Chernobyl Zone & Pripyat 2017
Main checkpoint to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone for tourists, which defines the 30-km Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Zone of Alienation. Informational boards in Ukrainian and English include Chernobyl radiation map and rules. Photos and video of KPP and its guards are forbidden. Here is the only convenient WC for miles in Chernobyl Zone. Dytiatky is both entrance and exit checkpoint with radiation control for people and transport.
Decontaminated former region center 18-km far from Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant (CNPP). Today most of Zone stаff (up to 3000 people) lives here in Chernobyl city. Radiation exposure and nuclear environment here is within normal limits (apart from some «dirty» spots, background radiation in Chernobyl city is equal to any big city in the world). And only above-ground pipelines remind that soil here is not allowed to be excavated. Chernobyl city has its own active infrastructure: dining-rooms (canteens), 5 shops, post office, church, household facilities for the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone staff (ex-houses), medical point, hotel and drinking-houses (places «of importance» in the evening). Most of the Chernobyl city houses are former private residences.
CHERNOBYL WORMWOOD STAR MEMORIAL COMPLEX
Is a memorial in the very center of the Chernobyl city, near the former «Ukraina» cinema (storks on its wall symbolize the national tragedy of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster). Chernobyl Wormwood was constructed and ceremonially opened in 2011. a) The ‘Trumpeting Angel’ sculpture made of metallic wire. b) Another memorial made of granite and marble to honor Chernobyl heroes — Chernobyl liquidators of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. c) Stone map of the Chernobyl 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 evacuation of 130 000 former residents of the Chernobyl region.
CHERNOBYL FIRE STATION MEMORIAL
14 Firemen from this station were the first to combat the fire on the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the early morning of April 26, 1986. Memorial to Chernobyl heroes sign state: «To those, who saves the world» honors both firemen and all the liquidators of the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster». We can see the sculptures of firemen, doctor and radiation technician — first Chernobyl liquidators. This monument was constructed by 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 Chernobyl city pipelines, fire-hose and valves are real ones. After all works memorial was put off the fire station to the road and has become one of the symbols of Chernobyl today interest.
SCRAPPED VEHICLES PARK
Another memorial in the open air, next to dire station monument in Chernobyl city. It presents transport and special engineered vehicles, which were involved in the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster liquidation. These particular units were in operation within the most radiation dirty sites after Chernobyl accident – near and on the roof of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. Despite decades of the Cold war preparations, USSR technicians had to engineer sophisticated technical hybrids to have access to the most problem sites in Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. Army armored vehicles protected people inside. We can see unique scavenger, designed on the basis of Soviet lunar cover (one of four, involved in Chernobyl Zone). Modernized German police mine robot, which shortly broke down within Chernobyl 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 former region council center in Chernobyl Exclusion Zone (included 3 villages) came from Ukrainian archaism “kopa” – means “community”. Before the Chernobyl Accident, Kopacahi had a population of 1114 inhabitants with school, library, post-office, cultural center, church and machine-elevator station nearby. It was the nearest village to the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plthe ant on the Chernobyl 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 – Chernobyl heroes firemen lived here in tents in the first days of the Chernobyl accident. Despite extremely high radiation exposure, Kopachi residents were evacuated only on May 3, a week the after Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster. Kopachi village was mostly buried into 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 former kinder garden (Chernobyl today one of the most visited site). Also World War Two memorial near the road. Inside premises of the Kopachi kinder garden is a place of common tourist interest with furniture, child metal beds, toys, books remained (multiple Chernobyl 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 Chernobyl fish farm on the bank of Chernobyl cooling pond. It performed active work in Chernobyl Exclusion Zone until 2008. Facilities were used by radiobiologists to study the influence of ionizing radiation and gamma radiation on living beings such as Chernobyl fish and fur animals (fed with Chernobyl fish from the cooling pond). We see laboratory, incubation premises with probes of caviar, tiny fish in test glasses remained. Pond bank today gives a perspective view on Chernobyl fish capture constructions. Few tourists know about former Nagorci village on the bottom of the canal (people obtained accommodations in Pripyat during the construction of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant).
CHERNOBYL COOLING TOWER
Along with the construction of the 5th and 6th Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant reactors, two giant cooling towers was raised on a site 2-km far from. It was planned to be used to cool water after the steam process in rethe actor, as an addition to the Chernobyl cooling pond to serve with 12 potential plant reactors. The bigger one cooling tower is 120 meters high.
BRIDGE OVER THE POND. TRAGEDY MEMORIAL. CHERNOBYL CATFISH
There is a famous train bridge over the cooling pond with life in full swing below – Chernobyl fish and giant Chernobyl catfish eat tourist bread with pleasure. Photos of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant are forbidden from this perspective. Across the road stands one of the symbols of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone – «Prometheus statue» (before Chernobyl accident it was located in Pripyat neat «Prometey» cinema). Next is Disaster fighters (Chernobyl Liquidators) of the Chernobyl tragedy memorial with names of two accidentally died station workers and first firemen — first Chernobyl heroes. Bell in the center of composition has two-century history and was brought here from cha urch in Chernobyl city.
CHERNOBYL NUCLEAR POWER PLANT SITE
Monument of marble and granite honors Chernobyl liquidators, and constructors of the Chernobyl Sarcophagus («Shelter» Object) – it was opened autumn 2006 on the 20th anniversary. Six granite plates, three of which contains 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 – build up to the original 1986 checkpoint. The second floor includes station miniature and 270* observation balcony. On the left – ISF-1 (Interim Storage Facility), which contains spent nuclear fuel out of 1-2-3 Chernobyl reactors. For three decades background radiation near the monument was 400-500 micro rentgens and after November 2016 and finish of the «Shelter Object-2» («Arka») safe confinement – 120-150 mcr/ hr. Today the 4th Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant reactor is hidden under the new construction.
PRIPYAT CITY SIGN
One of the most aware symbols of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone is a memorable Pripyat Sign (city limit sign), is located on the crossroads only 1.2 km far the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. It reflects the year 1970 – which symbolizes the foundation stone of Pripyat (Ukraine), put February 4, 1970. Next to the Pripyat sign, on the roadside is a warning radiation symbol, determining limits of buried Red forest Chernobyl. In 1987 dozens ha of most radiation contaminated Red forest (was on the way of the major nuclear fallout after Chernobyl accident on April 26, 1986) were buried into trenches, with new trees planted above it. The Pripyat sign itself was thoroughly decontaminated, but few meters aside and background radiation is unhealthy high.
CHERNOBYL-2. RUSSIAN WOODPECKER
Former Soviet secret military city, hidden 6-km aside the main road in the forest, marked as children’s camp on the old maps. Two security perimeters for 1000 men military reservation. The outer one includes 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 Chernobyl 2 includes the infrastructure of Telecommunication center and 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 Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant to maintain a great amount of electricity for service and coasted much more than the Station itself. Indicative air interferes, which caused troubles to the European civil aviation, provided the official name as «Russian Woodpecker». Information about Duga Radar broke into the world only after the fall of the Soviet Union. Today two giant receiver of 30 000 tones weight impresses tourist. The bigger one is 500 meters long and 150 high and the smaller one – 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 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 one on of the levels), crashed post boxes. Almost every apartment is available to go into – mess, furniture and wallpapers in the floor (rolled over the years by means of gravity and damp).
The roof of these 16-floor buildings provides amazing all-around panoramic Pripyat street view and Chernobyl 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, famous Pripyat Ferris Wheel (Chernobyl Ferris Wheel) in Pripyat Amusement Park, Central Square, Pripyat Hospital, stadium, schools, and kinder gardens – the city is drowned in green color — open for creative Chernobyl 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 Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster Lazurny was decontaminated and used by Chernobyl liquidators up to 1998 when the 3 reactor repair period caused permanently stop hot water supply in Pripyat.
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 former sports stopwatch on the wall. The frontage of Lazurny is famous for another watch – tourists and photographers move hands of a clock one and once again to take Chernobyl 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 Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster. It also became the first building in the city, part of which 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 among few dangerous buildings in Pripyat.
Break structure building is in relatively good conditions, revealing typical soviet school design. Among its peculiarities – music class next to a sports hall (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 mean for pictures of Chernobyl.
Was build near Lazurny Pripyat swimming-pool within 3th city district. Impressive structure made of three square facilities with work-shops and stadium. Windows ob both floors gave into trees. One of the school premises is famous for hundreds of respirators, threw around the floor. Looters one found these gas masks in storage to get metal of value out its construction. And the famous doll is photographers’ good catch for Pripyat photos in «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, as KrAZ and ZiL, even bus and army armored vehicle. 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, even a few murders. Preventive detention cells with bars, interrogation rooms with chairs nailed to the floor. After Pripyat was evacuated April 27, 1986 (Chernobyl 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 adored place of rest with «Prometheus» monument nearby (it was then moved up to Chernobyl 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 Chernobyl accident.
«Prometey» cinema roof still remains title characters with a scrap of neon lamps and a front wall covered with ceramic of different colors. One of the building sides decorated with mosaic composition, called Energy, created by a local sculptor in 1977. Cinema lobby had three entrances with box offices, 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
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, five stadium tracks, and had to be opened on May 1, 1986. Avangard stadium thereby has not witnessed any matches as to Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster. It was planned as a home field for local «Budivelnik» football team, three-time Kyiv region champion (back in old days team had to take guests within another smaller Pripyat stadium). Pripyat today 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 chair outdoors the Pripyat hospital. Dampness took the advantage over the whole complex and the hallway especially (tree in a pot is very symbolic). The whole building is wide open with medicals tools, bottles (with 1986 manufacturer date on it), gauze tampons on the floor. The very April 29, 1986 day witnessed 134 radiation-exposed firemen and Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant workers. Sadly remembered and creepy Pripyat hospital basement still remains fireman work clothes with mortal radiation environment. Some pieces of it, as inner helmet cloth, were put out to the first floor and now are keen on Chernobyl 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.
ENERGETIK PALACE OF CULTURE
One among 20 initially typical Palaces of cultural in Former USSR, which was, by the way, individually improved and became unique. In particular, façade and lobby of Energetik were reconstructed and swimming-pool and some sports premises were added. Energetic was opened in 1970. Building face was stoned with white marble and improved with stained-glass windows. Its legendary Energetik characters were two-color illuminated. Buildings included store, radio station, pharmacy, restaurant, sports clubs, literature club, disco and cinema (the main one before the construction of «Prometey» cinema). Huge sports hall fronted to Pripyat Amusement Park.
Another legendary Pripyat today building, constructed with the regard to the roof observation site. In the first day after the Chernobyl 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 panoramic site café on the hotel’s roof. Most of the interior of the Polissya hotel and even wooden floor were removed and buried within special decontamination facilities (radiation graveyards within Chernobyl Exclusion Zone). Today Polissya is among few Pripyat dangerous buildings and entrance is forbidden. At the same time, famous American photographer comes here annually to take Pripyat photos of the same room — his Chernobyl 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 Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster. The first floor formerly included «Raduga» shopping store, which became storage for different things from all over the city. Its entrance welcomes with phone-box. The building itself is of the 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 city communism parry committee and City Board of Education. Radiation symbol and doorplate remind its after-disaster mission – Complex to maintain Chernobyl Nuclear disaster Crisis Management.
When the Chernobyl Nuclear 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 Chernobyl Exclusion Zone) was never in operation. Park was another place for helicopter landing after the Chernobyl accident. Pripyat Amusement Park still contains benches, decorative wooden bridges, which were a part of the whole amusement complex.
Former nice and tidy square now drowned into the green. A period before the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster witnessed soviet «Raketa», «Kometa», «Meteor» passenger cruiser bots doing trips to Kyiv. Pripyat café was among 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.
Chernobyl 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 ability and interest, be brave and come to visit this extraordinary place.