Travel opens up new avenues of discovery and curiosity and is not restricted to holiday happiness alone. By visiting new places, you gain new knowledge, thus altering your perspective on humankind and increasing your ability to empathize better with the struggles of fellow beings. The sorrow and realities of the world are just as life-changing and important as visits to historic places or reveling in the beauty of nature. Chernobyl is a destination that will evoke numerous emotions in you but will mostly importantly leave you in awe. Asides from taking time to show respect to the remnants of Chernobyl’s past, you will be struck by the beautiful nature; immerse yourself in the shade of the trees and the chirping of birds.
What happened 33 years ago?
Chernobyl was an unknown city, until a great disaster occurred, the effects of which stretched as far as Turkey and Europe. On the Saturday the 26th of April 1986, the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant nuclear energy explosion rocked the world. Copious amounts of radioactive fuel permeated the air leaving many dead or left to suffer from cancer in following years. According to scientists, due to the explosion, 30,000 – 60,000 people got cancer.
The catastrophe has now been dramatized, shedding light and uncovering the past. Many episodes in the tv show were shot in the capital city of Lithuania, Vilnius. On the Vilnius Chernobyl tours you can explore the Fabijonniskes district, likened to Pripyat, where many of the tv scenes were captured, without the risk of radiation. On your visit to Fabijoniskes you can visit the reactor and houses and hotels that the tv characters reside in. An interesting fact about the filming process: The TV crew spent 1000 hours in Vilnius. Sets were established in 40 different locations and more than 5000 people participated in the shooting of the show.
From 1986 onwards, Chernobyl was closed off and left untouched. Only in recent years has it regained interest and become a touristic destination, mostly due to the tv series. The hospitals, schools, and streets are filled with the memories of that day. In fact, to this day there are areas that are affected by high levels of radioactivity. Therefore, trips to Chernobyl require governmental permission and a tour guide.
Furthermore, scientists purport that Chernobyl and Pripyat, a few kilometers away, will be inhabitable 900 years later. It could take up to 48,000 years to rid the radioactive residue.
Places you can visit on organized tours
Set off from Kyiv, which is 2.5 hours away from Chernobyl, and take part in 2-3 days long tours or daily tours to Chernobyl from Kyiv.
A journey to Chernobyl is as sad as it is a thought-provoking, one-of-a-kind experience. By paying an average of 100-500 euros per person, you can visit the following areas:
- Red forest (First area to be affected by radioactivity)
- Pripyat (A town that housed workers of the Chernobyl Nuclear Reactor. Access into the buildings is not allowed due to safety reasons)
- Memorial to the Chernobyl Liquidators (A memorial dedicated to the firefighters who took part in the liquidation of the Chernobyl disaster)
- Hospital (The first place that provided therapy to those affected by radiation)
- City Hall (Used as a calamity building)
- Amusement park (Opening was planned for May 1st, 1986, but did not proceed due to the catastrophe)
- A dormitory for the children of the city.
- Yaniv Railway Station (Railway station filled with rusty trains that were exposed to radiation)
- Catfish (The only creatures alive in the city since that day due to the hunting prohibition and a life span of 100 years)
Things to know before you go to Chernobyl
- Area access is prohibited to those under 18 years and pregnant women.
- You must sign a document that approves that you accept all responsibility.
- Don’t forget to take your radiation detector. According to experts, radiation in the region is lower with x-ray and tomography.
- Never enter areas where the radiation level is high.
- Do not enter areas that the tour guides prohibit.
- Wear clothes that cover your arms and legs.
- Take spray or medication for insect bites.
- Take snacks and drinks with you.
- Do not place your belongings on the floor.
- Do not eat anything outdoors.
- Do not touch anything.
- Take hand protection fluid.
- Be sure to undergo radiation scanning when exiting the zone.