The Abandoned City of Pripyat
In the 1970s, the town of Pripyat, less than 3 kilometers away from the reactor, was constructed for the plant’s personnel. Once a beautiful town by Soviet standards, its 50,000 inhabitants were evacuated 36 hours after the accident. Today a chilling ghost town, its buildings bear witness to the hasty departure. Dolls are scattered on the floors of abandoned kindergartens; children’s cots are littered with shreds of mattresses and pillows; and in a gymnasium, where teens once trained, floors rot and paint peels. Amidst the surrounding decay, decades after the catastrophe, nature reclaims the town: trees grow through broken windows, and grass pushes up through the cracks in dormant roads that once were glorious promenades – but the town remains unfit for human habitation for hundreds of years to come.
A rooftop view from the former Polissya Hotel in the center of Pripyat shows the proximity of the ill-fated Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant to this former home of 50,000. Today, Pripyat stands a ghost town over-run by nature. [Pripyat, Ukraine 2005]
Trees grow in a Pripyat school abandoned 19 years earlier. Today, nature is slowly dismantling the city, thriving among the evacuated homes and buildings, and standing in stark contrast to the fear-plagued lives of the people who survived the world’s worst nuclear disaster to date. [Pripyat, Ukraine, 2005]
Nineteen years after the accident, the empty schools and kindergarten rooms in Pripyat – once the largest town in the Exclusion Zone with 50,000 inhabitants – are still a silent testament to the sudden and tragic departure. Due to decay, this section of the school building has meanwhile collapsed. [Pripyat, Ukraine 2005]
Books rot and paint peels 25 years in a decaying school library in the ghost town of Pripyat. [Pripyat, Ukraine 2011]
Pripyat: a photo of the same street years earlier. [Pripyat, Ukraine 2005]
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