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Group tour: $85

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one person - $450
two persons - $230
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five persons - $140
six persons - $125

A Trip Through the Dead Town

I do love me a good old ghost city with its empty streets and winds singing weirdly sounding songs. My truest fascination started years ago and ever since acquiring it I have been extremely interested in towns that became abandoned due to a catastrophe or slow economic decay.

The calamity that ended the history of the town in question occurred on April 26, 1986. This is a date known to nearly every single person living in the Eastern Europe. Lives of millions of people all over the world changed after a nuclear reactor of the Chernobyl NPP exploded. This incident gave birth to a terrifying cloud of radioactive dust that started moving all around the world. After the incident the town turned into a wasteland.

There are various estimates of how many people suffered from the catastrophe and some reports indicate that nearly a million cancer cases all over the world were directly and indirectly caused by the incident.

My obsession with dead cities tingled eagerly after I found multiple pictures of Pripyat as it stands today. When I found out that one could order a tour through the town and witness the ruins with one’s own eyes, I knew where I’m going to go. I planned this small adventure as a part of my long trip through the territories of Eastern Europe.

When I arrived to Kiev, I immediately headed to the Independence Square where all participants of the trip were told to be at a certain time. 20 men and women all dressed like sportsmen, soldiers, and hunters stood out from the crowd. The first checkpoint was at the border to the zone where local law enforcement officers were checking papers.

During the whole excursion, a lengthy yet informative and genuinely interesting DVD explained us the history of the incident and the period before the explosion that irreversibly changed the world and the whole country.

Pripyat 1970 sign

The town of Pripyat was founded in 1970 and its main purpose was to house the workmen of Chernobyl. At the time of the accident, almost 50,000 people were living there. In true Soviet Union fashion, the streets were typically named Lenin Avenue, International Friendship Street, Heroes of Stalingrad Street.

It’s hard to put into words exactly how it felt walking around Pripyat, and even now I don’t think I’ve completely managed to digest the experience.

Part of you just feels like you’re walking around a building site with smashed windows, books thrown everywhere, broken floors and ceilings. It’s impossible to understand the enormity of what happened.

Yet the other part of you starts to wonder how this town looked before the incident. You imagine the people going about their everyday lives, happy and completely unaware of the devastation that was about to occur.

This used to be their home, and now it’s just a graveyard of past lives and memories.

Our tour of Pripyat took us around apartment blocks, and hotels, to the community centre, the swimming pool, school and amusement park.

Pripyat apartment block

Hotel in Pripyat

The Pripyat Energetic community centre, which housed a theatre, library, and dancing room.

A faded mural on the wall at the community centre

We stepped outside and went to visit Pripyat’s famous amusement park. I found it interesting to learn that the amusement park actually opened on the day of the incident. It was used to calm down and distract the residents of Pripyat whilst they were waited to be evacuated, so it was only ever used for one day.

The famous Pripyat ferris wheel

Dodgems at Pripyat

I actually found visiting Pripyat’s swimming pool the most harrowing and unsettling experience of the tour. Just something about wandering around, looking in the changing rooms and seeing old swimming pool equipment lying around. For a moment I just stood there and closed my eyes and imagined what it must have been like 25 years ago – full of children laughing and playing without a care in the world.

Noticeboard outside the swimming pool

We then got to explore one of the schools of Pripyat.


As a final stop we drove to the sarcophagus of reactor 4 – a massive concrete structure built around the reactor to prevent the radiation from being released into the atmosphere.


After a quick test to confirm that I was not radioactive, we were free to leave the exclusion zone and that concluded my tour of Chernobyl!

When I got back to my hostel at the end of the day, I wasn’t sure how I felt, and I’m struggling to put it into words now. It was an unsettling and uncomfortable day, and I felt strangely numb by the end of it.

Over the following weeks and months I definitely feel that it helped to put my life in perspective, and now whenever I’m feeling down and grumpy about something, I think back to the people of Pripyat who lost everything that day. Before I took the tour I read the following quote online “If you choose to visit these places you will never be the same person as you once were” and I think that sums it up perfectly.

A few days ago the Ukraine government cancelled all tours to Chernobyl, and it will no longer be possible for anyone to visit the site. I’m glad I got the opportunity to see it for myself and I hope my photos have given you an insight into what it’s like to wander around the ghost town of the worst nuclear fallout site in history.[1]

[1] During the preparation of the article were used the materials of the site https://www.neverendingfootsteps.com/2011/09/22/chernobyl-tour/