Poleski National Park was founded in 1988 on the territory of the Gomel region, Belarus. Its area is over 215 thousand ha. Over 1200 types of plants grow here which constitutes two thirds of total Belorussian flora. The area remains under strict protection and any kind of economic activity is prohibited here providing tourists with a rare chance to see a piece of wild nature in the heart of Europe.
The Chernobyl disaster that occurred on April 26, 1986 in Ukraine was the largest technogenic catastrophe of the 20th century and affected mostly Ukraine, Belarus and Russia. The Gomel region belongs to the exclusion area around the Chernobyl nuclear power station. The most contaminated from the Chernobyl disaster zone forms the mentioned above Poleski National Park.The journey was started from the Belaya Soroka village which is located at the very border of Belarus and Ukraine at a distance of about 6 km from the ill-fated town of Pripyat (the site of Chernobyl nuclear plant location). Do you see the white plate behind? It denotes the beginning of the Ukrainian territory.
The Belorussians are good at taking fire-prevention measures. It is natural as radioactive forest fires can be another total disaster. Tulips are still growing next to abandoned houses.
Photo paper was found in the house of an amateur photographer.
Some houses are occupied by wild animals like bears, boars and roe deers.
The table points out there used to be a school here.
Crosses are installed at the place of a church destroyed by the Germans.
An improvised church. We haven’t found any real church during our journey.
A fire tower topped with a raven nest.
There are about 40 of similar fire towers on the territory. They are equipped with wireless communications and cameras.
Seeds spread by the wind get inside the semi-destroyed cow barns giving way to trees.
The pictures are drawn by the workers of the National Park. They are usually accompanied by such motto as “Protect forests from fire!” or “Forest is our home”.
The rusty boat misses a huge navigational river that used to be here.
Some houses are still in a good condition.
That’s what utility rooms next to the houses looked like.
Every small village of the region had a school, a club, a shop and a medical post of its own. “Map of the “Pripyat” state farm”
The wooden block with a hollow inside was widely used for attraction of bees and honey collection.
Remnants of steel wire that was used to enclose the area stretching for 10 km around the site where the disaster took place.
Flood bed of the Pripyat river.
Several fire stations are located in different parts of the National Park.
The houses are occupied by the workers of the Park.
Such decontamination stations are situated in every part of the Park.
The stone says that till the year of 1988 244 people had inhabited the village.
“We’ll never forget you, our dearest school”
“I have come to my dear class”
A class consisted of 8-10 kids.
The Masany Research Station is the closest site to the Chernobyl power station where radioactive and ecological monitoring of the National Park is performed. The table states that both entry and exit are forbidden due to high radioactivity. Fines account for 10 to 50 basic units.
Masany Research Station.
A monument to the warriors who participated in World War II and freed the Motherland from the German forces.
“We are eager to implement the ideas of the Communist Party”.
During the journey dosages of thousands microroentgens were detected according to the meter.
Another village named Krasnoselye.
Wild boars in the bush.
Someone shot at the table that forbids hunting.
The Braginsk region.
The town of Hoiniki. Fences surrounding the houses are painted only blue or green.
Verhniy Slobodsk Forestry
The radioactive zone is over to the left of the Braginsk region. Those villages are inhabited and fields are cultivated.
Propaganda for fire fighting.
“Enemy of the forest is fire”
The buildings of the Solnetchniy village that was well-equipped and built by 1981. “Fire in the forest – calamity”
Wall paper in the flat of a 5-storey building.
Fuel storage unit.
A monument to the abandoned villages in the town of Bragin.
Location: Gomel Region, Belarus