‘Privyet’ from Chernobyl, or almost anyway, as I am currently stood on the border of the 30 km exclusion zone alienating this radioactive region of northern Ukraine. You may be wondering why I am stood here at all, but those of you interested in what has been called ‘Dark Tourism’ will completely understand as to why I am here.
Yes, this isn’t a trip to a beautiful paradise island or an architecturally beautiful European City, but an adventure into a region that has been cordoned off to the public for over 30 years since the nuclear disaster that occurred here in 1986.
I will post several blogs about my adventure through Chernobyl and of course the main city of the region, Pripyat. I will include many photos of this ghostly abandoned region, including maps of my journey and the routes I took. All starting here at the 30 km border post in Dytyatky.
That border post that I am patiently waiting is part of the ‘Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Zone of Alienation’ which was put up by the Soviet Union following the events in 1986 and I am wondering just what to expect once I am allowed entry following the check on my passport by Ukrainian Officials here.
What does a real radioactively ridden ghost city look like? the atmosphere, the eeriness, and possibly what horror it could hold…
So a bit of a background on what happened here in Chernobyl incase you are completely oblivious to the events of 1986. I will also go into more detail of what happened here throughout my future blog posts.
In summary, the ‘Chernobyl Disaster’ occurred when a safety test was carried out late at night on the 25th April 1986, but when issues arose and the result of the test ended in ‘uncontrolled reaction conditions’ it caused a huge steam explosion and due to that explosion, the burning nuclear graphite escaped into the air and literally rained down on the region with radioactive material.
The radiation in the local area of Chernobyl and Pripyat as you can imagine was immense, but the radiation precipitated as far as over the Western part of the USSR and Europe. This may give you more of an idea as to why, even 32 years on, there is an exclusion zone as far out as 30 km from the point of disaster, reactor 4 of the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant.
So now back to the exclusion checkpoint where I am waiting and finally they have brought back my passport and cleared me for entry into the zone of alienation, but this wouldn’t be my last border control point as now I have a 20 km drive onto the next checkpoint which sits at 10 km from the point of disaster. This exclusion point though was slightly quicker than the original 30 km zone border and finally I was past the borders and onto the adventure…
The area inside of the 10 km zone is one of the most radioactively contaminated areas in the world, so this is not exactly your normal tourism visit and some precautions are recommended such as a face mask and to be careful what you touch!
En-route to Chernobyl and its nuclear reactors I stopped off at a very small village and its store, and this was the first view of what was to come on this trip. This was a village that had been completely abandoned since I imagine the event of the Chernobyl disaster. It looked to me like a scene straight from a zombie apocalypse, something like a set for ‘The Walking Dead’! Take a look below.
After the stop-off, it was now back into the van and down a long straight road between the trees that would take me into the town of Chernobyl. It seemed to go on for a long time but then finally I arrived at a white brick monument, with some Soviet industrial art and Cyrillic text stating ‘Chernobyl’.
So yes, I can now seriously say, Welcome to Chernobyl.To be continued…