Did You See This?

Haunting Footage From Inside a Chernobyl Ghost Town

Cinematographer Janis Brod ventures into the exclusion zone.

This year marked the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster. On April 26, 1986, the infamous explosion and fire occurred at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Pripyat, then part of the former Soviet Union. It killed 31 people and released radioactive particles into the atmosphere.

Pripyat is part of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, the area around the site. Evacuated after the disaster, Pripyat is now a ghost town. Public access is restricted because of radioactive contamination, but photographer and cinematographer Janis Brod managed to explore the ruins of Pripyat and produce this stunning video.

The architecture is essentially a time capsule of the Soviet Union in 1986. Wildlife now owns the city: in the video, we see swans living uninterrupted by humans and greenery overtaking buildings. We see Pripyat’s once-busy amusement park, now desolate. Signs of decay are everywhere: rusted equipment, sagging buildings, and more. Particularly fascinating is a once-austere Soviet portrait, now with paint peeling and hanging crooked from the ceiling—a bit like “Ozymandias.”