Driving the nuclear Lenina Avenue in Pripyat, near Chernobyl

Located in Kiev Oblast, Lenina Avenue was the main thoroughfare of Pripyat city, an abandoned city after the Chernobyl catastrophic nuclear accident that occurred on 26 April 1986.

Lenina Avenue in Pripyat

What happened in Pripyat in 1986?

Located on Northern Ukraine, near the border with Belarus, on the banks of the Pripyat River (it was named for), the city was founded on 4th February 1970 to serve the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. It was the ninth Soviet nuclear city, built to accommodate the workers at the nuclear plant and their families. The plant had four nuclear reactors and on April 26, 1986, reactor number 4 blew up during a test. Due to the explosion, a plume of highly radioactive dust spread all over the region, contaminating everything in its path. An experiment designed to test the safety of the power plant went wrong and caused a fire which spewed radiation for 10 days. The city was abandoned after the catastrophic nuclear accident.

What’s Lenina Avenue, near Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant?

Lenina Avenue, a one-kilometer long street, located downtown Pripyat, was once one of the main streets of the city, with a number of shops and stores. The street runs between the entry checkpoint and the main square, Lenin Square, in the south-west of the city center, not far from the Medical University. It was a typical wide boulevard with a pedestrian walkway down the center. At the end of the avenue sits Pripyat’s city center, once a grand promenade with a public clubhouse called “Energetik” at its heart. At the street you need to park carefully. The traffic police here are so bored they hand out tickets just for something to do. Today you can see how nature is conquering everything back, and the grass and sidewalks are breaking apart. The street is today completely lined by trees obscuring the buildings. Birds, foxes, dogs, horses and wolves all run wild, while many of the old central squares are covered in fruit trees with huge blossoms.

Is Lenina Avenue, near Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, open?

The area is closed to visitors. Official permits are required to enter the zone. During your visit, radiation is monitored using a portable handheld detector. Decades after the nuclear disaster, tourism is booming in Chernobyl.

Where was A Good Day to Die Hard filmed?

The area has been the set for countless movies, and it’s been featured in movies such as A Good Day to Die Hard (2013), Chernobyl Diaries (2012) and Land of Oblivion (2011).
Pic: Nickolay Omelchenko.