Photos from Pripyat, abandoned Chernobyl workers' town

Here's a massive, haunting collection of photos from Pripyat, Ukraine, the industrial city that housed Chernobyl's workforce. It's been an abandoned radioactive no-go zone for some 23 years now, gradually sinking into ruin, and it just gets more and more beautiful and melancholy.

Ukraine, Pripyat. 2009


  1. Looks like a Bloodsucker stalking the right-hand corridor, and there I was thinking this would look like a nice place for a campfire, some vodka and guitar…

  2. This reminds me of that lady who supposedly rode a sport bike through Pripyat and took pictures, then put it up on a website.

    Also: “50,000 people used to live here. Now it’s a ghost town.” We’ll get ’em next time, marines.

    (woo references!)

  3. The buildings are in much better shape than I expect. From the BBC radio story on this a while back, I imagined trees growing through every roof. It also mentioned people living within the exclusion zone. Mostly older people who didn’t want to leave.

  4. #6:
    Check link “Photoblogging Chernobyl – Boing Boing”

    I did not know that story was made up but frankly I don’t care because the photos were great.

  5. Eerie, thought-provoking, and touching, yes.

    Beautiful, not so much.

    I don’t know why, but the scoop of buttons took my breath away. Such a tiny symbol of life stopped in its tracks.

  6. Okay two things:

    first, @3 — I thought I was imagining things, but no. That’s definitely a pair of translucent legs. LOL.

    second — I thought it was bad to go into radioactive areas. Am I missing something? Like grade 12 physics? :(

  7. A HA! So the street art *is* real! Take THAT, Daniel!

    Amazing photos, I WILL make it there one day…

  8. Visit Pripyat! Do not be full with worry. Place is nice and has clear sky and butter of fly flutters with joy around flowers of perfectly normal size. Ground is not glowing! Pripyat is place for wonderous vacation.

  9. @12, OOSHINY

    A little bit of radiation won’t kill you. Most alpha get stopped by your clothes. Beta rays need more protection.

    It’s the dust that’s a problem. You inhale it(for eg.), then it irradiates you from inside.

    And there’s also hotspots, especially inside buildings. You wouldn’t even notice until an hour later when you get the first symptoms.

  10. @oohShiny #12, I suspect it’s a combination of limiting your exposure (length of visit) and avoiding a few particular hazards. After all, even directly after the accident workers would go in to fix stuff – with proper protection and precautions, it’s not a problem. Also, after so many years, anything really hot would’ve decayed already, so it’s just the long-lived stuff you have to worry about – and that’s only a problem with longer exposure. As long as you don’t ingest or inhale it (or otherwise take it with you), it won’t be a big problem.

    You wouldn’t want to go there without knowing what you’re doing, but that applies to a lot of places.

  11. Given the amount of destruction and trash/clothes/broken furniture strewn about, looks like it’s a popular squatter destination. Winters are tough enough in that part of the world, I think I’d be willing to put up with some radiation to have a roof over my head.

  12. This documentary on animals in the Chernobyl area was brilliant. We watched it on PBS, twice. It’s called: Chernobyl: Life in the Dead Zone
    It follows a cat and her life, a bear and a wolf over a year or so.

  13. A lot of these pictures look like their straight out of Call of Duty 4. The sheds and high dive swimming pool are exactly duplicated in the game.

  14. These pictures are good, but as someone who has spent time in Pripyat, let me assure you that they do not accurately capture the haunting feeling of a dead city.

  15. I’ve been there. The streets and structures are just as eerie as the photos suggest: no noise but the birds and the wind, with the occasional clicking of the counters reminding you of what happened there.

    My memory of the trip is somewhat colored by the firefight beneath the rusting Ferris wheel while we were waiting for the extraction chopper.

  16. Wow…I just finished “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy…..anyone else feel like they needed to hide from cannibals while looking at these photos? Jaysus….

  17. I’d like to see the same pictures, but without the strange camera lens that makes everything look distorted and creepy.

  18. how about a live action web game where you control armed telefactor robot zombies that stalk the ruins of Prypiat hunting actual kidnapped Call of Duty players?

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