May 21, 2013

Travel Wish List: Chernobyl

I have a list. A list which contains places I really would like to pay a visit to at least once in my life. Today I'll share with you my first travel destination on the list. It's not necessarily on top of the list but I want to visit it soon. I know, it doesn't really sound like the most fabulous travel destination, but Chernobyl is very very very high on my travel wishlist.

For those who don't know, here's a small history lesson: Chernobyl is the place where a nuclear reactor exploded in 1976. In the night of the 26th of April the workers at the nuclear plant perform some tests on safety. Unfortunately something goes wrong: the reactor's temperature goes skyhigh and ultimately it explodes. The result: an excessive amount of radioactive particles is blown into the air and falls down on the sleeping village of Pripyat. In the beginning, most people don't know what's going on. There's not a lot of information about radio activity, so the evacuation starts up way too slowly. At a certain point the villagers are told to leave the town immediately. They don't take anything with them because they expect to go back very soon. They will never go back home.

For those who are interested in the full story: watch this amazing 90-minute documentary. Unfortunately the quality of the clips is pretty bad, but it's in English and it gives you an idea of the disaster and its impact.

Anywayz, I am very interested in this specific destination because the population of Pripyat left the town in a hurry and they left all of their belonging behind. It's officially a ghost town now, so it's an amazing place to do some photography. I would really like to capture the leftovers of the disaster in photos. Here are some Pripyat photography examples. I especially like the one of the ferris wheel with the yellow accents.

After the disaster, they quickly built a tombe over the damaged nuclear reactor to prevent it from leaking radioactive particles. Even with that tombe it took about 20 years for the area to become safe for visitors. Nowadays it's safe to walk around in Pripyat, but the tombe is old and starts to break down. That's why they are currently building a new tombe which will be placed over the current one. This operation should be finished in 2015, so I would like to visit Pripyat as soon as possible because I don't want to walk around on a giant construction site.

Would you like to visit Chernobyl and Pripyat? Or do you have any other strange Travel Wishlist destinations?

Sources pictures: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
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