'Chernobyl': The HBO Series Leads To A Tourist Boom In Ukraine

Fans are looking to discover the ghost city of Pripyat with their own eyes.

After Game of Thrones prompted huge numbers of fans to visit Croatia and Northern Ireland, the places shown in the mini-series Chernobyl are also attracting a wave of tourists. According to the tourist information office in Pripyat, the city evacuated by the Soviet government 30 hours after the nuclear incident at the Lenin Nuclear Power Plant, there has been a 30% increase in visitor numbers since May, when the series was first screened on HBO. 

Pripyat, which is now a ghost city, has been a tourist attraction for the last ten years, captivating more than 70,000 curious visitors a year according to Reuters. The site bore witness to the trauma and danger caused by the exploding reactor, which is depicted in Craig Mazin's mini-series. While radioactivity levels remain high, it is considered safe to stay in the city, which was once home to around 50,000 inhabitants, for a short period. 


"While visiting the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, you'll receive around 2 microsieverts, which is equivalent to the amount of radiation you'd receive if you stayed at home for 24 hours", explains guide Viktoria Brozhko. She claims that visitors are arriving in the city in large numbers due to the success of the series, as they seek evidence of the veracity of the events retold in the HBO production. According to her boss, Yaroslav Yemelianenko, tour reservations for June, July and August have already risen by 40% compared to the usual average. 

Visitors might be surprised to find that nature has reclaimed Pripyat and the surrounding area since the evacuation of the city's inhabitants. Brown bears, bison, wolves and more than 200 bird species have been recorded there in recent years. They will now have to readapt to human life, as it doesn't look like tourists will stop coming to this desolate yet fascinating place anytime soon. 

The Chernobyl mini-series is available on HBO Go.


Article translated by: Eleanor Staniforth

By Adrien Delage, published on 06/06/2019

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