In April 1986, a nuclear disaster of epic proportions occurred at the Chernobyl power plant in Ukraine, the repercussions of which are still being felt today. A 30km Exclusion Zone around the power station is guarded as the area is contaminated, and patches of fatally high radiation dot the landscape. I know what you’re thinking… what a great place for a holiday!
When my friend Damien mentioned his idea to visit Chernobyl, I thought it was interesting, if a bit strange… and so he invited me along. We took a half-day private tour of the area, with a local driver and guide, an unforgettable experience.
The poor residents of the city of Pripyat, next to the reactor, weren’t evacuated until a few days after the accident – by which point it was already too late for some. The evacuation was hurried and people left most of their possessions behind, being told that it would only be a temporary affair. Pripyat is now a ghost city, a bizarre and tragic post-apocalyptic ruin overrun by nature, and this was the focus of our visit.
I’ve recorded the trip in a photo essay linked below, explaining what we saw and the background behind the place. Although it’s no photography showcase (thanks to point-and-shoot camera, horrible conditions and no time) my images still capture the fascinating but grim atmosphere of the Zone. We go down deserted roads, through security checkpoints, spot looters at work and explore the infamous school, swimming pool, hotel and funfair.
One day I’ll transfer the whole lot to this site, until then, you can read my account here: