Depending on the interests and temper of the person, there is a touristic destination he/she will join more. Especially when we talk about entertaining trips, we foresee an opportunity to have a good rest, charge, and motivate ourselves before the start of the new working period. But there are trips with different aims. One of them is exploring new places. Some destinations might sound exotic, so they catch the eye of the tourist not by their luxurious hotels and resorts area. They are organized to teach us something. Trips to Chernobyl are getting more and more popular among tourists from different countries and continents. They give travelers a chance to change their way of thinking and understand their place in the ecosystem.
Being allowed to visit since 2010, the CHNPP visit attracts different groups of people. At first, the most numerous group of visitors was presented by scientists from other countries, engaged in research and practical projects on the field of nuclear power. Then there was a turn for extreme-lovers, who would come to Chernobyl to challenge themselves. It’s necessary to mention that despite the restrictions, by 2010, the Exclusion Zone had been visited by numbers of illegal tourists, further known as stalkers (named after the famous computer game). Now, the audience has significantly changed, and among visitors, you can find different age groups of people with different interests and occupations.
So, is it safe now to visit Chernobyl? Many potential tourists ask themselves this question and still hesitate to choose this destination. The whole Chernobyl complex, open for visiting, is considered relatively safe. The radiation rate in Chernobyl city is even lower than in many modern capitals, which have never witnessed nuclear catastrophes. Though there are places with higher radiation rates in the touristic route, there the time of stay is strictly regulated to avoid any risks for health. Besides, all the visitors are equipped with dosimeters, so they can always make sure nothing threatens their lives. Only guided tours are possible to take. People under 18 and pregnant women are not allowed to visit the complex. The average dose of radiation a person faces during the trip can be compared to those of a long intercontinental flight.
Except for the concerns and myths about the dangers of Chernobyl, there’s one more reason some people haven’t explored this unique and mysterious destination. They simply lack information about the great locations they are going to visit within the trip. The Chernobyl PP is only one of the unforgettable locations to explore. So, let’s name the main of them.
1) The city of Pripyat
The phantom city near the Chernobyl Power Plant, abandoned in 1986 after the catastrophe occurred, represents a massive post-apocalyptic area with empty streets, houses, and other buildings. It’s the witness of how people used to live here before the tragedy, and the reminder that they will never come back. Within the tour to Pripyat, you’ll have a chance to see its amusement park and swimming pool, the hospital which faced the terrifying consequences of the man-made disaster, empty shops, and schools. You’ll see how now looks an ordinary Soviet city, left alone by its inhabitants forever.
2) The Death bridge
In spite of its terrifying name, now this place is completely safe and actually represents an ordinary pedestrian bridge that was used to connect the city of Pripyat to the Chernobyl Power Plant. During the occurrence of the nuclear catastrophe in 1986, massive radioactive clouds brought dust and other dangerous elements, that completely covered the bridge. It was a myth (of course, exaggerated) that everyone will die having passed this bridge. Now, it’s a numb metal construction silently reminding of those days.
3) Red forest
This forest, situated in the Exclusion Zone, has got its name because of the hot radioactive airwaves that once during the reactor explosion nearly burnt everything in it. All the leaves became brown in a couple of seconds, so people called the forest red or ginger-color. The dry trees were dangerous because of the radiation, but also could become a trigger for a new fire outbreak. That’s why a great part of the 10 square kilometers, the forest occupied, was totally wiped out and simply buried. Fortunately, after more than 30 years, we can witness the existence of the unique ecosystem there, which has become a homeland for many endangered species. Now, there can be seen animals and birds that have left the area since the 1920s till the disaster. Among the tourists looking for an opportunity to explore wildlife, Red forest is the ideal choice, as there have remained only a couple of places on Earth the flora and fauna can exist peacefully without the interference of humans.
4) Secret radar complex
Duga radar, or as it is officially called Chernobyl-2, is the unique construction and a symbol of the arms race during the Cold War. This radar mas used to detect the ballistic missiles, sent from North America. Consuming huge amounts of energy, it was built near the Chernobyl Power Plant to be always supplied by energy. The radar is not in use anymore, but its massive construction takes the breath of tourists and attracts base jumpers from all over the world. There are a lot of documentary films and journalistic reports about the origin, functions, and history of this secret object. A lot of myths are shared all over the world about Duga, also known as Steel Yard or the Russian Woodpecker because the material it’s made of and the sounds it used to produce while catching the signals.
5) Ship Cemetery
Another sad name stands for the abandoned port, where the ships having faced the radioactive pollutions have been brought together to find their last place to stay. Affected by corrosion and weather conditions, ships, barges, and other vessels, once used for transportation of potentially dangerous cargo, now rest in peace in the silent river harbor near Pripyat. This place is extremely fascinating for photographers and fans of post-apocalyptic literature.