Pripyat (city)

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Pripyat coat of arms
Pripyat (Ukraine)
Basic data
Oblast : Kiev Oblast
Rajon : District-free city
Height : 120 m
Area : 6 km²
Residents : 0 (in April 1986 still about 49,360)
Population density : 0 inhabitants per km²
Postcodes : 07215 (255614 to 1986), is out of order
Area code : +380 45-99 (+7 044-99 to 1986), is out of order
Geographic location : 51 ° 24 '  N , 30 ° 3'  E Coordinates: 51 ° 24 '20 "  N , 30 ° 3' 25"  E
KOATUU : 3211100000
Administrative structure : 1 city
Statistical information
Pripyat (Kiev Oblast)

Pripyat ( Ukrainian Прип'ять , Russian Припять Pripyat pronunciation ? / I : Pri (i) PJet) is now a ghost town in Rajon Ivankiv the Ukrainian Kiev Oblast , in 1970 in connection with the construction of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant established and as a result of the nuclear disaster in 1986 was evacuated. At the time of the disaster on April 26, 1986, around 49,360 people lived here, including around 15,500 children. The nuclear power plant was by far the largest employer for the urban population. Audio file / audio sample

As a replacement for Pripyat, the city of Slavutytsch was rebuilt after the disaster .


The city lies on the Pripyat River and is the closest settlement to the reactor at a distance of about four kilometers. This means that Pripyat lies in the middle of the uninhabitable 30-kilometer zone around the power plant.

View towards the Kulturpalast "Energetik"


In Pripyat there is still a fairground with a Ferris wheel and bumper cars . The hype was supposed to open on May 1, 1986, which was no longer due to the reactor disaster, as the city was evacuated on April 27, 1986. There is a swimming pool about one kilometer as the crow flies from the Volksfestplatz.

There was a huge junkyard near the reactor for a long time , because after the clean-up work and the construction of the sarcophagus, hundreds of vehicles (trucks, fire engines, helicopters, off-road vehicles) were so heavily contaminated that further use was impossible. Today this junkyard has been closed as part of the decontamination process, but the vehicles have not yet been disposed of because of their high level of radioactivity. However, many vehicles have been cannibalized by looters over time and some have even been removed ( see also: Situation today ).

History of the city

1970 to April 26, 1986

Street scene from April 1983
Place name sign with the year the city was founded

Pripyat was founded on February 4, 1970, and in 1979 the settlement received city status. The city was planned as a place of residence for the workers of Ukraine's first nuclear power plant - the Chernobyl nuclear reactor, named after the nearby small town of Chornobyl . The majority of the population consisted of workers and their families. As a result, the city grew rapidly. At the time of the disaster, Pripyat was a relatively rich and especially young city - the average age at the time of the disaster was around 26 years.

The city consists of five microdistricts that are grouped in a circle around the city center. The area is estimated to be 600 ha, on which there are 149 multi-storey buildings. The approximately 13,500 apartments cover an area of ​​approximately 520,000 m². Originally, Prypiat was supposed to grow to a population of up to 80,000 parallel to the expansion of the nuclear power plant - units 5 and 6 were already under construction. The expansion area to the northeast of the city is still visible today as a bare field, on which safety measures were carried out after the accident in order to largely prevent wind erosion of the contaminated soil.

Pripyat immediately after the accident

Due to the slow information and emergency management, Pripyat was only evacuated 36 hours after the reactor accident. As a result, many residents were exposed to high levels of radiation and suffered from long-term effects . Around noon on April 27, a short radio message was broadcast asking the population to prepare for a three-day absence. The evacuation started at 2 p.m. and was carried out with approx. 1200 buses within two and a half hours.

As a result of the accident, Pripyat was contaminated several times and by various radioactive substances. Thanks to favorable winds, however, the greatest contamination of the city by radioactive fallout did not take place until after the evacuation - between April 27 and 29.

Decontamination activities were carried out across the city, with the most extensive work taking place in micro-district 4. The work was undertaken in various stages and reduced the average level of radioactive contamination in the city of an estimated 0.2-0.4 m Gy / h to 0.028 mGy / h in December 1986th

Situation today

Pripyat in 2008

Since the residents were led to believe that they would be able to return home soon, many of the buildings are still in their original state. However, vandalism and looting did occur over time. Apartments were looted and damaged after the evacuation . In addition, there is an increasing risk that the growing tourism will leave its mark - in 2009, according to official information, there were already 7,500 people as tourists. The US American Forbes Magazine has already named Prypiat / Chernobyl as a travel destination in the “world's unique places to visit” category.

Checkpoint "Leliw" in the 10 km zone
Pripyat in 2013

The contaminated zone is still guarded by the militia today , only a few people still live in the area around the reactor. Most of them are members of the army, scientists or illegal residents, but most of them are tolerated. Pripyat can also be visited today as part of guided tours through the nuclear power plant, as the main roads have been decontaminated , which is not yet the case in the other areas of the city. Even today, Pripyat's infrastructure is preserved through constant construction work to provide traffic routes and electricity in the event of another accident in reactor 4 (e.g. the collapse of the sarcophagus). Around 4,000 workers are employed for this purpose, most of whom work in two-week shifts to prevent damage to health from hazardous radiation.

At the end of July 2011, the area around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant was finally opened to tourism. According to information from Spiegel Online , tourism experts assume up to one million visitors per year who want to pursue this type of “ extreme tourism ”. Representatives of the UN development program, which has been coordinating the site since 2004, welcomed this decision, as it would allow urgently needed investments to reach the region.

The HBO miniseries Chernobyl , which was broadcast from May to June 2019 and was very well received by the public, increased tourism in the region by a further 30 to 40 percent, according to the tourism organizers.

Against the background of increasing interest, the question arises how the city should be dealt with further. Because, on the one hand, the region will remain uninhabitable for an indefinite period due to the contamination with radioactive material - on the other hand, the place has become a symbol of the anti-nuclear power movement and is therefore a memorial , which means interesting discussions, especially for monument preservation . There are voices for taking the city to the World Heritage List of UNESCO .


Print media
  • Life is Golden - music video (2018) by British music group Suede
  • This Momentary - Music video (2009) by the British music group Delphic
  • Marooned - music video (2014) by British music group Pink Floyd
  • The Ghosts Of Pripyat - Music album (2015) by British musician Steve Rothery

Web links

Commons : Prypiat  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikivoyage: Pripyat  - travel guide

Individual evidence

  1. The city was evacuated as a result of the nuclear disaster and has been uninhabitable since then.
  2. a b c d EMRAS Urban Remediation Working Group: Scenario for modeling changes in radiological conditions in contaminated urban environments. 2006, p. 5.
  3. Yevgeny Leontyev, Pripyat in Numbers ( Memento of 27 July 2010 at the Internet Archive )., accessed April 26, 2016.
  4. Chernobyl Rescue Operation: The Vehicle Graveyard., October 19, 2009, accessed July 11, 2012 .
  5. a b c d The Pripyat city history . Retrieved March 8, 2011.
  6. From the village to the city of Pripyat. Retrieved March 8, 2020 .
  7. Near the cradles of Pripyat history ( Memento of February 9, 2011 in the Internet Archive )., accessed April 26, 2016.
  8. ^ Evacuation of Pripyat population . Retrieved March 8, 2011.
  9. a b EMRAS Urban Remediation Working Group: Scenario for modeling changes in radiological conditions in contaminated urban environments. 2006, p. 8.
  10. EMRAS Urban Remediation Working Group: Scenario for modeling changes in radiological conditions in contaminated urban environments. 2006, p. 9.
  11. EMRAS Urban Remediation Working Group: Scenario for modeling changes in radiological conditions in contaminated urban environments. 2006, pp. 9/10.
  12. a b Tourists flock to Chernobyl radiation zone ( Memento of March 18, 2011 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on March 8, 2011.
  13. Group trips to Chernobyl. ., accessed on July 31, 2011.
  14. ^ In underwear in the disaster area , on
  15. ^ Delphic : Delphic - This Momentary. (Video) Vimeo , accessed May 3, 2011 .
  16. Pink FLoyd: Pink Floyd - Marooned (Official Video). (Video) YouTube , accessed on February 25, 2015 .