Touring the Chernobyl exclusion zone a generation later

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The former USSR, now present-day Ukraine holds one of humanity’s top dark tourism destinations in the world. Chernobyl and Pripyat and the surrounding areas have been off-limits due to the human-made nuclear disaster in 1986.

Dubbed the “Chernobyl Exclusion Zone,” this destination has been on my bucket list for the better part of a decade. I’ve watched and read every documentary about the events that led to the disaster and the devastating after-effects.

I landed in Kyiv and embarked on a fantastic journey that took me through the history of the events of April 23, 1986 and into ground zero. Radioactivity is invisible, odorless, and tasteless; a genie that should never be allowed to escape. I had concerns over radiation exposure; honestly, no one wants to cut years off our lives or come back glowing.

What I found in the exclusion zone was a snapshot in time that has remained untouched for the past 30 years. The animals run wild; all tagged to track their population and buildings decaying and collapsing as nature begins to reclaim the ghost town that was once a bustling city.

Chernobyl tourism destinations

Chernobyl Power Plant

Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant

The site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster on April 26, 1986.

Pripyat

The Ghost town of Pripyat

49,000 people evacuated the town of Pripyat overnight. Visit the abandoned, radioactive ghost town of Pripyat located next to the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.

Duga Radar Station

Duga-1 Radar Station

The Duga-1 radar station is known as the Russian Woodpecker – A must-see relic from the Soviet anti-ballistic missile early warning network.

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