Benoit Balanca Photography » Chernobyl-Tour

The promotional text in the Kyiv in your pocket guidebook has an interesting pitch : “It is notevery trip abroad you get a chanceto visit the world’s worst nuclearaccident.”

Two hours drive from Kiev, theChernobyl Exclusion Zone is officiallyclosed to the public. However, a number of tour operators offer Chernobyl tours, for about $150 – escorted by a guide from the ChernobylInterinform (government agency responsible for site management), the curious may roam the area.

After two hours drive and three check points, we reach the abandonedbuildings of Pripyat – a model Soviet town built in 1970, which lasted foronly sixteen years. Nine people, onedriver, and a guide in a ghost city, set out to see the ruins of Reactor No. 4,with Geiger counters in hand.

“You are visitors,” our guide Maxime explains that tourism is prohibited in the area, only visits are allowed – that is the officialline. “Tourism is for having fun, no barbecues in the forbidden zone.”

This work is also available here and here.