mostly buried in the ground including households, trees, machines, fences, and even bodies of killed animals. Only little hills with warning radiation symbols remained – also post-office ruins, a few agricultural facilities, and a former kinder garden (Chornobyl is today one of the most visited sites). Also World War Two memorial is near the road. Inside the premises of the Kopachi kinder garden is a place of common tourist interest with furniture, child metal beds, toys, and books remaining (multiple Chornobyl pictures and photos are annually taken here).
THE BASE DEPARTMENT OF RADIOECOLOGY AND RADIOBIOLOGY
Was initiated after the disaster on the territory of a former Chornobyl fish farm on the bank of the Chornobyl cooling pond. It performed active work in Chornobyl Exclusion Zone until 2008. Facilities were used by radiobiologists to study the influence of ionizing radiation and gamma radiation on living beings such as Chornobyl fish and fur animals (fed with Chornobyl fish from the cooling pond). We see the laboratory, and incubation premises with probes of caviar, and tiny fish in test glasses remained. Pond bank today gives a perspective view on Chornobyl fish capture constructions. Few tourists know about the former Nagorci village at the bottom of the canal (people obtained accommodations in Pripyat during the construction of the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant).
CHERNOBYL COOLING TOWER
Along with the construction of the 5th and 6th Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant reactors, two giant cooling towers were raised on a site 2-km far from. It was planned to be used to cool water after the steam process in the actor, as an addition to the Chornobyl cooling pond to serve with 12 potential plant reactors. The bigger cooling tower is 120 meters high.
BRIDGE OVER THE POND. TRAGEDY MEMORIAL. CHORNOBYL CATFISH
There is a famous train bridge over the cooling pond with life in full swing below – Chornobyl fish and giant Chornobyl catfish eat tourist bread with pleasure. Photos of the Nuclear Power Plant are forbidden from this perspective. Across the road stands one of the symbols of the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone – «Prometheus statue» (before the Chornobyl accident it was located in Pripyat’s neat «Prometey» cinema). Next are the Disaster fighters (Chornobyl Liquidators) of the Chornobyl tragedy memorial with the names of two accidentally dead station workers and the first firemen — the first Chornobyl heroes. Bell in the center of composition has two-century history and was brought here from the church in Chornobyl city.
CHORNOBYL NUCLEAR POWER PLANT SITE
Monument of marble and granite honors Chornobyl liquidators, and constructors of the Chornobyl Sarcophagus («Shelter» Object) – it was opened in autumn of 2006 on the 20th anniversary. Six granite plates, three of which contain text in Ukrainian, Russian and English, surround the composition – two palms bear the «Shelter» Object miniature. On the right hand of the monument is the observation pavilion – a build-up to the original 1986 checkpoint. The second floor includes a station miniature and a 270* observation balcony. On the left – ISF-1 (Interim Storage Facility), which contains spent nuclear fuel out of 1-2-3 Chornobyl reactors. For three decades background radiation near the monument was 400-500 micro rentgens and after November 2016 and the finish of the «Shelter Object-2» («Arka») safe confinement – 120-150 mcr/ hr. Today the 4th Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant reactor is hidden under the new construction.
PRIPYAT CITY SIGN
One of the most aware symbols of the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone is a memorable Pripyat Sign (city limit sign), which is located at the crossroads only 1.2 km far the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant. It reflects the year 1970 – which symbolizes the foundation stone of Pripyat (Ukraine), put on February 4, 1970. Next to the Pripyat sign, on the roadside is a warning radiation symbol, determining the limits of the buried Red forest Chornobyl. In 1987 dozens of ha of the most radiation-contaminated Red forest (which was on the way to the major nuclear fallout after the Chornobyl accident on April 26, 1986) were buried in trenches, with new trees planted above it. The Pripyat sign itself was thoroughly decontaminated, but a few meters aside and background radiation is unhealthy high.
CHORNOBYL-2. RUSSIAN WOODPECKER
Former Soviet secret military city, hidden 6-km aside from the main road in the forest, marked as a children’s camp on the old maps. Two security perimeters for 1000 men military reservation. The outer one includes a military city, barracks, parade ground, canteen, garages and workshops, school, kinder garden, and the only street named after Kurchatov – father of the Soviet atomic program. The inner perimeter of the Chornobyl 2 includes the infrastructure of the Telecommunication center and an Over-the-horizon radar system («Duga Radar», «Russian Woodpecker», «Russian Duga», «Woodpecker radio»).
Over-the-horizon radar system (OTH), well-known as Duga radar was constructed to determine potential mass launches of the atomic missiles from the USA. It was constructed near the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant to maintain a great amount of electricity for service and coasted much more than the Station itself. Indicative air interference, which caused troubles for European civil aviation, provided the official name «Russian Woodpecker». Information about Duga Radar broke into the world only after the fall of the Soviet Union. Today two giant receivers of 30 000 tons of weight impress tourists. The bigger one is 500 meters long and 150 high and the smaller one – is 250 meters long and 100 m high.
ON THE ROOF OF PRIPYAT
Two high-altitude 16-story buildings stand between two Pripyat city estates. A street trip to this place provides emotional Pripyat today walk among buildings with hundreds of empty windows and a Pripyat street view. Inside the 16-store homesite, we see a complete mess on every particular floor – tones of garbage, furniture, elevator system remains (which once made its eternal stop on one of the levels), and crashed post boxes. Almost every apartment is available to go into – mess, furniture, and wallpapers on the floor (rolled over the years by means of gravity and dampness).
The roof of these 16-floor buildings provides an amazing all-around panoramic Pripyat street view and Chornobyl Exclusion Zone. The former atomic city for 50 000 civilians is spread before the eyes – 5 city estates and a site for the never-built 6th one. Multiple buildings, the famous Pripyat Ferris Wheel (Chornobyl Ferris Wheel) in Pripyat Amusement Park, Central Square, Pripyat Hospital, stadium, schools, and kinder gardens – the city is drowned in green color — open and for creative Chornobyl pictures and Pripyat photos.
LAZURNY PRIPYAT SWIMMING POOL
Two-story building within III Pripyat city district near the former School №3. It was a famous city site for recreation, sports events, and school lessons. After the Chornobyl Nuclear Disaster Lazurny was decontaminated and used by Chornobyl liquidators up to 1998 when the 3 reactor repair period caused permanently stop the hot water supply in Pripyat.
The Pripyat swimming pool building is divided into two parts. One includes a sports hall and the second one – the swimming pool itself, booking office, locker rooms, washrooms. Lazurny Pripyat swimming pool had 6 swim lanes with two towers. We now see a former sports stopwatch on the wall. The frontage of Lazurny is famous for another watch – tourists and photographers move the hands of a clock one and once again take Chornobyl photos. The most preferable variant is 1h 23m – time of the explosion on the 4th reactor.
SCHOOL № 1
First Pripyat school, which was open in summer 1972 and held 1300 pupils before the Chornobyl Nuclear Disaster. It also became the first building in the city, part of which was crushed down – twice: in 2005 and 2013. Tones of snow became a challenge for the roof of the abandoned school building and one of the facilities collapsed, revealing inner premises — now a site for Pripyat photos. Today school № 1 is one of the few dangerous buildings in Pripyat.
The break structure building is in relatively good condition, revealing a typical soviet school design. Among its peculiarities – is the music class next to a sports hall (the gym makes a distressing scene with a corrupted wooden floor). School walls are locally covered with Soviet leaders’ wallpapers and ideological slogans – fortunately, the paper is not of looter’s interest and is still a means for pictures of Chornobyl.
Was built near the Lazurny Pripyat swimming pool within the 3rd city district. Impressive structure made of three square facilities with work-shops and stadium. Windows on both floors gave into trees. One of the school premises is famous for hundreds of respirators, thrown around the floor. Looters found these gas masks in storage to get metal of value out of its construction. And the famous doll is the photographer’s good catch for Pripyat photos in the «Pripyat today» style.
PRIPYAT POLICE STATION
Four-storey building of Pripyat city internal affairs located within the west part of Pripyat. The complex includes garages with remains of transport, such as KrAZ and ZiL, and even bus and army armored vehicles. Although Pripyat was an exemplary Soviet city, there also were crime accidents over the years. Family disputes, fights, drunken disco punch-ups between locals and rural guests, robberies, and even a few murders. Preventive detention cells with bars, interrogation rooms with chairs nailed to the floor. After Pripyat was evacuated on April 27, 1986 (the Chornobyl accident) police station became a command center with alarm wires from all over the city.
One-story building in the eastern part of Pripyat, between former Pripyat Amusement Park and river port. It was an adored place of rest with the «Prometheus» monument nearby (it was then moved up to the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant to save its metal from looters. Square near the cinema, drown in green, once was a place to land helicopters during the liquidation period after the Chornobyl accident.
«Prometey» cinema roof still remains the title character with a scrap of neon lamps and a front wall covered with ceramic of different colors. One of the building’s sides is decorated with a mosaic composition, called Energy, created by a local sculptor in 1977. The Cinema lobby had three entrances with box offices, and two cafes (one has still multicolored stained glass) inside. WC with «We do not smoke» here sign and cinema hall for 420 seats itself. «Prometey» was the only cinema in Pripyat in 1986.
PRIPYAT CITY STADIUM
The central city stadium was built in the middle part of the 5-st district, near Pripyat Amusement Park. Its project draft implicated round tribune for 5000 visitors, and five stadium tracks, and had to be opened on May 1, 1986. Avangard stadium thereby has not witnessed any matches as to Chornobyl Nuclear Disaster. It was planned as a home field for the local «Budivelnik» football team, a three-time Kyiv region champion (back in the old days’ the team had to take guests within another smaller Pripyat stadium). Pripyat today’s infrastructure poorly reminds its purpose with remains of running tracks and tribunes, covered with 20-meters trees.
PRIPYAT HOSPITAL COMPLEX №126
Was the only comprehensive medical institution in Pripyat and included all departments of major importance: surgery, ambulatory, maternity department, morgue, infectious disease unit, etc. Some scavengers put out gynecological examination chairs outdoors at the Pripyat hospital. Dampness took advantage of the whole complex and the hallway especially (a tree in a pot is very symbolic). The whole building is wide open with medical tools, bottles (with 1986 manufacturer date on them), and gauze tampons on the floor. The very April 29, 1986 day witnessed 134 radiation-exposed firemen and Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant workers. Sadly remembered and creepy Pripyat hospital basement still remains fireman work clothes with mortal radiation environment. Some pieces of it, such as the inner helmet cloth, were put out on the first floor and now are keen on Chornobyl photos.
PRIPYAT CITY SQUARE
Presents some legendary buildings, well-known all over the world: Energetik Palace of culture, Polissya hotel, Residential buildings (White House), Polissya restaurant, City Administration, Shopping center, and others. Square is now giving away to trees and grass and its panoramic Pripyat street view is only available out of the Polissya hotel windows.
ENERGETIC PALACE OF CULTURE
One among 20 initially typical Palaces of culture in the Former USSR, which was, by the way, individually improved and became unique. In particular, the façade and lobby of Energetik were reconstructed and a swimming pool and some sports premises were added. Energetic was opened in 1970. The building’s face was stoned with white marble and improved with stained-glass windows. Its legendary Energetik characters were two-color illuminated. Buildings included a store, radio station, pharmacy, restaurant, sports clubs, literature club, disco, and cinema (the main one before the construction of the «Prometey» cinema). A huge sports hall fronted Pripyat Amusement Park.
Another legendary Pripyat today building was constructed with the regard to the roof observation site. On the first day after the Chornobyl accident, this high city point was used to operate helicopters, which dropped bags (with sand and anti-radiation materials) into the very heart of the 4-st reactor. There also was a draft plan to build a panoramic site café on the hotel’s roof. Most of the interior of the Polissya hotel and even the wooden floor were removed and buried within special decontamination facilities (radiation graveyards within Chornobyl Exclusion Zone). Today Polissya is among a few Pripyat dangerous buildings and entrance is forbidden. At the same time, a famous American photographer comes here annually to take Pripyat photos of the same room — his Chornobyl photos are known worldwide.
‘THE WHITE HOUSE’ RESIDENTIAL BUILDING
Nine-story former living building on the Pripyat Main City Square within the «Lenina» and «Kurchatova» streets crossroad. People of high position lived here, among the others, before the Chornobyl Nuclear Disaster. The first floor formerly included the «Raduga» shopping store, which became storage for different things from all over the city. Its entrance welcomes with a phone box. The building itself is in emergency condition – its upper floors may collapse in the next few years. Roof formerly had big characters: «Glory to Lenin, Glory to Party».
PRIPYAT CITY ADMINISTRATION
Four-story buildings which also included the city communism parry committee and the City Board of Education. The radiation symbol and doorplate remind its after-disaster mission – Complex to maintain Chornobyl Nuclear disaster Crisis Management.
When the Chornobyl Disaster happened, Pripyat Amusement park was within plans to be opened on May 1, 1986. Therefore, except for some pilot launches, its famous Pripyat Ferris wheel (another Symbol of the Chornobyl Exclusion Zone) was never in operation. Park was another place for helicopter landing after the Chornobyl accident. Pripyat Amusement Park still contains benches, and decorative wooden bridges, which were a part of the whole amusement complex.
The former nice and tidy square was now drowned in the green. A period before the Chornobyl Nuclear Disaster witnessed soviet «Raketa», «Kometa», and «Meteor» passenger cruiser bots doing trips to Kyiv. Pripyat café was among the favorite places of leisure for citizens near the Pripyat Amusement Park – for after-dark walks, meetings, and ice cream. River station ramp is now water-logged with the view for boat-café remains float.
Chornobyl Exclusion Zone is one of the most sophisticated and desired places of interest in the whole world. Pripyat Ukraine is still a mystery city with more questions than answers. If you have the ability and interest, be brave and come to visit this extraordinary place.