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A Real Life Post-Apocalyptic Wasteland…
Chernobyl Photos by Michael Day

Every once in a while, my mind goes places I don’t want it to – somewhere dark, helpless and terrifying. Once of those places is very real, and hidden at the same time – a world where nuclear disaster has struck, leaving invisible traces on the health of humankind. Fukushima is leaking radiation as we speak – and it is drifting across the ocean towards my home. The seeds of cancer have been sewn in us all; when will my seed sprout and grow? When my mind goes here, I have to tell it to shut the fuck up. Let me live in my little world, let me enjoy the life I have left. The pictures below are of a more overt nature; they show the town of Pripyat, Ukraine, left as a monument to the destructive powers of humanity. We are destroying ourselves, and every once in a while I need to remind myself of that. But that doesn’t take away from what I am able create on this planet, even if I only influence my own little bubble…

via The Telegraph

Haunting images of a once-busy city now abandoned and preserved in time look like a scene from a post-apocalyptic horror film. Pripyat city in the Ukraine once housed the families of thousands of men and women working at the nearby Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. But on 26 April 1986, disaster struck when an explosion at the plant caused radiation to leak from its nuclear reactor.

The 50,000 residents of Pripyat – now a ghost town – were evacuated in a major government operation starting the day after the catastrophe, on April 27. Now more than 25 years after the city was emptied, it stands untouched from the day everyone left. 

Amateur British photographer Michael Day, 29, an air traffic controller from London who works in Aberdeen, Scotland, visited the disaster scene with a Ukrainian government escort to photograph the ghost town.

“It really felt like the town had just stopped in 1986,” he said. “It was like a living museum. The years of neglect and abandon mean that vegetation has grown unchecked for 26 years, meaning Pripyat is now contained inside a forest. 

While it is illegal to take items in or out of Pripyat, because of fears of spreading the radioactive contamination, a few graffiti artists still manage to sneak in. “There are animal tracks now and again, ranging from birds to fox tracks” said Michael. “The escort told us that wolves had been sighted once. There is also evidence of vandalism but no squatters. It is unclear how people have entered Pripyat unsupervised, perhaps long ago before stricter controls on the exclusion zone were enforced.”

After leaving, all visitors granted access are scanned for absorbed doses of radiation. Michael said: “If the safe dose is exceeded, your belongings are removed they give you a chemical shower.”

An abandoned room inside the Soviet-era Palace of Culture

An abandoned room inside the Soviet-era Palace of Culture

The front desk at the abandoned Hotel Pripyat

The front desk at the abandoned Hotel Pripyat

Ukranian government escort looks at the deserted city from the hotel roof

Ukranian government escort looks at the deserted city from the hotel roof

Damaged boxing ring at the Soviet Palace of Culture

Damaged boxing ring at the Soviet Palace of Culture

While it is illegal to take items in or out of Pripyat, because of fears of spreading the radioactive contamination, a few graffiti artists still manage to sneak in. "There are animal tracks now and again, ranging from birds to fox tracks" said Michael. "The escort told us that wolves had been sighted once. There is also evidence of vandalism but no squatters. It is unclear how people have entered Pripyat unsupervised, perhaps long ago before stricter controls on the exclusion zone were enforced."

While it is illegal to take items in or out of Pripyat, because of fears of spreading the radioactive contamination, a few graffiti artists still manage to sneak in. “There are animal tracks now and again, ranging from birds to fox tracks” said Michael. “The escort told us that wolves had been sighted once. There is also evidence of vandalism but no squatters. It is unclear how people have entered Pripyat unsupervised, perhaps long ago before stricter controls on the exclusion zone were enforced.”

The former main square of the city

The former main square of the city

Concrete road-sign that reads 'Pripyat'

Concrete road-sign that reads ‘Pripyat’

The deserted sports hall

The deserted sports hall

An abandoned ferris wheel and a merry go round at the Soviet Palace of Culture

An abandoned ferris wheel and a merry go round at the Soviet Palace of Culture

Snow-covered dodgems at the fairground

Snow-covered dodgems at the fairground

A bicycle frame inside the hallway of the abandoned Pripyat Hospital

A bicycle frame inside the hallway of the abandoned Pripyat Hospital

Headless mannequin found at a general store

Headless mannequin found at a general store

Soviet propaganda mural inside the Palace of Culture

Soviet propaganda mural inside the Palace of Culture

An abandoned sports hall near the Soviet Palace of Culture

An abandoned sports hall near the Soviet Palace of Culture

The main lift of Hotel Pripyat

The main lift of Hotel Pripyat

An abandoned medical examination room in the hospital, littered with medical instruments

An abandoned medical examination room in the hospital, littered with medical instruments

A hotel room with a newspaper from the day before the accident

A hotel room with a newspaper from the day before the accident

A Ukranian government escort walks in a corridor on the seventh floor of Hotel Pripyat

A Ukranian government escort walks in a corridor on the seventh floor of Hotel Pripyat

A Soviet-era memorial near the Number 4 reactor

A Soviet-era memorial near the Number 4 reactor

Daily roster at the deserted hospital

Daily roster at the deserted hospital

Hotel window

Hotel window

Written By

Meghan MacRae grew up in Vancouver, Canada, but spent many years living in the remote woods. Living in the shadow of grizzly bears, cougars and the other predators of the wilderness taught her about the dark side of nature, and taught her to accept her place in nature's order as their prey. She is co-founder of CVLT Nation.

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