Ukraine, A visit to Chernobyl
The day started early in the morning since I was going to Chernobyl. I had to be at the meeting point at 7:00 am to get on board of the bus that were taking us there. The price to get there it is very expensive and does not relate with the rest Ukranian Prices. There are several companies that make this one day trips and the cost is about €125 and lasts about 12 hours. I was already strict on budget but I thought that it was my last chance to see the reactor before they cover it up with the new sarcophagus. They tour stops several times within the exclusion zone. There are 2 roadblocks on the way where they make the designated passport check and then i some small stops in some villages before arriving to Chernobyl city.
In the city of Chernobyl, there are people living, mostly constructors, that they build the new sarcophagus for the reactor. The city has hosts a monument with all the villages signs that were abandoned due to the meltdown. It also has a site with the original equipment used to clean the reactor. On that site long sleeves are required since they are still highly contaminated by radioactive particles.
On our way to the city of Prypiat we made a few stops to check out the famous kinder garden and the Soviet top secret military base. In the kinder garden I started realizing how huge was the destruction, and how people left the area without taking anything with them. Walking in the rooms of the building there are toys and dolls arround, even books, drawings, the small tables and chairs dor the kids and even clothes.
The Soviet military base was a huge base that hosted one of the worlds biggest radars than the Soviet created. The radar has a height of 150 meters and width of 900 meters. I don't know if the military base was really "top secret" since the radar is so huge that can be seen from different locations within the exclusion zone and for sure the Western world new about them since they gave them code names as well.
We moved in the reactor area where we had a small run throught the radiation scanner before going to the small restaurant of the area where we had some lunch with the rest of the workers that are building the new sarcophagus.
The site of the reactor is now a popular tourist attraction. Being so close to the building that caused all that chaos was an experience that I will never forget. The sarcophagus of the reactor was designed to last for 30 years, from '86 until 2016.
Behind me is the reactor No 4. The one that exploded on 26 of April 1986.
Last but not least was the city fo Prypiat. The ghost city of chernobyl since it is being reclaimed by nature. The city is a forest now. You can see trees everywhere, including on the asphalt roads and on the top of high storage buildings.
Prypiat was the dream of every Soviet Union Citizen. A high tech, city that could only host the best engineers and Mechanics for the reactor site.
I walked in the city and passed through the some buildings like the school, the gym, the swimming pool and off course the famous amusement park.
The amusement park was supposed to open for labor day (1st of May) celebrations and it was a gift from the authorities to the people of Prypiat. 5 days earlier the explosion took place. So the authorities decited to open the amusement park so they can keep peoples eyes turned away from the reactor. Many people were contaminated by going and having fun in those games and most of them were children and women.
In my opinion my visit was totally worth the price since I am very interested to this kind of history. photographic-wise being there for only 6-7 hours are not even close to enough. There are so many things around that are waiting for the clicks of our cameras.