Ukraine

Ukraine pictures. Galleries of Chernobyl, mankind's most serious nuclear disaster, and Kiev, an interesting Eastern European metropolis full of contrasts.

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Chernobyl

Teddy bear in an abandoned nursery school near the Chernobyl power plant

Many buildings can now be visited in the Chernobyl Zone with tour guides (who know which areas are safe to visit)

Broken glass and wrecked furniture - none of the most obvious signs of decay in Chernobyl were caused by the radiation (at least not directly), but by looters and time

Approaching Chernobyl Power Plant in the Zone of Alienation

Bunny (probably placed there afterwards) on Prypiat's merry-go-round

Abandoned room in a tower block in Prypiat, the town closest to the destroyed reactor

A book titled 'The sociological issues of raising children' next to a book by Lenin

Bumper cars in Prypiat's amusement park

In the battle between nature and man nature is winning in Chernobyl - tree growing on the 8th floor of a tower block

The ferris wheel in Prypiat (which was never used; it was to open a few days after the catastrophe happened) became one of the icons of the catastrophe used in films and video games portraying the area

Tiny shop serving those still working in the area

Sapling growing on top of a building out of seemingly zero soil.

Gym

Kitchen

A USSR coat-of-arms (the hammer and sickle symbolising the Soviet Union's industrial workers and peasants)

Lion in the nursery school

The main square of Prypiat is slowly being overgrown by plants

Socialist art

An 1985 issue of the Komsomol's Banner; the Komsomol was a youth organization of the Communist Party; the main article has 'Central Committee' and 'Soviet Minister' in its title

Prypiat, the proud atom city

A room still in use in the town of Chernobyl (where thousands of researchers and firefighters still work every day) - nevertheless, time appears to have stopped here 25 years ago

Old beds in the nursery school

The concrete sarcophagus (swiftly erected after the explosion to minimize the amount of escaped radioactivity) around Reactor 4 of the Chernobyl's Vladimir Ilyich Lenin Power Plant.

Monument marking the entrance to Prypiat, established in 1970 solely to house the workers of the Chernobyl Power Plant

Standing a few hundred metres from the destroyed power plant

The Zone of Alienation

Road rules are very important

Gym

Empty shelves

A shop in the Chernobyl Zone - everything's brought in from outside the Zone as local produce may contain dangerous doses of radioactivity

Pub & shop

The town of Pripyat. Population in 1985: about 50,000. Population in 2010: 0.

Goals to achieve

Prypiat's former swimming pool

Most vehicles used during the rescue operations still emit dangerous levels of radioactivity and will probably be never used again (though more and more of them are stolen from these vehicle graveyards to be sold as scrap-metal)

On the top floor

Only a shadow of the former might of the USSR

Strangely the ghost town of Prypiat's much more idyllic than eerie with its lush vegetation, lack of human-generated noise, singing birds and clear skies.

The residents of Prypiat weren't told about the incident for more than a day and a half (the explosion wasn't strong enough for them to notice), during which time they were exposed to high levels of radiation

At the entrance of the Chernobyl Zone: the zone's map (with the power plant marked with the radioactivity sign) with a comparison between 1986 and 2006 levels of Caesium-137 and Strontium-90 radioactivity (in most places the radiation is several orders of magnitude lower now than it was after the disaster)

Kiev

Kiev

At a branch of Puzata Khata (Пузата Хата), a chain of Ukrainian 'fast food' restaurants serving delicious and filling Ukrainian fare at low prices (here: cold chive soup, roast pork with cheese, roast beef with cheese and mushrooms, sour cream and cabbage salad for about £5 in total)

Kiev, the capital of the Ukraine (a former Soviet republic)

Kvas (квас), a drink made from fermented rye bread

Ads of a low-flying lawyer ('advokat')

One of the few remaining statues of Lenin in the Ukraine - it is now guarded by a tent of the (minority) Communist Party to protect it from people who may express their feelings against the former dictator by defacing his memorials

The Cyrillic alphabet has many letters that look very similar to our letters, except they are pronounced completely differently (e.g. the inverted N is pronounced like the English 'e' or 'i'). The sign here says ennij

Market hall with an odd, gigantic mural (an ad?).

Kiev Metro - one of the stations (Teatralna) still has quotes from Lenin (about communism and related subjects) along its walls

An entirely surreal scene: a young blonde woman modelling on the banks of the Dnieper with dozens of fishermen in shorts standing behind her

Hilltop view from the foot of Kiev's gigantic Mother Motherland statue

The fairly prosperous Obolon district with its newly-built buildings along the Dnieper river

The 80s now

Orthopedist to the right - learning the Cyrillic alphabet only takes a few days, and allows one to understand many of the myriad signs on the street

Kiev is not a great place for cyclists with its heavy traffic and lack of bike lanes, though riverside paths and the islands can be very pleasant

Peace tank?

Colorful painted tanks near of the Museum of the Great Patriotic War (as World War II is also known in the Ukraine), in front of Kiev's gigantic Motherland statue

Party like it's 1970

Industrial Romance

We rented bicycles here from one of the sheds - not exactly your usual bike rental experience :)

Try to guess what they're advertising. (The slogan said something like 'no job's too small')

Dairy product brand named after the Soviet cartoon Трое из Простоквашино, set in a village named after this (untranslatable) dairy product

Old sports centre on Trukhaniv Island (Труханів острів), a huge island (mostly covered by parkland and is ideal for strolling and cycling) on the Dnieper river

Ukrainian appetizers: pickled vegetables and mushrooms, plus bread with pork crackling cream (in an al fresco Ukrainian restaurant in the old Podil district)

Bus stop

Old Kiev bus

The Kiev skyline

Emerging from the subway on a slightly hypnotic escalator

Ukrainians usually eat a bite after downing a vodka — hence the gherkin


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