Chernobyl is Becoming a Surprise Tourism Hot Spot
Photo courtesy of Thinkstock
When you mention the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant near Pripyat, Ukraine, its forces people to remember one of the worst nuclear accidents the world has ever seen.
Now instead of avoiding the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone and the radioactivity in the area, travelers from around the world are venturing into the zone around the power plant with the help of several tour firms.
As hard as it is to imagine journeying to Chernobyl for a vacation, Anita Isalska of CNN.com is reporting a boom in tourism to the area. While the tours are extremely strict and security checks are frequent, a steady stream of people continues to visit the area surrounding the nuclear meltdown.
There are still serious risks associated with visiting the area. The radioactivity of objects and vegetation is high enough for tour guides to warn against touching them, Isalska reports, but the reward is visiting a city that was completely abandoned following the meltdown.
The residents of Pripyat simply picked up their belongings and left the city, leaving it a relic of the past frozen in time. The city used to be part of the U.S.S.R., and there are signs of a communist-led government all over the area.
While there are remnants of the old government, there are also plenty of modern amenities and facilities that also sit abandoned. From an amusement park with a Ferris wheel and bumper cars to a grocery store with shopping carts, there are signs of a former active community everywhere.
The haunting graffiti that is found all over the abandoned city can leave a lasting impression on visitors, but there are still people who have defied the government and live in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.
Add in the fact that the local place of worship, St. Elijah Church, is still operational, and not all of the area is completely abandoned.
It’s not your typical summer vacation, but an adventure to the site of one of the worst nuclear disasters in history would be an once-in-a-lifetime trip.
More by Donald Wood
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