Pripyat amusement park

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Pripyat amusement park
Pripyat ferris wheel side.jpg
The Ferris Wheel, August 2016
LocationPripyat, Ukraine
Coordinates51°24′29.28″N 30°3′25.65″E / 51.4081333°N 30.0571250°E / 51.4081333; 30.0571250
The bumper cars in 2016

The Pripyat amusement park is an abandoned amusement park located in Pripyat, Ukraine. It was to have its grand opening on 1 May 1986, in time for the May Day celebrations,[1][2] but these plans were cancelled on 26 April, when the Chernobyl disaster occurred a few kilometers away. Several sources report that the park was opened for a short time on 27 April before the announcement to evacuate the city was made,[3][4][5] and one site shows photos of the amusement park in operation.[6] Theories that the park was hurriedly opened in the aftermath of the accident to distract Pripyat residents from the unfolding disaster nearby seem to be substantiated by video showing that some of the rides were never fully completed (the Paratrooper was not fitted with canopies and the Ferris wheel's cladding was incomplete[7]). It is more likely and generally held that the video was taken in winter, due to clothing worn, and it was a test.[citation needed] Considering the lack of panic at the time of evacuation, there was no need to distract people.[8] In any case, the park—and its Ferris wheel in particular—have become a symbol of the Chernobyl disaster.[9]


Constructed under the Soviet Union as a "Парк культуры и отдыха" (Park of Culture and Rest) typical of many large cities in the then Soviet Union, the amusement park's attractions were manufactured by the Yeysk-based firm "Аттракцион" (Attraction), who were responsible for the construction of many of the amusement parks which remain to be seen around the former Soviet Union today in various states of repair.

Located north-west to the Palace of Culture in the center of Pripyat, the park had five attractions:

The successor to the original company is still manufacturing the Ferris wheel, paratrooper and bumper cars to largely unaltered designs as of 2017.[10]


Radiation levels around the park vary. The liquidators washed radiation into the soil after the helicopters carrying radioactive materials used the grounds as a landing strip, so concreted areas are relatively deadly. However, areas where moss has built up can emit up to 25,000 µSv/h, among the highest level of radiation in the whole of Pripyat.[11]

Films, games, media and literature[edit]

The park plays significant roles in the video games S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Chernobylite and the film Chernobyl Diaries.

The park plays significant roles too in the Markiyan Kamysh novel about illegal Chernobyl trips, A Stroll to the Zone.

The Ferris wheel made news in September 2017 when Polish tourists turned it mechanically for the first time since 1986, later returning it to its original position.[12]

The park appeared in Suede's music video clip, "Life Is Golden".

In the horror novel trilogy The Strain, Chernobyl NPP was the birthplace of an ancient vampire and the nuclear accident was a test by The Master to destroy it.


The paratrooper in 2016
  1. ^ Hjelmgaard, Kim (17 April 2016). "Pillaged and peeling, radiation-ravaged Pripyat welcomes 'extreme' tourists". USA Today. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  2. ^ Gais, Hannah; Steinberg, Eugene (26 April 2016). "Chernobyl in Spring". Pacific Standard. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  3. ^ Robert J. Ursano; Ann E. Norwood; Carol S. Fullerton (17 June 2004). Bioterrorism with CD-ROM: Psychological and Public Health Interventions. Cambridge University Press. p. 175.
  4. ^ The International Chernobyl Project: an overview : assessment of radiological consequences and evaluation of protective measures. International Atomic Energy Agency. IAEA. 1991. p. 49.
  5. ^ "Chernobyl disaster zone top pick for 'extreme tourists' 30 years on". Retrieved 16 June 2016.
  6. ^ Article on Chernobyl by Graham Gilmore showing photos of the amusement park in operation
  7. ^ YouTube video taken shortly after evacuation in 1986. Retrieved 1 November 2017.
  8. ^
  9. ^ Fox, Michael H. (2014). Why We Need Nuclear Power: The Environmental Case. OUP USA. p. 226.
  10. ^ "Аттракцион - Инвест: аттракционы". Retrieved 31 October 2017.
  11. ^ Article on Chernobyl by Graham Gilmore. Retrieved 31 October 2017.
  12. ^ "В покинутій Прип'яті біля Чорнобиля запустили колесо огляду". TCH. 14 September 2017. Retrieved 31 October 2017.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°24′29.28″N 30°3′25.65″E / 51.4081333°N 30.0571250°E / 51.4081333; 30.0571250