Pripyat the Forgotten City
Pripyat Jewel of Soviet Urban Planning
At the time of the accident Chernobyl, was about 800 years old and had c.15,000 people. Today it has about 3,000 inhabitants. Down the road, the City of Pripyat was built in 1970 to house the plant workers. It was a planned city, and if one looks at it from above, the shape of a sickle becomes evident in the main plaza. On April 25th, 1986, Pripyat had about 49,400 inhabitants. Had the accident not occured, estimates place Pripyat’s population in 2010 at close to 80,000.
Pripyat was not only a young city, it was a city for young people. The average age was 26, and nearly 20 percent of its population was single. There was an active (for Soviet standards) dating scene: one park, 27 cafes, promenades for bikes and walking (with 18,136 trees, 249,247 shrubs, 33,000 rose plants), and 25 malls and stores.
The average salary was often much higher than in most parts of the Soviet Union, and this showed in the city’s infrastructure. It housed ten gyms, ten shooting galleries, and at least three swimming pools, one of which was of magnificent proportions. Residents could (comparatively) splurge on the cultural offerings. It had a culture palace, a cinema, a dance school, and a school of arts.
Pripyat Ferris Wheel – Iconic Symbol
Those who were married had young families. I’ve had conflicting sources, but most estimates place the number of children at nearly 5,000 with close to 1,000 being in primary school and kindergarten. To make the life of children even more joyful, Pripyat was planning to inaugurate an amusement park on May 1, 1986. There was much excitement and anticipation of riding the Ferris Wheel and seeing the City from the top. Sadly that never happened.
See Pripyat 25 Years Later: Complete Gallery