Pripyat is an abandoned city in northern Ukraine, near the border with Belarus. The ghost town was named after the nearby Pripyat River. The city was evacuated after the explosion of the nearby Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.

The town was founded on 4 February 1970 as a nuclear city in the Soviet Union. It housed both employees of the nearby Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant and the builders of the city. Eventually, Pripyat was officially declared a city in 1979. The town had a population of 49 thousand people in 1985.

The average age in Pripyat was about 26 years old. It had 15 kindergartens and elementary schools for 4.980 children, and 5 secondary schools for 6.786 students. There were 25 stores and malls, many cafés, cafeterias, and restaurants that collectively could serve up to 5.535 customers. Also, Pripyat had 10 warehouses that could hold 4.430 tons of goods.

Chernobyl disaster

On the night of April 26, 1986, the Chernobyl disaster unfolded when the No. 4 reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, located near the city of Pripyat in the north of the Ukrainian SSR (now part of Ukraine), exploded. Surprisingly, Pripyat was not immediately evacuated. Instead, residents continued their usual activities in the early morning hours, unaware of the catastrophe. However, within a few hours of the explosion, dozens of people fell ill, experiencing severe headaches, metallic tastes in their mouths, and uncontrollable fits of coughing and vomiting. Due to the plant’s management by authorities in Moscow, the Ukrainian government did not promptly receive information about the accident.

On 27 April, at 11 o’clock in the morning, the first buses had arrived in Pripyat to start the evacuation. To speed up the evacuation, the government told the residents to bring only what was necessary, and that they would remain evacuated for not more than three days. As a result, most personal belongings were left behind, and remain there today.


From 1986 until 1988 the city of Slavutych was constructed to replace Pripyat. In fact, it was built intentionally for the evacuated personnel of the Power Plant. Today, this is the second-largest city for accommodating power plant workers and scientists in the Russian Commonwealth.

Although Pripyat is located within the administrative district of Ivankivs’kyi district, the abandoned city is part of the larger Kyiv province and is administered directly from Kyiv. Pripyat is also supervised by Ukraine’s Ministry of Emergencies, which manages activities for the entire Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.

I visited the exclusion zone in 2014 and 2015. More reports on Chernobyl, are on my other website:

Built 1970
Abandoned 1986