Travel, Ukraine

What you didn’t know about Chernobyl

June 9, 2017

Would you go to Chernobyl? Would you spend there two or more days, playing with dogs you meet there, eating food cooked by Chernobyl’s cooks in a hotels? Would you be scared of all those annomalies you’ve heard about? We went there and now we want to share with you things we didn’t know about Chernobyl. We know them now and after reading this post you will know too.


Before we share our thoughts about Chernobyl with you, we would like to tell a bit more about Chernobyl myths, or things you might not know about this place. Ok, here we go:

1. Chernobyl is not an abandoned city

People are still living there, there is hotel working (part of our group was sleeping there and we all had dinner there. Twice.), dogs are really friendly and do not glow in the dark. Post-apo pictures we see on the Internet are from Prypiat, a city 30km from Chernobyl and only 3 km away from the reactor. It used to be very prosperous city, and all that was destroyed in one day, when 50 thousand people were evacuated. 

2. There are people living in the exclusion zone

There are people still living in the exclusion zone. They came back after being evacuated and refused to leave this place. We met one of those people. You have to forgive me, for I have no pictures of this man. I didn’t want to treat him like a monkey in the circus, he is still human and deserves some respect, regardless how much money he has and how he lives. But, I did make some pictures of his household.

That day he was going to have a real feast – his son was visiting him, brought some potatoes, that were boiling in the pot you can see o the picture above. I am really lucky I speak Russian, as I could talk to them face to face, without any interpreter.

3. Power station didn’t blow up

It was only one of the reactors. The whole power plant was working since year 200, when UE started to push Ukraine to close it. Today station doesn’t produce energy any more, but there are still working scientists and blue collar workers. However, tuorists are not allowed in and all they can do is to take a picture with the reactor in the background. 


4. There was a secret project called Chernobyl II

IT was called the Moscow’s Eye or Duga Project.  It cosistsed of different parts of the same construction stuated in different parts of the surroundin area. But the main part was located only 9km away from the reactor. The wole thing was discovered only because the disaster. Quite impressive, taking the fact, that it needed around 1000 people working on it, living in the secret city, build  especially for them. The whole thing was to do something with radio waves – distracting, taking over, etc. Our guide said, it was agreed lately to take this construction down and re-use all the metal. 



5. Nowadays exclusion zone buzzes with life

You just have to getuose to it. Exclusion zone is not fully closed for years. You will meet lots of tourists and you will be a part of one of those tours. But id doesn’t mean that all spots are fully safe. That is why you have to be responsible and thoughtful person. And because most of people are not, you are not allowed to enter the zone by yourself. Good idea, if you ask me.


6. Radiation might take your shoes of

Before we came to Ukraine, we got an e-mail from people organising our Chernobyl trip with a list of thigs we should take with us. Long sleeves, long trousers, passports and…extra pair of shoes. Turnes out that moss, plants and especially the gound are the most radiated all over the place. It’s because of the water that went into it when they were cleaning machines used to deal with the fire in the reactor. A regular rain also has an impact, as it washes all the radioactive dust from the items and goes insie the soil. So if you are not careful enough, or just unlucky, your shoes can absorb quite a number of radioactive dust. And then it doesn’t matter for the security gouards how much did you pay for your shoes, either you have anything at all to change. They are going to take those shoes from you with no discussion. We had those controls approx. twice a day.  

7. There are places with bigger radiation

Radiation in Chernobyl is not as scary as one might think. In 2001 UNSCEAR oficially denied any connections between radiation and  fetus deformations. So there is nothing to be scared of. We really encourage you  to watch te below video. In this programme a guy visits the most radioactive places in the world to see where people get the biggest radiation from. You’ll be very suprrised at the end, believe me!


8. People came back for their belongings

When exploring Prypiat, we were wondering why everything is all over the place. People were evacuated, right? And I don’t think tourist guides would allow any vandalism. It turns out, that after evacuation people were allowed to come back for their stuff. Whatever they left was destroyed, thrown out of the windws, buried, etc. This was to discourage people from coming back to their homes in the future. 


9. Ferris wheel was neer used

Famous ferris wheel we can see on pictures was never used. It was planned for 1st of May, as a part of national day celebration. Reactor blew up earlier, so the biggest attraction of Pripiat’s amusement parh has never been working. 

10. They planned to build next reactors

In fact, whent the disaster happened, two other reactors were in very advanced stage of built. If it happened, the Chernobyl power plant would be the biggest in the world.  Now we have an amazing chance to go inside of a part of the unfinished reactor, used for cooling it down. It was an amazing experience, and the sound there is exceptional – it goes round in the circles. Imagine a rock concert inside this baby! 




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