Apr 01

Pripyat in Pictures (Chernobyl Exclusion Zone)

On April 25, 1986, the city of Pripyat, Ukraine had a population of 50,000 people.  Many of them employees of the Chernobyl Nuclear plant and their families.  Within a couple days, everyone would be evacuated after the April 26 accident.  The pictures here show the impact of 30 years of desertion on the city of Pripyat as seen on my 2-day tour to Chernobyl.

Soviet symbols on street lamps welcomed our visit.

Trees were starting to grow on the steps of this school.

Soviet military murals adorned the wall of a school


Before going into any buildings, our guide showed us the walls of this school. Technically it is banned to enter any buildings in Prypiat but we would be entering buildings today but this is the risk. Notice the desks and chalkboards on the 2nd and 3rd story classrooms.

Inside the hospital, lots of debris.

We saw many stairwells like this, with plaster bits all over the floor and steps.


Two beds in the hospital. This is one of my favorite pictures.

A baby bed and lone chair in the hospital. Nice afternoon light.

Baby Cribs in the hospital

The operating room

Hospital waiting room. Notice the dead plant in the pot.

The highest reading we saw on the Geiger counter during the whole trip at 47.10. This was a contaminated glove that the guide knew was there. Most of the two day tour, the reading was 0.12.

Inside a pleasant cafe by the lake.

Beautiful stained glass. Some of the panels have fallen out or been punched out by visitors.

The musical hall. Mosaic tiles from the art outside are starting to crumble.

Inside the recital hall. The wooden floor in here is so rotten, this will be inaccessible within a few years.

View from the roof of an 8-story hotel. The building with the smoke stake is reactor 4 and the shed-like building is the sarcaphagus that will eventually entomb it.

Mural in the athletic center.

View of the famous ferris wheel from the gymnasium.

Proof of life. The gymnasium had a small leak, and rain falls to this spot on the gymnasium floor. Where there is water, the wood rots and small plants start to grow. Eventually the town will be overtaken.

Inside the gymnasium. The indoor soccer goal still stands.

Bumper cars at the amusement park of Prypiat. This amusement park was supposed to open on May 1, 1986. It never opened.

Another ride at the amusement park. The wooden parks of the ride are almost completely gone.

The famous ferris wheel. I was surprised how tall it was.

Behind the amusement park, I took a picture of this path in the “woods”…

…only to discover the “woods” was the local football field and this was the bleachers overlooking the field.

Another gymnasium. I can only assume people dug up the floor boards.

The competitive swimming pool. All of the windows were blown out or broken.

The starting blocks at the swimming pool.

Inside a school, someone had fun posing a doll and a gas mask.

100’s of gas masks discarded in a school, probably left behind by the “liquidators”, or men that cleaned the earth after the disaster to remove the radiation.

Inside the school, metal bars that divided the cafeteria from the kitchen.


Fascinating halls of the school.

More hallways with some great afternoon light. It was hard to not take good photos!

Stalagtites in the school.

They were forming form this drain too.

View from the roof of a 17-story building. You could see how large the town was, and how close the town is to the plant.

Mailboxes in the 17-story apartment building.

Outside the police office.

My friend & I in the holding cell.

Abandoned bus.

More abandoned equipment. Too contaminated to use after the accident.

Pripyat was a great experience.  It was the first time I experimented with black and white photography.  Some of these buildings will be inaccessible in the near future, so get there if you want to see these cool sites!

Would you ever visit?




    • Jessica on April 2, 2017 at 9:55 pm
    • Reply

    Wow! Great photos

    • Con on April 12, 2017 at 4:34 pm
    • Reply

    Great Pictures, Lisa. The picture of the doll with the gas mask is poignant and creepy. Did you see the vehicle graveyard? I’ve seen pictures of the fields containing the contaminated vehicles and transport helicopters, acres and acres of decaying military and construction equipment.

    1. We saw some vehicles near the police office and the nearby garage, but limited to a couple dozen heavy equipment vehicles, buses, etc. Didn’t see any helicopters 🙁

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