Chernobyl should not be confused with a dead city Prupyat. It has a long and nice history being one of the oldest cities of Rus’. It was first mentioned back in 1193. By the beginning of the XXth century it had population of seventeen thousand people.
The city was named “Chernobyl” after a plant growing there – mugwort which is pronounced in Russian like “chernobylnik”.
The first impression of the city – it’s not dead! Its streets are cleaned, lawns – cut, five-storey houses have no “eye-sockets” of empty windows. Even buses go from Kiev to its bus station (you should have a permit to use them though). The city still has some functioning shops with a range of goods like in a village, it has all community facilities, a hotel, a canteen and much more.
At the bus station.
Smooth roads and fresh marking.
The city has a lot of flowers. To the right is a hotel – two-storey house built in 1967 where one can stay overnight for 10 bucks. It is like any other hotel of the Soviet past – cheap and cold and dirty, with no hot water, but with perfectly clean linen. Nearby is a canteen/cafe with a waitress in a national Ukrainian dress.
Even if flats are empty they are not plundered.
Still many buildings are abandoned.
Empty house of communication.
There are no many people in the streets. No children and old people at all. Only about 10% are women. Breathless silence at night – no dog will ever bark, no car will make any sound…
Former movie-theater “Ukraine” (1964) became a grocery store later and today it’s a museum. What babies will contaminated storks bring?
Wormwood memorial was created in 2011, to the 25th anniversary of the catastrophe.
Locals do not like it much – they say it’s not informative enough.
Avenue of the dead villages. There were 231 settlements on the Ukrainian side of the Zone.
Mailboxes where one can symbolically send a letter to any of the abandoned settlements.
The boat and a couple of monuments brought from the abandoned settlements.
The black stone, cranes and replicas of fuel elements – the monument devoted to the Japanese companions in misfortune.
Many houses bear warning tablets “Do not enter! The house belongs to the master”.
This part of the city is really abandoned and being swallowed by the woods. The houses are still in a good condition.
Some houses are very old. This one to the left is dated 1920.
One ore. A school?
Houses, flats, papers…
The biggest building of Old Chernobyl – the overgrown synagogue built in the nineteenth century. 70% of the city population used to be Jews then.
Beautiful details, tablet “Lenin Street, 26”, red star instead of Star of Judah – there was subsequently a military registration and enlistment office in the building of the synagogue.
There was a House of Culture in the house of qahal. About 1200 citizens of Chernobyl live in Israel.
Elias church founded in 1749 and reconstructed in 1878.
It was restored in 1999 and it still functions.
Bells of the church.
The bell of sorrow. the should be a nice view of Pripyat from here, but everything is overgrown.
The road to the river port.
The cemetery of ships. Each year their number is decreasing. They are cut into scrap metal (illegally), they sink and get broken by the ice.
There is a shipyard nearby.
The monument to firemen and liquidators of the accident founded in 1996, to the tenth anniversary of the catastrophe.
It was not made by professional sculptors but the firemen themselves. They used real implements which were concreted. These faces don’t look perfect from the artistic point of view but they’re very convincing. The liquidators depicted what they felt themselves moving towards their invisible death.
One of the liquidators felt bad. The symproms of acute radiation sickness – headache and uncontrollable vomiting. A medical worker is rushing to help him.
So many people died, so many became disabled.
One more monument to liquidators, but another type of liquidators.
These vehicles were the main transport in the Zone in the first months after the accident. They also actively used helicopters, some of them were used as “flying canteens”, they brought fresh food to the field bases.
Industrial robots like this were used mainly on the roof of the forth power unit, they building the sarcophagus. They are highly contaminated so one should not come close.
Luckily Pripyat had a factory that made such vehicles.
They look like big toys.