Chernobyl Journal #4: The Buildings on Lenin Square

This is part four of my travel photo journal to the Chernobyl zone of exclusion. Check out the Chernobyl Journal page for the full story, all pictures, videos and sounds.


Lenin Square

After letting us get a first impression and pictures of the square, Yuriy showed us the way into one of the old apartment blocks. I must have accidentally wandered into the wrong building, because most of the rooms were empty – almost no furniture and no personal belongings apart from occasional books and papers on the ground. He also warned us not to spend too much time in these blocks, “not for physical danger, but for emotional danger”; as opposed to other areas in the city, I didn’t find the blocks especially depressing or unsettling, as they consisted of mostly empty rooms with similar layouts.

Apartment Block EntranceApartment Block StaircaseKitchenApartment Block Corridor 1Apartment Block Corridor 2Box and Shoe
Apartment Block Corridor 3Living RoomYesterday's MagazinesApartment Block Corridor 4Mailboxes
Apartment building (11 pics): Flickr set | Flickr slideshow

Underneath the apartment block was a former supermarket, which was used as a storage for a lot of furniture. About the size of a gym hall, it was well-lit and contained an immense number of cupboards and shelves, as well as more interesting items such as cash registers, sewing machines and musical instruments (including a smashed bass).

Shop Entrance4_00.00Cash DeskFame in Fight Song and VictorySewing Machines 1Pump up the Bass
Sewing Machines 2Shop PianoShop RubbishStocked FurnitureBird CageEverything You'll Ever Need
Pripyat Shop (13 pics): Flickr set | Flickr slideshow

After the shop, I spent some time wandering around the central square with Yuriy, while discussing the causes of the accident. The sidewalks and streets were all covered with moss, off-white grass, wild trees and thorny bushes full of wrinkled rosehips that Pripyat’s mayor wanted to have planted before the accident (“one rose for every citizen”). Yuriy showed me the entrance to the Hotel Polyssia, its main attraction being the spectacular view from the top floor: A surprisingly clean, covered terrasse, layed out with large white tiles. A beautiful, peaceful detail: a small birch tree, growing out of the middle of the room.

Hotel OutsideHotel EntranceHotel TreeHotel LobbyHotel RestaurantRed Room
Wooden FloorHotel Kitchen 1Hotel Kitchen 2Hotel Top Floor 1Hotel Top Floor 2Hotel Top Floor 3
Hotel Top Floor 4Lenin SquareApartment Blocks on Lenin SquareReactor 4 over the Roofs of Pripyat 1Reactor 4 over the Roofs of Pripyat 2Hammer & Sicle
Hotel Polissya (19 pics): Flickr set | Flickr slideshow

Our group reunited at the Palace of Culture, a building that was dedicated to sports, education and culture. It featured a stage (with rather loose floorboards), a gymnasium, a library (its contents now mostly floor-based) and several large meeting rooms. It must have been a beautiful place before the accident. Visiting it was a strange experience, not only because of the urban exploration aspect, but because I had played the Pripyat level in the Call of Duty 4 game shortly before the trip. The Palace of Culture is one of the buildings featured in the game, so I was visiting a place that I knew virtually.

Palace of Culture FrontPalace of Culture EntrancePalace of Culture Gym 1Palace of Culture LobbyPalace of Culture StagePalace of Culture Columns
Palace of Culture Gym 2Palace of Culture LibraryHotel Polissya from the Palace of CulturePalace of Culture PanoramaPalace of Culture HallPalace of Culture Stairs 1
Palace of Culture Stairs 2Palace of Culture BacksidePalace of Culture Backside -3Palace of Culture Backside -2Political Posters 1Political Posters 2
Palace of Culture Theater 1Palace of Culture Theater 2Palace of Culture Backside -1
Palace of Culture (21 pics): Flickr set | Flickr slideshow

Map of this Journal Entry

(Chernobyl Journal is continued in part 5)

2 Comments Add Yours

  1. Brad P. from NJ

    A-mazing… I’m going to have spend a few days just going through the albums… so much content, so many amazing photos. So much drama in every shot. Thanks for taking these pics.

  2. Timm

    Thank you Brad! That’s about a third of the pictures so far… a lot more to come over the next weeks.


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