Chernobyl Town – Чорнобиль

After visiting Pripyat, the final stop on the Chernobyl tour was a stop in the town of Chernobyl. Before the evacuation in 1986, Chernobyl had about 14,000 residents.

Chernobyl sign in Chernobyl, Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, Ukraine

Chernobyl sign

During our visit, former and current residents (yes, some people were allowed to repopulate the area) were celebrating Chernobyl Day in honor of the 820th anniversary of the founding of the town.

Chernobyl Day celebration in Chernobyl, Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, Ukraine

Chernobyl Day celebration

Chernobyl Day celebration in Chernobyl, Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, Ukraine

Chernobyl Day celebration

Chernobyl 820th anniversary banner in Chernobyl, Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, Ukraine

Chernobyl 820th anniversary banner

We had a quick drive through town and saw the historic Orthodox church of St. Elias, which is still active. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to enter because it was closed.

Chernobyl, Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, Ukraine

Chernobyl

We then returned to the center of town and visited the Wormwood Star Memorial, dedicated to the settlements that were evacuated during the disaster. There are signs for each of the 189 settlements. The white background on the front of the signs with black lettering represents the beginning of the settlement, and the black background with white lettering and a red slash represents the end of the settlement.

Wormwood Star Memorial in Chernobyl, Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, Ukraine

Wormwood Star Memorial

Wormwood Star Memorial in Chernobyl, Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, Ukraine

Wormwood Star Memorial

Wormwood Star Memorial in Chernobyl, Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, Ukraine

Wormwood Star Memorial

At one end of the memorial is a set of mailboxes for mail that was never delivered to residents of the exclusion zone.

Mailboxes in the Wormwood Star Memorial in Chernobyl, Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, Ukraine

Mailboxes in the Wormwood Star Memorial

On another end of the memorial is a trumpeting angel. Chernobyl translates to Wormwood, and many people believe the disaster was prophecied in the Bible by St. John: “The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water – the name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter.” Revelation 8:10-11.

Trumpeting angel at the Wormwood Star Memorial in Chernobyl, Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, Ukraine

Trumpeting angel

There was also a  a map of the exclusion zone with a candle marking every settlement that was evacuated.

Map of the exclusion zone at the Wormwood Star Memorial in Chernobyl, Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, Ukraine

Map of the exclusion zone

The tour ended with a filling and tasty lunch at Restaurant Pripyat before heading back to Kiev.

Restaurant Pripyat in Chernobyl, Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, Ukraine

Restaurant Pripyat

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