Chernobyl Photos

40 Chilling Chernobyl Photos Taken Today

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Forest consumes the abandoned buildings in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Exclusion Zone. As scary as it sounds, every day tour buses arrive with groups of visitors keen to see in the flesh what the HBO TV show, Chernobyl, has portrayed on their screens. This guide to Chernobyl photos displays the aftermath of the explosion of Chernobyl’s reactor number four. On April 26th 1986, the world witnessed the worst nuclear disaster, resulting in an estimated 4000 related deaths. 


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Chernobyl Sign

Chernobyl Photos

Chernobyl was a city located within the 300 km Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. It wasn’t actually the closest city to the nuclear power plant, Pripyat was. 

However, its residents were still affected by the fallout. They were evacuated on the 28th of April, two days after the explosion, along with the other villages and towns.

The image below at Chernobyl’s main square shows all of the areas where people were forced to leave their homes. 

Chernobyl Signs

To enter the Exclusion Zone you must visit with a tour leaving from Kiev, Ukraine’s capital. 

This is the tour that I (Gemma) took with my friend Laura, who is a radiographer. You can read the full review here

Tour groups go through a police check, with passports and permission forms, and also a checkpoint called Dytiatky. 

Soldiers man the checkpoints so photographs are forbidden. Guests are given a dosage counter which is returned at the end of the tour. Bizarrely, there are some bad taste souvenirs on sale at the checkpoint. 

Chernobyl Main Square

Monument 

It is difficult to find a reliable source online regarding the name of the monument that sits at Chernobyl Square next to the signs of all the areas evacuated. 

Monument of the Third Angel Chernobyl_

The Monument to Those Who Saved the World

A tribute to the firefighters who died and the Liquidators. These were the thousands of people who helped clean up the accident, risking their lives for others. 

Fire Fighters Memorial Chernobyl_

Abandoned Village 

During the tour, we’re told that all personal items were either collected by residents two years after the explosion or removed by authorities. Any items you see are most likely photo props. 

Zalissya Village House

Zalissya Village Table Chernobyl

Zalissya Chernobyl Village

Chernobyl Power Plant 

Chernobyl Power Plant Complex is located approximately 130 km from Kiev, Ukraine’s capital, and around 20 km south of the Belarus border. 

It is at this location that the faulty reactor number four exploded during a test.

Today, there is a monument.

Chernobyl Memorial Statue_
Please don’t take selfies. Remember 30 men died after the initial blast and it is estimated that 4000 people will die because of the consequences. 

In this area, you can find the Chernobyl Cooling Pond. If you hire a Geiger counter you will see at this location the radiation levels soar. 

Chernobyl Cooling Pond

With this one-day tour from Kiev, you dine alongside the power plant workers. To enter the plant you must go through a radiation check.

Chernobyl Plant Lunch

Radiation Checks Chernobyl Plant

Pripyat City 

Pripyat was the closest city to the power plant. It is where many of its workers lived. Below is its famous sign. 

Pripyat was a new city. The average age was 26 and many young families lived here. They enjoyed the best housing, parks and amenities. It was used as a Soviet showcase city. 

On May 1st 1986, a massive Soviet celebration, the city planned to open a new fairground which people refer to as the Chernobyl amusement park, even though it is was not technically in Chernobyl. 

Pripyat 1970 Sign Chernobyl

Pripyat Ferris Wheel

This Ferris wheel is an iconic image of Chernobyl.

Our guide says it is used because it represents the failed dreams of the kids in Chernobyl.

Just over 450, 000 children are registered with the Ukrainian health ministry. None of them born during the disaster but suffer the long-term effects of the nuclear fallout. 

Ferris Wheel Chernobyl

Ferris Wheel in Chernobyl Geiger Counter_

Amusement Park

The bumper cars at the amusement park, never used. 

Chernobyl Bumper Cars

Pripyat Square 

Derelict buildings surround the city’s main square. Trees take over. A Soviet sign buried, another rusts away. 

Pripyat Ukraine Square

Pripyat Square

Pripyat Soviet Sign

Star Sign Chernobyl

Radiation Sign

This is the only original radiation sign in Chernobyl, our guide tells us. The likes of the sign at DUGA Radar System are just set up for photographs. 

Pripyat Radiation Sign

Pripyat Square Street Art 

Street artists have moved into the Exclusion Zone. A handful of murals can be seen at the city’s main square. 

Pripyat Street Art Mural Table

Pripyat Supermarket

Our guide shows us what the supermarket used to look like. 

Pripyat Supermarket

Pripyat Street Art Mural Supermarket_

Pripyat Swimming Pool 

Azure Swimming Pool (Sportyvna Street) was used in the computer game Call of Duty 4. Today the bottom floor is trashed, office desks lie scattered.

On the first floor, select tours visit the swimming pool and basketball court, discreetly. 

Azure Swimming Pool Chernobyl Kiev

Basketball Court Azure Swimming Pool Chernobyl Image_

Azure Pool Chernobyl Kiev

Pripyat Kindergarten

Pripyat Kindergarten

Pripyat Kindergarten Toy

Pripyat Kindergarten Rooms

Pripyat Apartments 

At our own risk, we were allowed to enter an apartment block and climb the roof to see the true size of the city. 

Pripyat Apartments

Pripyat Apartments Graffiti

Pripyat Apartments Rooftop

Red Forest 

Due to the direction of the wind, the trees at the Red Forest turned orange. Liquidators cut them down and buried them. 

This is said to be one of the most radioactive areas in the world. We were advised not to cross the road to take photos. 

Other tour groups were allowed to walk up to the signs. 

This image was taken using zoom. 

Red Forest Chernobyl

Animals of Chernobyl 

You’ll meet lots of dogs at Chernobyl. They are healthy looking as the staff feed them. It is advised not to pat them. 

Dogs in the area were killed at Chernobyl after the disaster, just like in the HBO show. 

Now there are charities set up to help find the Chernobyl puppies new homes, after radiation checks of course. 

There are now over 200 species living here, going against the grain of what was forecasted in the 1980s. 

I never saw any of the big animals such as brown bears or bison but I did see a fox. 

Bizarrely, we never noticed any birds. 

Dogs Chernobyl Ukraine

Pripyat Bear Murals Bears

DUGA Radar

DUGA Radar aka Russian Woodpecker, a throwback from the Cold War. Below, a street artist mocks tourists playing Pokemon at Chernobyl. Pokemon appears again at the famous Ferris wheel.

Duga Radar Chernobyl

Duga Radar Chernobyl Street Art Mural

Practical Information

Chernobyl tours leave daily from Kiev. They start early at around 07:30 and return 10-12 hours later. 

If you’d prefer to stay in Chernobyl, there is a two-day tour which allows this.

Personalised tours can also be organised, at a premium rate.

You must take your passport with you to Chernobyl. Only visitors wearing long-sleeved tops, pants/trousers and closed-toe shoes will be permitted. 

Do not touch anything in the Exclusion Zone, this includes putting tripods down on the ground. 

It is advised to bring snacks as it is a long day. You cannot eat out in the open, only on the tour bus. 


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Gemma and Craig are full-time workers with a life-long travel habit. Flirting with 30 and let loose on the world! Gemma writes, Craig looks good in the photos.

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