Mystic Chernobyl is a route in Ukraine that revisits the Chernobyl Power Plant accident in 1986.
Follow us on a dive into an unique urban landscape that a catastrophe has made it stop in time and is now engulfed by nature.
The area of Chernobyl has an infamous history following the events of 1986. For nearly three decades, the whole areas as been considered too dangerous to be accessed by civilians. But in the recent years, after a new cement protection was successfully put in place to cover the Chernobyl exploded reactor, the danger is much lower and legal visits are allowed and organized by state institutions. The exposure to radiation in the allowed paths are no higher than the levels that one gets in airline flights.
For information about the Chernobyl exclusion zone and visits, check the info at State Agency of Ukraine on Exclusion Zone Management. Avoid to enter illegally in the area.
All photos used in this post can be browsed in large size in the post Mystic Chernobyl – Gallery in the section Galleries. If you are interested in purchasing one of the photos, the author maintains his portfolio in his website: gustavoliveira.se. The photos shown here are in these travel series: Chernobyl Exclusion Zone pt. I and Pripyat:Chernobyl Exclusion Zone pt. II.
- Region: Europe
- Country: Ukraine
- Duration: 5 days
- Time of year: April 2017
- Distance: approx. 400 km
- Route: start and end in Kiev
Entering Chernobyl Exclusion Zone
Enter the area and visit the city of Pripyat. See the power plant ChNPP at a distance.
Kopachi / Duga Radar
Village and the radar.
Chernobyl village with most memorials.
Further village still in exclusion zone.
Highlights – Part 1
Highlights – Part 2
To explore the places of this route in an interactive map, follow the post Mystic Chernobyl – Maps in the section Maps.
Built in 1970 to accommodate the workers of the Chernobyl power plant and their families, Pripyat was the largest inhabited place within the exclusion zone with approximately 50 thousand people. The average age of its population was between 24 and 34 years old and the city had several schools, sport-halls, hospitals, a hotel and even a supermarket, yacht club and a coffee place by the lake, which in Soviet standards was considered a luxury. This, amongst other things, served as a magnet to the brilliant young minds. The city itself was considered by many as an example and prime-model of a well-functioning soviet city. The government at the time even held tours for foreigners so they could see and experience how perfect the Union was.
The nuclear disaster took place 1:26AM, Saturday 26th of April 1986.
On the following morning and day life went on as usual. People sunbathing, children playing at playgrounds. Just a regular and warm Saturday of spring, besides the smoke coming out of the power plant, which was noticed by some. The government took more than 48 hours after the disaster to start evacuating Pripyat. Almost a thousand buses were used and people could only carry with them belongings enough for 3 days, since they were told that they could come back later. That obviously never happened.
With the evacuation organized in a rush and the danger of taking belongings that had received high level of radiation, the city was left in a state that we can see details of life until the day before the accident. This include schools with its tables, chairs and books, also shops with TVs up for selling, amusement parks. Walking through these remains is an incredible time travel experience.
Chernobyl Exclusion Zone
The Chernobyl exclusion zone consists not only of the well-known city of Prypiat and the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. It encompasses an area with 30Km of radius with the center being the power plant. This totalizes an area of 2600 square kilometers which covers more than a 120 settlements, farms and cities in both territories of Ukraine and Belarus. All of them had to be evacuated after the disaster and some even destroyed as for example the village of Kopachi, which was completely put down with exception of its Kindergarten that still remains.
In this part we cover the village of Zhalyssia, an abandoned farm, a bit of Chernobyl village and Kopachi’s kindergarten. In 2015 an old lady self-settler who refused to abandon her house in Zhalyssia died of old-age with almost 90 years of age. To visit these places feels like a time-travel back to April 1986. Nature has taken over everything.
Next post in this series: Mystic Chernobyl – Part 2
Highlights – Part 2