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Why visit Chernobyl?
Visiting Chernobyl, the site of the world’s worst ever nuclear disaster is something you should certainly consider when visiting Ukraine. Tourists have been able to visit the Chernobyl site and the ghost city of Prypiat since 2011 and on average 20,000 people visit every year.
It is important to know that you can only visit Chernobyl when travelling with a professional licensed guide. It would not be safe or wise to attempt to explore the area on your own as there are still areas that are classed as high risk. The risk is not necessarily from the radiation which is present but also from the dilapidated buildings caused by the explosion and the lack of maintenance following the evacuation in 1986.
People have many reasons for wanting to visit Chernobyl. The recent, award winning HBO show brought the area back in to the attention of many in the west and has undoubtedly led to an increase in tourist numbers. The local authorities have also done an excellent job in preventing tours to the site and that of the city of Prypiat becoming a voyeuristic experience. There is a focus on education and understanding. Some may see touring Chernobyl as some kind of perverse pilgrimage and there have been instances of areas of the exclusion zone being used for filming post-apoplectic scenes for movies and music videos.
However, if you do want to see the site of one of the world largest man made ecological disasters, you should visit. You can expect to gain an understanding of the complex chain of events that led to the explosion, and the impacts that this has had on the generations that followed. It is a hauntingly stark place that will be forever etched in to the conscious of anyone who visits. It may well change your outlook on our place within the delicate ecosystem of this planet and how technology can be both a blessing and a curse.