35 Years After Chernobyl – What the City of Pripyat Looks Like Today

Building on the Ashes of the Past

Modern day Slavutych (Photo: Shutterstock)

In autumn 1986, less than 50 kilometers from Chernobyl, construction began on a new Atomic City named Slavutych. Eight districts of the Soviet Union were given a section of the city to build, but first, about two meters of uncontaminated soil had to be put down on the proposed site as a buffer to the irradiated soil. It wasn’t enough soil to grow crops on, but enough to protect the population from the radioactive material that had settled into the ground. Produce still had to be imported from truly uncontaminated zones.

The eight quarters of Slavutych have distinctly different aesthetics. Ranging from utilitarian Russian to wooden one-story cabins, each district brings elements from the region for which they were named. Tbilisi district features central Asian tiles commonly found in Georgia (the nation, not the state), while the Yerevansky quarter is full of pink structures made from tuff rock, inspired by Armenia’s architecture.