: A day in Chornobyl: town frozen in space and time
Society19:03 Apr. 27, 2016
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A day in Chornobyl: town frozen in space and time

The site of nuclear disaster has become a Mecca for many thrill-seekers

What's life like after a nuclear disaster? Tourists from around the world come to Chornobyl to find an answer to this question. Radiation and desolation cannot stop them. On the contrary, they make the place even more alluring. Pripyat and the infamous 4th Reactor of the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant have become unique attractions both for foreign and local visitors.

Learn more about this tragedy wth Ukraine Today's special project 

The area welcomes tourists with total silence. Suddenly, a radio report turns on. It is the old Soviet evacuation announcement that was broadcasted on the next day after the deadly accident. Visitors say it only adds to the already mysterious atmosphere of the place.

Rudiger, German tourist: "I'm not afraid of anything but I was really cautious to come here, where the radiation is huge. I have great respect for the heroes who stopped this catastrophe."

The decaying town is almost frozen in time and space. 30 years later tourists still stumble upon personal belongings of the people who used to live here. Tour guide Oleh shows a letter found in a mailbox. It dates back to April 26,1986 - the day of the explosion at the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant.

Oleh, Chornobyl tour guide: "Just imagine, postmen were delivering mail on that day, the town lived its normal life. I really hope that some day the people that this letter was addressed to will come here and I will personally hand it to them."

Watch also Chornobyl: Thirty years later

People thought they would have to leave their homes just for a couple of days. Maryna and her family were among them. The woman now recalls her mother's memories of that fateful day.

Maryna Karpova, former Pripyat resident: "An army official knocked on our door. He was one of the senior staff for sure. My mom said he had tears in his eyes when he told her "Get what you can and run". He said that no one could ever return here."

Chornobyl has become a Mecca for many thrill-seekers. People starving for mystery and adrenaline like to wander about the streets of Pripyat. They leave various signs of their presence - written messages and graffiti.

Oleh, Chornobyl tour guide: "We call these paintings the "Shadows of Chornobyl", shadows of children who used to live here."

The nuclear power plant and the observation wheel in the centre of Pripyat remain the most popular objects for photos and videos. Soon there will be a full-fledged tourist site there since the Ukrainian government is set to create a biospheric national park in the next several years.

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