Watch the devastated region in the video below.
Video credit: Veritasium
The Chernobyl disaster was one of the deadliest nuclear accidents ever.
Though the incident happened back in 1986, people still feel a lot of fascination in exploring the area so as to see what happened here.
The catastrophic nuclear accident took place on April 25, 1986, at the No. 4 nuclear reactor of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant near Pripyat – a ghost city in northern Ukraine.
Just recently, Sky Atlantic has released a TV show that provides an insight into the disaster which claimed countless lives three decades ago.
The three-part series has so far got positive reviews, both from audience and critics.
Travel companies are also offering tours to the region, allowing curious people to have a glimpse of the Soviet era and to witness the tragedy that wreaked havoc on a 2,600 km area.
Martin Duben, from CHERNOBYL Welcome, a tour operator agency covering the exclusion zone, said the ghost town of Pripyat is visited by so many people that it can’t be called a ghost town anymore.
Speaking to LADbible, Martin said more than 75,000 people visited the region in 2018, and nearly 100,000 tourists are expected this year.
“It depends what time of the year you go, the spring and autumn are crowded – months April, May, September and October there are thousands of visitors per weekend,” he said.
“The ghost town of Pripyat is not a ghost town at all, you have a hard time trying to take a picture where there is no-one there. There’s too many tourists.
“November is the best time, it’s not that cold but there is some snow and it is kind of depressing.
“Everyone is saying ‘why do you want to go to Chernobyl’ but then they get there and there are hundreds if not thousands of people there.”
A Soviet missile defense system, Duga Radar, stands above the town at an incredible 150m height and 750m length.
Just beside the missile defense system, there’s a huge power plant which was constructed to power the radar as well as the people who lived in the town.
Speaking of why Chernobyl has become a tourist fascination, Martin said: “It is so popular because it is falling apart.
“It’s not like Disneyland which will be there in 20 years. You have to go now, because in five or 10 years it might not be there.”
Martin who has made 13 visits to ‘The Zone’ adds how the place undergoes a total transformation in winter.
He said: “In the winter it is just you and your group, that is when you get the feeling that is out of this world. There is no phone signal, you can’t make or receive calls, there is no internet.
“You’re just standing outside, your phone is useless there is no people, you feel like the world is out there but you’re not part of it.
“Everything there feels different. It’s like imagining a future without people or after world war three.
“This is a place where you can actually see what would happen to civilization if we just weren’t there and if we just disappeared completely.
“Combined with that out of this world feeling, it’s just amazing.
“You travel back to the cold war era and you can see exactly what it looked like. We found newspapers in post boxes and menus from restaurants from the very day of the catastrophe.
“You can find a lot of things like toothbrushes and things like that from people’s flats. On one side it is super cool but on the other it is really scary.
“It’s like ‘what would happen if we were not here’ and you’re just exploring it.”
If you think Chernobyl is still a dangerous place, you’re not wrong.
However, a new ‘sarcophagus’ created around the exploded reactor by an international conglomerate has greatly reduced the background radiations in the area.
“Radiation is actually not higher than in Kiev or any other capital in Europe,” Martin said.
“After the explosion it was bad, and during the liquidation. However, after the new sarcophagus was built, there’s not that much radiation
“The safest place is about 150 – 200 meters from the exploded reactor because that’s where the workers are. If they feel safe, I feel safe there.”
Still, there are a lot of rules to visit the devastated region. Tourists aren’t allowed to eat or drink, and they must wear long trousers and long-sleeved shirts.
They also have to go through regular radiation checks while passing the checkpoints in the exclusion zone.
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