Illegal Tourism: Chernobyl Zone by Stalker Eyes

How far have you peered at the night sky? Have you ever looked at it… at all? Electric lights nowadays shine much brighter than the stars. Thereby many a man haven’t ever seen the complete darkness nor the Milky Way. Living in the twilight of the city, people forgot how to look at the stars, but when one looks at them, he can realize himself being the part of these distant worlds.

We travelled more than a hundred kilometres through the night forests, through abandoned cities and villages under this incredible space abyss. We visited many strange places, the very existence of which weaves the threads of the past terrible catastrophe and human heroism with today’s reality, creating an atmosphere that can only be experienced there… It’s on the night roof of the abandoned Pripyat city or at the steps of the 126th medical unit basement where the clothes of those firemen who were the first to fight the burning reactor are stored. All these people had died within the first two weeks after the accident, and later tens of thousands sacrificed their health saving our world from death.

Almost 30 years have passed. Strange to say how quickly nature sweeps away the man traces. The wind whistles among the apartments plundered by the marauders. The radioactive burial grounds of the equipment have covered with thick underwood, and on the main square of Pripyat you can meet only a flock of wild wolves and visitant stalkers – fans of the post-apocalyptic uninhabited world.

The former residents look back to their city with bitter melancholy, militiamen and frontier guards routinely work, foreign tourists run up from time to time for a few hours up to the ears in respirators and dosimeters… However, what is the Chernobyl zone in the eyes of a stalker?

Ferris wheel in the centre of Pripyat. One can only see it against the starry sky illegally.

Припять не легально

I knew that there is a large stalker community at the Chernobyl exclusion zone. There are constantly several groups of illegal residents in Pripyat. They gear abandoned apartments to their needs and move mainly at night. They have their routes, argie-bargies, a special atmosphere and subculture.

If you wanna retry my experience and spend up to 6 days in the zone (not 2-3 hours like with a bus excursion) and feel the entire atmosphere of the post-apocalyptic world without people under the guidance of an experienced stalker-guide, mail to and we will try to organize a hike.

We walked under the waning moon through the dense summer air, which was infused with the aromas of ferine grass. It is easy to walk in the night coolness. At times, a variety of fiddling around night creatures give the shivers.

After a short rest and replenishment of water supplies from the nearest marsh, we forded the river Uzh.

After winding in the fields we went to the ruins of the church and decided to spend the night in an abandoned village, after crossing all the night fields the energy was running out.

We found a perfectly preserved hut in the village and decided that it would shelter us. In the morning we layed out our goods and chattels and went to breakfast to the strains of a peacefully crackling dosimeter.

It was impossible to keep going during the daytime. So we used the day to rest well and replenish the water supplies. We took a stroll in the beautiful nature and through the abandoned village. There are ruins of the Orthodox Church in the village, local priests kinda look after it, they even put plastic steel windows  (!) in the altar room. In these parts, it looks really weird.

At night there was a long and difficult transition. We pounded through the woods along the deer trails, walked with a spring in step under high-voltage lines and at dawn we arrived at the outskirts of Pripyat city.

The checkpoint of an abandoned city with traces of stalker camp. The forest between the checkpoint and the Jupiter plant made a very oppressive impression on me. The remnants of radioactive technology are scattered among the trees. They eject radiation so much that even the prowler had not cut them into metal.

We had lunch on the roof with a view of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and went to sleep. In the afternoon it is not safe to walk, you can run into a police patrol.

In the morning and at night we had seen another stalker group and we made friends. Later we occasionally hooked up with them until the very exit from the zone. So we got acquainted, swigged moonshine with bacon and garlic in a luxurious apartment and drove to walk through the night city.

Stained glass of the cafe “Pripyat” near the pond.

On the far side of the pond, there are huge 30-meter high abandoned harbor cranes. They looked like the Star Wars’ machines against the starry sky.

In the rays of dawn, we imperceptibly made our way through some radioactive burial grounds to the oil depot to make a photo of ISU-152 – a self-propelled artillery weapon from the times of the last world war, which rests behind the fence of the residential part of the petroleum base. For me it’s impossible now to twist up the smell of the radioactive garbage dump.

The basement of 126th medical unit is the dirtiest place in the overall zone. The things of firefighters who received radiation doses exceeding deadly in several times are heaped in a small room, these are highly radioactive so far. I have often been thinking about the dedication of people who raked the consequences of a radioactive catastrophe. I’ve watched a lot of old videos, and those people had really realized what they were doing, that they were sacrificing themselves for the sake of others – it’s very … Important, when the conditions in which people grew up make them capable of doing such things for the sake of others.

Journal of abortion clinic. There wasn’t any sex in the Soviet Union, but there were abortions.

Shoes on the kindergarten shelf. It’s hard to imagine a places more sullen.

The traditional sunset on the roof of the 16-storied building with a hookah and our new friends. It offers a beautiful view of the city.

View on the fifth district at night. Ghostly paneled nine-story buildings reflecting the pale moonlight look like the gnawed bones of an animal.

One of the most impressive places are two armchairs on the roof that one of the stalkers brought there. We stuck there for many hours, smoking, looking at the Chernobyl nuclear power station, into the density of the starry sky and at the ghost town, where shaggy night animals scamper along the overgrown streets.

Ferris wheel in the amusement park.

We saw the sunrise on the roof of the tower-block with the coat of arms. I was very interested in the coat of arms because I have never seen anything like this anywhere else.

Stalker fell asleep without waiting for dawn.

People say that sometimes stalkers rearrange these letters on the roof and then the local police arrange a wild ransacking of the whole city.

Swimming pool of school №3.

Some places in the city are specially very qualitatively furnished for an excursion photos, like this room with gas masks.

A fresco at the post office. We peeped into to make a couple of pictures. There’s a long road through the night forests ahead.

After entering the dark strip following the red forest, we heard the many-voiced wolf howling of a large pack somewhere near. We were totally creeped out because they were howling right ahead. We combobulated, got ready to break through, and so we moved forward. I kept firecrackers with me hoping that in a critical situation loud pops would scare predators off. Everything worked out and closer to the morning we came to a trolley bus abandoned by someone in the field. This is a popular stalker base, here we had a cup of tea and a bite. This place seemed to me something like a bus from the movie “In the wild”, where the main hero had spent his last days.

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A stalker bunkhouse We caught up with our friends not far from Chernobyl-2.

A long and gloomy corridor between the antennas and the military town.

Closer to the sunset, we climbed up at the Duga-1 over-the-horizon radar system, an abandoned huge antenna, 150 meters high above the forests of the zone. Obivan climbed to the resonator. It was windy, so the antenna was rocking and shaking, but he just master fear and walked along the pipe at a height of one hundred meters.

The higher we ascended, the stronger the wind became, and a special almost ultrasonic “Ping” came with it. The wind whistled in millions of steel cables and resonators of the antenna, singing a song burning the brains out.

We looked at the setting sun from the top and watched the pillars of smoke. Somewhere far away the forest was burning. Stalkers say that the current authorities are deliberately burning out forests, pushing a bill to strip the zone and squeeze it in the next year from 30 to 10 kilometers.

Another terrible story. In an abandoned military town, there is a room with dead wolves. It’s not clear how did they manage to get there, but the walls of the room are scratched from inside with their paws and on the floor there are two mummies.

Then there was a long way home. For me the Zone is an infinite starry sky, an open space.

Passing under the power lines, we saw that a tree had fallen on the wires. It smoldered, pulled wires and could cause a fire. We entered the forester’s house, drank some tea and left them a note with the exact coordinates of the accident.

If you wanna retry my experience and spend up to 6 days in the zone (not 2-3 hours like with a bus excursion) and feel the entire atmosphere of the post-apocalyptic world without people under the guidance of an experienced stalker-guide, mail to and we will try to organize a hike.

If you want to visit Chernobyl and Pripyat by official way contact us via Chernobyl Exploration Tour booking page. We are monitoring all prices from all official tour operators and will help you to find best tour for the best price without commission.

3 thoughts on “Illegal Tourism: Chernobyl Zone by Stalker Eyes”

  1. this is fucking S.T.A.L.K.E.R in real life expect there is no clans and anomolies xd

    this shows that in chernobyl zone there will be S.T.A.L.K.E.R in real life

  2. The Ukrainian video game S.T.A.L.K.E.R., a first-person video game set in the exclusion zone, was released in 2007 and has been highly influential in the movement. “We never encouraged the players to visit illegally—you need to differentiate between virtual world of the game and the real one,” says Oleg Yavorsky, one of the game’s creators. “Obviously the desire to see with their own eyes has been pretty strong.”

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