Tag: Chernobyl

Exploring Chernobyl: 6 Must-see Locations of the Exclusion Zone

Exploring Chernobyl: 6 Must-see Locations of the Exclusion Zone

Chernobyl, a town nearby Kyiv is known infamously for the accident in the nearby nuclear power plant on 26 April 1986. Nowadays Chernobyl is visited by 60,000 tourists annually. Radiation from the accident remains around the site, making access severely restricted. A visit to the exclusion zone is a unique experience however, and offers an insight into the scientific, technological and humanitarian aspects of the disaster.

1. Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant

The Chernobyl disaster was the worst nuclear catastrophe in history. Now the deserted station is surrounded by Zone of Exclusion 30 kilometres radius.

The fourth reactor was working for only 3 years, when it suddenly exploded at April, 26 in 1986. The explosion threw 8 tons of radioactive fuel into the atmosphere. The amount of radioactive substances thrown into the atmosphere was 400 times greater than the ejection from the Hiroshima bombing. The disaster was classified by level 7 – the highest one of the nuclear accidents scale. And it is the only accident in history with such a grade.

When visiting the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant today, visitors get to see a giant some 100 m high arch called the New Safe Confinement building, often referred to as the NSC. Its construction was a joint international effort, finished late 2018. Guided tours still stop at a monument about 200 m from the NSC, dedicated to the workers who sacrificed their health in the construction of the old protective Sarcophagus in 1986. Much in contrast with 1986, the radiation levels around the power plant are very low nowadays, and thus very safe to visit.

2. Pripyat ghost town

Abandoned town Pripyat is has become world renown after a fatal accident. Pripyat was the youngest town in the USSR and nowadays it beggars belief that life was once boiling here. New sixteen-story buildings were being built, a modern hospital complex was working daily, a new amusement park was about to open, and smiling children ran along the school corridors. In one tragic day, the life of the inhabitants of Pripyat was divided on before and after the Chernobyl disaster.

Pripyat is located only two kilometers from Chernobyl and took the biggest impact. To save people they were literally taken from the streets away from the place of the catastrophe without money and documents, children were taken from the kindergartens and schools not by their parents, but by rescuers. In this whole mess, often it took several days to find their loved ones, and then for years to restore their documents. Now the abandoned city of Pripyat looks like a shot from a horror film.

3. Pripyat Amusement park

The fun fair in the Pripyat is the place where you realize the whole scale of the catastrophe. Looking at prepared for children carousels, cars and boats where children never skated, you involuntarily feel frightened by the tragedy that has ruined thousands of innocent lives. The Ferris wheel was one of the main attractions and became a cult symbol of both the Pripyat city and the Chernobyl accident. According to an unofficial version, the Ferris wheel worked the next day after the accident…

4. Duga Radar unit

The over-the-horizon radar Duga or Chernobyl-2 object is the largest, most secret and grandiose object of the whole USSR.

Its roar, the rumbling of the torn fastenings is heard to up to now in windy, rainy weather. A top-secret radar was built for the early detection of enemy intercontinental ballistic missiles. Surprisingly, but the station itself was discovered only after it began to work, because the enormous dimensions of the over-the-horizon radar (OTH-SW) allow us to see it literally from outer space.

The construction consists of two antennas – the height of the low-frequency is 150 meters (half of the Eiffel Tower), the high-frequency one – 100 meters (the height of three nine-storey buildings placed on top of each other), the width of the structure is 730 meters which is equal to the length of ten football fields.

This radar unit was dubbed “Russian Woodpecker” for the distinctive sound of rapping in the air. 600 to 700 million dollars was spent on construction – twice as much as for the construction of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. The construction was ahead of its time, but it became another post-apocalyptic landscape.

5. Monument to the Chernobyl Liquidators

The Monument to the Chernobyl Liquidators is dedicated to firefighters who took part in the liquidation of the consequences of the Chernobyl Disaster. The inscription “To Those Who Saved the World” implies all heroes who consciously sacrificed their lives for the sake of saving others.

The firefighters who contained the blaze had no idea of the real cause of it, so they weren’t properly protected from radiation. Most of them died from acute radiation syndrome in next few weeks. They were buried in zink coffins and their graves were concreted to avoid the spread of radiation from their corpses.

The monument is located near the Chernobyl Fire Station. It is installed on the means of the firemen themselves and is made of concrete, which was used to build the Sarcophagus.

6. Abandoned cargo port

The cargo port was built to provide all necessary supplements for the construction of new power units (5th and 6th reactors) and a modern city of nuclear power engineers. But because of the tragedy it could not fulfill its mission, as well as an amusement park.

Now these metal giants are abandoned and forgotten, and the floating crane slowly disappears under the water and soon only piles of scrap will remind of their existence.

TOP-8 Historical Objects to Visit in Kyiv

TOP-8 Historical Objects to Visit in Kyiv

Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine and one of the oldest and most beautiful cities of the country, offers a variety of interesting and exciting places to see and to visit.

1. Golden Gates

Golden Gates (Zoloti vorota) is another symbol of Kyiv a one of the most important architectural and historical monuments remaining from the Kyivan Rus’ period. The gate, built in 1164 protected the old town and served as the main entrance to Kyiv. You can visit the museum exposition and part of the ancient wall inside and have a look at the city center from its top.

2. Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra

Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra church complex, an UNESCO World Heritage Site, since the foundation in 11th century has been one of the most important places for the Orthodox Christians. You should also visit the caves located within the complex. The Near Caves and the Far Caves exhibit numerous archaeological artifacts.

3. Sophia Kyivska National Reserve

St. Sophia Cathedral, is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It features the largest collection of 11th century frescoes and mosaics.

4. Andriyivsky Uzviz

According to the legend Andriyivsky Uzviz is the exact place where Apostle Andrew predicted the foundation of great Slavic city of Kyiv, overlooking the beautiful lands lying around the hill he was standing on.

Andriyivsky Uzviz is one of the oldest streets in Kyiv and the most creative one – for sure, known as Kyiv’s Monmartre. It seems to be a residence for artists and souvenir sellers. Moreover, it is a very mystical place surrounded by myths and legends.

The highlight of the Uzviz is the stunning gold and blue St. Andrew’s Church shining at the top street.

5. House with Chimaeras

The House with Chimaeras was buildt Vladislav Gorodetsky, the famous Ukrainian architect. The house with Chimaeras is located across the street from President Administration on Bankova Street. This building will catch your eye with its extraordinary figures of exotic animals and hunting scenes.

In the beginning of XX century Gorodetsky wanted to demonstrate possibilities of concrete and decorated the house with numerous of figures.

6. Museum of Ukrainian Folk Architecture

The open-air museum located at the southwest edge of Kyiv displays different samples of regional folk architecture: houses, windmills, churches and schools.

All these buildings are surrounded by beautiful green park.

7. Maydan Nezalezhnosti

Maydan Nezalezhnosti, the central square of Kyiv, can be truly considered the heart of the city. The name is translated as “Independence Square”.

Maydan has become a place of great hope where history was written. The square have witnessed the most dramatic chapter of contemporary Ukrainian history, the events that changed Ukraine, such as the Revolution of Dignity 2013-2014, the Orange Revolution in 2004 and pro-independence protests in early 1990’s. Every single sightseeing program includes this point.

8. Chernobyl Exclusion Zone

33 years ago, the world’s worst nuclear disaster took place in a Ukrainian town near Kyiv. The Chernobyl nuclear disaster happened overnight on 25-26 April 1986 in the now-abandoned town of Pripyat, when an explosion sent radioactive material into the air.

The exclusion zone is has been open to the public since 2011, when authorities deemed it safe to visit.

10 Interesting Facts About Ukraine

10 Interesting Facts About Ukraine

1. It is the largest country in Europe

Ukraine is the continent’s largest county at 603,628 square kilometers. France is next at 551,695 square kilometers.

2. It lies at the heart of Europe

Within Ukraine there is the geographical center of Europe. Ok, a number of locations claim to the title and it depends on how you measure Europe, but the small town of Rakhiv in western Ukraine is one such place. The country has a second claimant in Transcarpathia, where an obelisk marks the spot.

3. It is not The Ukraine

The English-speaking world commonly referred to the country as The Ukraine. That is, until independence in 1991 when the West gradually dropped the definite article. In 1993 the Ukrainian government requested that the country be called just Ukraine. US ambassador William Taylor, who knew that addition of the “the” was considered insulting by some Ukrainians, said it implied a disregard for the country’s sovereignty.

4. It boasts seven wonders

Within its large borders, Ukraine has 7 World Heritage Sites, including but not limited by 11th century Saint-Sophia Cathedral in Kyiv, the ancient city of Khersoneses in Crimea, and many others.

5. It hosted plenty of history

Ukraine has played the stage for much destruction during its history. But it was also the host of the Yalta Conference in 1945, where Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt met to discuss the organization of post-war Europe. Livadia Palace, which hosted the meeting, is open today as a museum. Today, Yalta is part of history once again as it lies on the disputed Crimean peninsula, annexed by Russia in 2014. The Crimea is one of 3 regions advised against travel to (Donetsk and Lugansk are the others). The rest of the country is safe and highly recommended to visit!

6. It is tasteful

Ukrainian cuisine is extremely yummy, and many of its regions compete to be its kitchen capitals. The city of Lviv is surely Ukraine’s cafe capital – it claims to have the most cafes in the world per capita. The other must visit places for those who are especially interested in tasty food and drinks are surely Kyiv and Odessa.

7. It is very romantic

Recognize this? This is just one of the many examples of romantic places to be found in Ukraine. The Tunnel of Love is located in the forests near the town of Klevan. The rail road is for a private train that provides wood for a local factory. Do you want to find more places like this? Welcome to Ukraine!

8. The world’s biggest plane is built here

Kyiv was the birthplace of the world’s largest plane, the Antonov An-225 Mriya. It has the longest wingspan of any aircraft, at 88.4 meters and weighs 640,000 kg. A brainwave of the Soviet Union, only one was ever made.

9. It is home to ghost towns and a mighty Soviet relic

Chernobyl, the site of the world’s worst nuclear power plant disaster, is situated in northern Ukraine. Within the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, established by the USSR soon after the accident in 1986, there is a number of abandoned towns, most notably Pripyat, that draw interest from all over the world. Tours of the area, including the power plant, are available, at the risk of the traveler. The safer option is to explore Soviet relics still found in many towns of the country. The biggest one is very prominent in Kyiv: 62 meters tall Mother Motherland monuments standing high on the right coast of Dnipro river. While Communist symbols and street names were outlawed from Ukraine in 2015, Second World War monuments – like this titanium statue – were allowed to remain.

10. You can ski there

It’s no French Alps, but Ukraine has about ten ski resorts to shout about, including Bukovel in the Carpathian mountains, with 55 km of slopes and 15 lifts.

 

 

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