On the 26th of April, 1986, the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, located near the town of Prypiat, sent forth a plume of radioactive fallout. The plume was birthed from an explosion that occurred in reactor number four at the Chernobyl plant. Since that explosion, some 350,400 people have been evacuated and resettled from areas around the site, which have been deemed too contaminated for human survival. With so many people leaving, it is no surprise that most of the towns have been completely abandoned. Prypiat, the closest town to the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, is the subject of today’s ghost town review.
Prypiat, with Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the background.
The birth and death of Prypiat stands only 16 years apart from each other 1970 to 1986. It was originally founded to house the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant workers. In 1979, with the increase of workers, Prypiat was officially named a city. Before the explosion and subsequent evacuation, some 50,000 people lived there, with expectations of housing at least 78,000. Prypiat was an extremely large city.
Panoramic view of Prypiat.
Since the evacuation of Prypiat, the city has been ransacked, vandalized, and turned into a pseudo tourist location. The idea of touring a radioactive ghost town may seem strange, but David C. Haines, a New York entrepreneur, runs a business dedicated solely to providing guided tours through Prypiat. The guides ensure that you are safe from any potential wild animals or thieves, and they take you through almost every building in the city. If I had the chance, you better believe I’d be there right now.
You may be surprised to learn that you may have already seen Prypiat. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, a popular video game for the Xbox360, PC, PS3, and Mac, features two extensive levels in Prypiat. Other various novels, movies, songs, and artworks have been based off of the decaying mysticism Prypiat seems to hold. Honestly, even the mere sight of pictures based in Prypiat brings a sense of dread and terror, knowing that mankind did this to itself. Today, Prypiat stands as a testament to mankind’s own faults and errors.
Prypiat carousel, which can be seen in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.
As a parting note, here is the official statement released to the citizens of Prypiat before the evacuation occurred:
“For the attention of the residents of Prypiat! The City Council informs you that due to the accident at Chernobyl Power Station in the city of Prypiat the radioactive conditions in the vicinity are deteriorating. The Communist Party, its officials and the armed forces are taking necessary steps to combat this. Nevertheless, with the view to keep people as safe and healthy as possible, the children being top priority, we need to temporarily evacuate the citizens in the nearest towns of Kiev Oblast. For these reasons, starting from April 27, 1986 2 p.m. each apartment block will be able to have a bus at its disposal, supervised by the police and the city officials. It is highly advisable to take your documents, some vital personal belongings and a certain amount of food, just in case, with you. The senior executives of public and industrial facilities of the city has decided on the list of employees needed to stay in Prypiat to maintain these facilities in a good working order. All the houses will be guarded by the police during the evacuation period. Tovarishchs, (Comrades) leaving your residences temporarily please make sure you have turned the lights, electrical equipment and water off and shut the windows. Please keep calm and orderly in the process of this short-term evacuation.”
Map of Chernobyl radiation. The red areas were hit the hardest with radioactive fallout.