Chernobyl's Old City Hall building
Location of Chernobyl in Ukraine
|Raion|| Chernobyl Raion (1923–1988)|
Ivankiv Raion (1988-2020)
Vyshhorod Raion (since 2020)
|• Administration||State Agency of Ukraine on the Exclusion Zone Management|
Chernobyl ( // , UK: // , Russian : Чернобыль), also known as Chornobyl (Ukrainian : Чорнобиль, romanized: Chornobyl'; Polish : Czarnobyl), is a partially abandoned city in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, situated in the Vyshhorod Raion of northern Kyiv Oblast, Ukraine. Chernobyl is about 90 kilometres (60 mi) north of Kyiv, and 160 kilometres (100 mi) southwest of the Belarusian city of Gomel. Before its evacuation, the city had about 14,000 residents, while around 1,000 people live in the city today.
First mentioned as a ducal hunting lodge in 1193, the city has changed hands multiple times over the course of history. Jews were introduced to the city in the 16th century, and a now-defunct monastery was established near the city in 1626. By the end of the 18th century, Chernobyl was a major centre of Hasidic Judaism under the Twersky Dynasty, who left Chernobyl after the city was subject to pogroms in the early 20th century. The Jewish community was later murdered during the Holocaust. Chernobyl was chosen as the site of Ukraine's first nuclear power plant in 1972, located 15 kilometres (9 mi) north of the city, which opened in 1977. Chernobyl was evacuated on 5 May 1986, nine days after a catastrophic nuclear disaster at the plant, which was the largest nuclear disaster in history. Along with the residents of the nearby city of Pripyat, which was built as a home for the plant's workers, the population was relocated to the newly built city of Slavutych, and most have never returned.
The city was the administrative centre of Chernobyl Raion (district) from 1923. After the disaster, in 1988, the raion was dissolved and administration was transferred to the neighbouring Ivankiv Raion. Following the administrative reform of 18 July 2020, the city became part of Vyshhorod Raion.
Although Chernobyl is primarily a ghost town today, a small number of people still live there, in houses marked with signs that read, "Owner of this house lives here",and a small number of animals live there as well. Workers on watch and administrative personnel of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone are also stationed in the city. The city has two general stores and a hotel.
The city's name is the same as one of the Ukrainian names for Artemisia vulgaris , mugwort or common wormwood, which is Ukrainian : чорнобиль, romanized: chornóbyl' (or more commonly полин звичайнийpolýn zvycháynyy, 'common artemisia'). The name is inherited from Proto-Slavic *čьrnobylъ or Proto-Slavic *čьrnobyl, a compound of Proto-Slavic *čьrnъ 'black' + Proto-Slavic *bylь 'grass', the parts related to Ukrainian: чорний, romanized: chórnyy, lit. 'black' and билоbyló, 'stalk', so named in distinction to the lighter-stemmed wormwood A. absinthium .
The name in languages used nearby is:
The name in languages formerly used in the area is:
The Polish Geographical Dictionary of the Kingdom of Poland of 1880–1902 states that the time the city was founded is not known.
Some older geographical dictionaries and descriptions of modern Eastern Europe mention "Czernobol" (Chernobyl) with reference to Ptolemy's world map (2nd century CE). Czernobol is identified as Azagarium [uk], "oppidium Sarmatiae" (Lat., "a city in Sarmatia"), by the 1605 Lexicon geographicum of Filippo Ferrariand the 1677 Lexicon Universale of Johann Jakob Hofmann. According to the Dictionary of Ancient Geography of Alexander Macbean (London, 1773), Azagarium is "a town of Sarmatia Europaea, on the Borysthenes" (Dnieper), 36° East longitude and 50°40' latitude. The city is "now supposed to be Czernobol, a town of Poland, in Red Russia [ Red Ruthenia], in the Palatinate of Kiow [see Kiev Voivodeship], not far from the Borysthenes."
Whether Azagarium is indeed Czernobol is debatable. The question of Azagarium's correct location was raised in 1842 by Habsburg-Slovak historian, Pavel Jozef Šafárik, who published a book titled "Slavic Ancient History" ("Sławiańskie starożytności"), where he claimed Azagarium to be the hill of Zaguryna, which he found on an old Russian map "Bolzoj czertez" (Big drawing)[ dubious ] near the city of Pereiaslav, now in central Ukraine.
In 2019, Ukrainian architect Boris Yerofalov-Pylypchak published a book, Roman Kyiv or Castrum Azagarium at Kyiv-Podil .
The archaeological excavations that were conducted in 2005–2008 found a cultural layer from the 10–12th centuries CE, which predates the first documentary mention of Chernobyl.
Around the 12th century Chernobyl was part of the land of Kievan Rus′. The first known mention of the settlement as Chernobyl is from an 1193 charter, which describes it as a hunting lodge of Knyaz Rurik Rostislavich. [ clarification needed ] The Chernobyl residents actively supported the Khmelnytsky Uprising (1648–1657).In 1362 it was a crown village of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Around that time the town had own castle which was ruined at least on two occasions in 1473 and 1482. The Chernobyl castle was rebuilt in the first quarter of the 16th century being located nearby the settlement in a hard to reach area. With revival of the castle, Chernobyl became a county seat. In 1552 it accounted for 196 buildings with 1,372 residents, out of which over 1,160 were considered city dwellers. In the city were developing various crafts professions such as blacksmith, cooper among others. Near Chernobyl has been excavated bog iron, out of which was produced iron. The village was granted to Filon Kmita, a captain of the royal cavalry, as a fiefdom in 1566. Following the Union of Lublin, the province where Chernobyl is located was transferred to the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland in 1569. Under the Polish Crown, Chernobyl became a seat of eldership (starostwo). During that period Chernobyl was inhabited by Ukrainian peasants, some Polish people and a relatively large number of Jews. Jews were brought to Chernobyl by Filon Kmita, during the Polish campaign of colonization. The first mentioning of Jewish community in Chernobyl is in the 17th century. In 1600 in the city was built the first kosciol (Polish word for the Roman Catholic church). Local population was persecuted for holding Eastern Orthodox rite services. The traditionally Eastern Orthodox Ukrainian peasantry around the town were forcibly converted, by Poland, to the Ruthenian Uniate Church. In 1626, during the Counter-reformation, a Dominican church and monastery were founded by Lukasz Sapieha. A group of Old Catholics opposed the decrees of the Council of Trent.
With the signing of the Truce of Andrusovo in 1667, Chernobyl was secured after[ dubious ] the Sapieha family. Sometime in the 18th century, the place was passed on to the Chodkiewicz family. In the mid-18th century the area around Chernobyl was engulfed in a number of peasant riots, which caused Prince Riepnin to write from Warsaw to Major General Krechetnikov, requesting hussars to be sent from Kharkiv to deal with the uprising near Chernobyl in 1768. By the end of the 18th century, the town accounted for 2,865 residents and had 642 buildings.
Following the Second Partition of Poland, in 1793 Chernobyl was annexed by the Russian Empireand became part of Radomyshl county ( uyezd ) as a supernumerary town ("zashtatny gorod"). Many of the Uniate Church converts returned to Eastern Orthodoxy.
In 1832, following the failed Polish November Uprising, the Dominican monastery was sequestrated. The church of the Old Catholics was disbanded in 1852.
Until the end of the 19th century, Chernobyl was a privately owned city that belonged to the Chodkiewicz family. In 1896 they sold the city to the state, but until 1910 they owned a castle and a house in the city.
In the second half of the 18th century, Chernobyl became a major centre of Hasidic Judaism. The Chernobyl Hasidic dynasty had been founded by Rabbi Menachem Nachum Twersky. The Jewish population suffered greatly from pogroms in October 1905 and in March–April 1919; many Jews were killed or robbed at the instigation of the Russian nationalist Black Hundreds. When the Twersky Dynasty left Chernobyl in 1920, it ceased to exist as a center of Hasidism.
Chernobyl had a population of 10,800 in 1898, including 7,200 Jews. In the beginning of March 1918Chernobyl was occupied in World War I by German forces (see Treaty of Brest-Litovsk).
Ukrainians and Bolsheviks fought over the city in the ensuing Civil War. In the Polish–Soviet War of 1919–20, Chernobyl was taken first by the Polish Army and then by the cavalry of the Red Army. From 1921 onwards, it was officially incorporated into the Ukrainian SSR.
Between 1929 and 1933, Chernobyl suffered from killings during Stalin's collectivization campaign. It was also affected by the famine that resulted from Stalin's policies.The Polish and German community of Chernobyl was deported to Kazakhstan in 1936, during the Frontier Clearances.
During World War II, Chernobyl was occupied by the German Army from 25 August 1941 to 17 November 1943. The Jewish community was murdered during the Holocaust.
In 1972, the Duga-1 radio receiver, part of the larger Duga over-the-horizon radar array, began construction 11 km (6.8 mi) west-northwest of Chernobyl. It was the origin of the Russian Woodpecker and was designed as part of an anti-ballistic missile early warning radar network.
On 15 August 1972, the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant (officially the Vladimir Ilyich Lenin Nuclear Power Plant) began construction about 15 km (9.3 mi) northwest of Chernobyl. The plant was built alongside Pripyat, an "atomograd" city founded on 4 February 1970 that was intended to serve the nuclear power plant. The decision to build the power plant was adopted by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the Council of Ministers of the Soviet Union on recommendations of the State Planning Committee that the Ukrainian SSR be its location. It was the first nuclear power plant to be built in Ukraine.
With the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Chernobyl remained part of Ukraine within the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone which Ukraine inherited from the Soviet Union.
On 26 April 1986, one of the reactors at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant exploded after unsanctioned experiments on the reactor by plant operators were done improperly. The resulting loss of control was due to design flaws of the RBMK reactor, which made it unstable when operated at low power, and prone to thermal runaway where increases in temperature increase reactor power output.
Chernobyl city was evacuated nine days after the disaster. The level of contamination with caesium-137 was around 555 kBq/m2 (surface ground deposition in 1986).
Later analyses concluded that, even with very conservative estimates, relocation of the city (or of any area below 1500 kBq/m2) could not be justified on the grounds of radiological health.This however does not account for the uncertainty in the first few days of the accident about further depositions and weather patterns. Moreover, an earlier short-term evacuation could have averted more significant doses from short-lived isotope radiation (specifically iodine-131, which has a half-life of about eight days). Estimates of health effects are a subject of some controversy, see Effects of the Chernobyl disaster.
In 1998, average caesium-137 doses from the accident (estimated at 1–2 mSv per year) did not exceed those from other sources of exposure.Current effective caesium-137 dose rates as of 2019 are 200–250 nSv/h, or roughly 1.7–2.2 mSv per year, which is comparable to the worldwide average background radiation from natural sources.
The base of operations for the administration and monitoring of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone was moved from Pripyat to Chernobyl. Chernobyl currently contains offices for the State Agency of Ukraine on the Exclusion Zone Management and accommodations for visitors. Apartment blocks have been repurposed as accommodations for employees of the State Agency. The length of time that workers may spend within the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone is restricted by regulations that have been implemented to limit radiation exposure. Today, visits are allowed to Chernobyl but limited by strict rules.
In 2003, the United Nations Development Programme launched a project, called the Chernobyl Recovery and Development Programme (CRDP), for the recovery of the affected areas.The main goal of the CRDP's activities is supporting the efforts of the Government of Ukraine to mitigate the long-term social, economic, and ecological consequences of the Chernobyl disaster.
The city has become overgrown and many types of animals live there. According to census information collected over an extended period of time, it is estimated that more mammals live there now than before the disaster.
Chernobyl has a humid continental climate (Dfb) with very warm, wet summers with cool nights and long, cold, and snowy winters.
|Climate data for Chernobyl, 127 m asl (1981–2010 normals)|
|Record high °C (°F)||11.5|
|Average high °C (°F)||−0.7|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||−3.6|
|Average low °C (°F)||−6.3|
|Record low °C (°F)||−29.7|
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||42.2|
|Average precipitation days||9.94||10.17||7.68||9.24||11.09||12.87||12.00||8.75||11.15||8.75||10.29||10.78||122.71|
|Source: Météo Climat|
Pripyat or Prypiat is a ghost town in northern Ukraine, near the Ukraine–Belarus border. Named after the nearby river Pripyat, the town was founded on February 4, 1970, as the ninth "atomgrad", a type of closed town in the Soviet Union, to serve the nearby Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. It was officially proclaimed a city in 1979 and had grown to a population of 49,360 by the time it was evacuated on the afternoon of 27 April 1986, the day after the Chernobyl disaster.
The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Zone of Alienation is an officially designated exclusion zone around the site of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor disaster. It is also commonly known as the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, the 30 Kilometre Zone, or simply The Zone.
The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant (ChNPP), officially the Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov Lenin Nuclear Power Plant, is a closed nuclear power plant located near the abandoned city of Pripyat in northern Ukraine, 16.5 kilometers (10 mi) northwest of the city of Chernobyl, 16 kilometers (10 mi) from the Belarus–Ukraine border, and about 100 kilometers (62 mi) north of Kyiv. The plant was cooled by an engineered pond, which is fed by the Pripyat River about 5 kilometers (3 mi) northwest from its juncture with the Dnieper.
The Chernobyl disaster was a nuclear accident that occurred on Saturday 26 April 1986, at the No. 4 reactor in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, near the city of Pripyat in the north of the Ukrainian SSR in the Soviet Union. It is considered the worst nuclear disaster in history both in terms of cost and casualties, and is one of only two nuclear energy accidents rated at seven—the maximum severity—on the International Nuclear Event Scale, the other being the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan. The initial emergency response, together with later decontamination of the environment, ultimately involved more than 500,000 personnel and cost an estimated 18 billion Soviet rubles—roughly US$68 billion in 2019, adjusted for inflation.
The 1986 Chernobyl disaster triggered the release of substantial amounts of radioactive contamination into the atmosphere in the form of both particulate and gaseous radioisotopes. As of 2021 it is the most significant unintentional release of radioactivity into the environment.
Slavutych is a city in northern Ukraine, purposely built for the evacuated personnel of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant after the 1986 disaster that occurred near the city of Pripyat. Geographically located within Chernihiv Raion, Chernihiv Oblast, Slavutych is administratively subordinated to the Kyiv Oblast. In 2020 the city had a population of 24,784
Poliske or Polesskoye is an abandoned settlement and former town in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, part of Kyiv Oblast, Ukraine. It is located on the Uzh River and was an administrative center of Poliske Raion (district). However, later the town was taken out of a registry as it was completely depopulated being located in the Zone of alienation. Currently around 20 people live there, so called samosely ("self-settlers").
The Ukrainian National Chernobyl Museum is a history museum in Kyiv, Ukraine, dedicated to the 1986 Chernobyl disaster and its consequences. It houses an extensive collection of visual media, artifacts, scale models, and other representational items designed to educate the public about many aspects of the disaster. Several exhibits depict the technical progression of the accident, and there are also many areas dedicated to the loss of life and cultural ramifications of the disaster.
Alexander Yukhymovych Sirota ; is a Ukrainian photographer, journalist, filmmaker. He writes in Russian and Ukrainian. As a former resident of Pripyat, he is an eyewitness and a victim of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. He has devoted many articles, photographs, and video reports to the city of Pripyat and to the Chernobyl catastrophe. He is the editor-in-chief of the internet project "pripyat.com" and the president of the International Public Organization "Center Pripyat.com". In May 2008, he became the winner of the ІХ-th international competition "Golden George" of films, TV-programs, and internet projects about protective law and law enforcement. In that competition, Alexander won "The Big Tape of George" award for his website devoted to Chernobyl. He is a member of the Union of Journalists of Ukraine since 2008 and a member if International Federation of Journalists.
The Chernobyl disaster, considered the worst nuclear disaster in history, occurred on 26 April 1986 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, then part of the Soviet Union, now in Ukraine. From 1986 onward, the total death toll of the disaster has lacked consensus; as peer-reviewed medical journal The Lancet and other sources have noted, it remains contested.
Kate Brown is a Professor of Science, Technology and Society at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is the author of Manual for Survival: A Chernobyl Guide to the Future (2019), Dispatches from Dystopia (2015), Plutopia (2013), and A Biography of No Place (2004). She was a member of the faculty at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) from 2000 to 2018. She is the founding consulting editor of History Unclassified in the American Historical Review.
The Belarusian-Ukrainian border is the state border between Belarus and Ukraine with a length of about 1,084 km (674 mi). It starts from the triple junction with Poland to the west and stretches to the triple junction with Russia to the east. The tripoint border at the triple border junction of Belarus, Russia and Ukraine is marked in the form of a monument, while at the other border junction there is a river, the Western Bug that coincides with the border of Poland.
Yaniv is a Ukrainian abandoned village of the Kyiv Oblast, located south of Pripyat and west of Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.
Vilcha is a Ukrainian abandoned settlement and former town in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, part of Vyshhorod Raion, Kyiv Oblast.
The Chernihiv–Ovruch railway is a partially electrified and partially operational single track railway line that stretches between the town of Ovruch and the city of Chernihiv, in northern Ukraine, passing through southern Belarus and the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. The line is owned by Ukrzaliznytsia alone, with railway stations located in Belarus being leased from the government of Belarus. A portion of the line between railway stations Vilcha and Semykhody has not been in service since the Chernobyl disaster, on 26 April 1986.
The Chornobyl Raion was one of 26 administrative raions (districts) of Kyiv Oblast in northern Ukraine. After the Chernobyl disaster, the majority of the raion was contaminated, and many of its populated places were included into the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, which is an officially designated exclusion area around the site of the disaster.
Dytiatky is a Ukrainian village in the Vyshhorod Raion, Kyiv Oblast. As of 2001, it had a population of 571.
Vitalii Demianiuk is a Ukrainian engineer, entrepreneur, public figure, philanthropist.
The 2020 Chernobyl Exclusion Zone wildfires were a series of wildfires that began burning inside Ukraine's Chernobyl Exclusion Zone in April 2020. The fires were largely extinguished within two weeks. At least one suspect was arrested for alleged arson.
Czernobol, Azagarium, oppidium Sarmatiae. (lit. "Czernobol, Azagarium, city in Sarmatia.")
Czernobol, oppidium Sarmatiae, Azagarium. (lit. "Czernobol, city in Sarmatia, Azagarium.")
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Chernobyl .|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Chernobyl .|