Thanks in part to the HBO series Chernobyl. Thanks to him, many Western travelers learned about the Chernobyl adventure, which means that with the opening of borders, the number of people entering the ChEZ can significantly increase.
In 2018, more than 70 thousand tourists purchased vouchers to Pripyat. In 2019 - more than 120 thousand. In 2020, demand was expected to grow by another 30-40%, but the pandemic has made its own adjustments. Now tour operators are ready to send up to 500-600 people daily to this place. The main tourist season lasts from March to November. In winter, you can also buy vouchers to Chernobyl from Kiev, but the demand for them falls sharply: on the average tour go 70-100 visitors a day.
The exclusion zone is home to many wild animals. If precautions are taken, these animals do not pose a danger to people. The main thing is not to try to scare the beast. Do not run towards him, do not try to pet his cubs. In general, the meetings of travelers and animals are quite calm and friendly: those who enter feed the moose, watch foxes and wild boars.
Some forest dwellers even managed to become real celebrities of the ChEZ. For example, Nikita, a lured and tamed fox. For a long time this animal has been considered a local attraction: its images are actively printed on magnets and souvenirs. The most frequent question after "How to get to the power plant?" - "Where can I see the fox?".
The only ones that can be dangerous are raccoon dogs. However, they don’t attack the excursion groups. They usually show aggression towards self-settlers - people who returned to their old homes after an accident. With them, animals are trying to share the territory, sometimes not in the most humane ways.
The main purpose of the trip
The first point of a standard tourist tour is the city of Chernobyl. The radiation level is normal. The city is considered residential - here live shift workers who serve the administrative structures. Attractions: city stele and memorial park "Star Wormwood".
Chernobyl is followed by a 10-kilometer exclusion zone, where is located all the most interesting. For example, a secret Soviet object - the military antenna of the "Duga" system and the "Pripyat" stele, which often appears in films and TV series.
Pripyat is the main goal of most trips. Before the accident, about 50 thousand people lived here. And in April 1986, the entire population was evacuated in a few hours. Today the city is empty and resembles some kind of post-apocalyptic world from a Hollywood movie: abandoned houses, shops and schools; abandoned things; deserted streets.
Guides require tourists to strictly follow the rules:
- All visitors are required to wear closed clothes and shoes.
- It is needed to be quiet and not attract attention,when the group goes through the excursion program.
- It is not allowed to take out any found items, only purchased souvenirs.
- It is forbidden to smoke outside of the specially designated areas, sit and lie on the ground, eat local mushrooms and berries, and drink water from open sources.
- It is obligatory to pass the dosimetric control after the excursion .
Official entry into the ChEZ is available only to persons over 18 years of age. There are no special health requirements. It is not necessary to have good physical preparation, but it is desirable.
Is it dangerous to be in the exclusion zone?
Back in 2000, a number of independent scientific commissions recognized the Chernobyl exclusion zone as harmless. We came to the conclusion that the air is clean, and people can be let in, since a significant part of radioactive elements went into the ground or disintegrated.
The radiation that a person receives during the trip is not more than the dose that aircraft passengers are exposed to get a standard one and a half an hour flight. Going even on a week-long tour, you do not risk your own health. However, when you leave, the checkpoint staff will still carry out dosimetric control to make sure that everything is in ok with you.
Although the number of self-settlers has increased in recent years, it is still not recommended to live near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. It's all about the "spotty" pollution - the places where the liquidators' equipment was stationed and the main work was carried out.
Let us repeat: there is no threat during a regime stay in the ChEZ. But, despite the fact that there are no exorbitant levels of radiation, you will still not be able to freely walk around the object without a guide. There are also strict rules and regulations for automotive programs. There are special vouchers to Chernobyl on your own car, but for that you will need to take separate permissions and passes for the car, undergo extended dosimetric control when you leave the facility.
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