Pripyat 25 Years After Chernobyl
There are discreet spaces in Pripyat where things are hardly touched since they were abandoned. This is a small sample of my most recent work and some of the stories from the buildings I entered.
Pripyat Fish Processing Building
The cooling lake and the river offered abundant fish, and Pripyat had a small fishing and fish processing facility. After the accident and until c.1996, the building served as a laboratory for studying the effects of radiation on the different species of fish. Inside the building there are various specimens in jars, and pictures of the different types of fish studied are still on the walls. In the back hang the nets and containers once used to fish.
Pripyat Mechanic Shop
This mechanic shop mostly serviced the farming tractors and machines prior to the accident. Pieces of machinery litter its entrance. Inside the remnants of newspaper cut-outs still hang on the walls: a prayer, a meal — and as mechanics the world over do– scantily clad women. Upstairs, the changing room is littered with boots and grease stained overalls, some are still draped over a seat.
Pripyat Swimming Pool
Pripyat had various pools, an uncommon trait for a city its size. This is the largest pool. It has become something of a tourist stop, because of its large (broken) windows and diving platform. The main entrance is now overrun with vegetation and rarely seen, as most visitors enter from the other side of the building.
Once host to athletic competitions, the Stadyon is now lost among birch trees that grow where there used to be volley ball courts. In the winter light it reminds me of a pagoda. Views from behind the bleachers are like an Escher painting. In the western part of the field is a structure, perhaps a former ticket booth or entrance.
Pripyat Cafe & Observatory
Friends and young couples would gather at the Pripyat Cafe and sip drinks in the shade of the trees by the lake. Stained glass lined the south windows. There was an observation platform one could climb up to, in order to get a better view of the city. Animal tracks including wolves, boars, deer, and rabbit criss-cross in from of the former cafe and make their way down to the frozen shoreline. In the distance, the building cranes of what was to be Reactor #6 can be seen. A barge gradually sinks on the far shore.
Beauty is not the first word associated with Pripyat, but evidence of the city’s former staid elegance is still visible. The former movie house and dance school (not shown) still sport lovely mosaics. From among the barren trees small details of decoration and architecture show themselves to the curious explorer.
See Pripyat 25 Years Later: Complete Gallery