Postcards from Pripyat, the town nearest to the No.4 reactor of Chernobyl.
Pripyat is the town nearest to the No. 4 reactor, had 49,000 inhabitants, and was founded to house workers from Chernobyl. The name came from the river where sits the town, that was founded on 4th February 1970 on a terrain of endless woodland and marshes in Northern Ukraine. Construction of the power plant began in the same year – first as construction site, and then as one of the biggest nuclear electric power stations in Europe. Pripyat soon became a key town in Ukraine thanks to its location and good transport links. The town was designed with the Triangle Principle, devised by Moscow architect Nikolai Ostozhenko and used in many other similar cities in the Soviet Union. This plan was an innovating combination of living towers and standard blocks of apartments, for saves a lot of space, perfect for more green-space, parks and big space between buildings. Traffic jams were One of Ostozhenko’s concerns were in fact traffic jams, and he planned to avoid them. Pripyat had 15 primary schools, a hospital, 25 stores, 10 gyms, and still parks, cinemas, factories, and other things for a thriving community. On 26th April 1986, during a test to see how much power was needed to keep the No. 4 reactor operating in case of a blackout, the Chernobyl Nuclear Station exploded, releasing extremely dangerous amounts of radioactive chemicals into the air, which contaminated millions of square miles in lot of European nations. Statistics estimates that approximately 30 people were killed by the explosion and related radiation, with several thousand deaths for the higher cancer incidence possible in the long term. Pripyat was only about three kilometers from the explosion, and the entire city was forced to evacuate in only two days. Now, over three decades later, this ghost town is a freeze-frame of the Soviet Union in 1986. On walls still hangs posters of Communist propaganda and hammer and sickle decorate lampposts, waiting for May Day celebrations, that never took place. All clocks are frozen at 11:55, the moment the electricity are dead. Now, after 32 years of abandonment, Pripyat is beginning to be swallowed up by the surrounding trees and vegetations. Someday, it will no doubt be completely overgrown by forest. In my first visit to the ghost town I took a walk through the abandoned streets and i looked at some of the buildings, and i hope to come back next winter.