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Thread: Pripyat Kindergarten

  1. #1
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    Arrow Pripyat Kindergarten


    So here it is my 1,000th post! Over 100 explores later and I find myself in one of Pripyats Kindergartens.

    Sit back, itís an emotional one.

    Pripyats population was very young, with the average age being just 26. With so many young families it was necessary to build no fewer than 15 Kindergartens.

    Here is Kindergarten Cheb Urasaka being built in 1970 (Pic from pripyat.com)


    I knew this one was going to be pretty tough on the emotions and Iíd been building it up in my head for months.



    Since Iíve been staying in the zone Iíve been with 15 other travellers, all guys. So there was a fair amount of rowdiness, and bravado going on. Not here.



    ÖThis was different.





    You all know what itís like exploring in a group; when you see each other youíre normally like ďYouíve gotta see in hereĒ or ďdid you find the piano?Ē

    Not here. We were silent.



    When we occasionally passed in corridors we were silent. Some guys acknowledged my presence with a subtle nod, most guys couldnít even lift their eyes to make eye contact.

    I knew thereíd be dolls around the place, Iíd seen photos before. But when you actually see them, you see how many of them there are, their faces seared:



    You start to think back to your own experiences and memories. I know how hard it is for a child to leave a loved toy behind, sometimes itís their best friend, their world. I cant imagine how those toddlers felt to be evacuated without being able to go back for their friend.



    Toys were still delicately stacked, their colourful fragility contrasting against 25 years of grime.






    Toddlers locker room:






    It started to almost feel like a normal explore, the obligatory chairs etc.

    Then you realise the scale of everything your seeing, and realise itís for people under five.



    Even the gas masks I found were in toddler size.







    I came to one room, with cots piled high. I forced myself to take a photograph and just leave.





    I came across a dormitory, juding by the size of the beds it was for 4-5 year olds.



    There were 25 beds in this one, each individually numbered.



    There was a list on the wall with each of the childrens names, and which bed they were in.



    This really wrenched me inside. The beds were no longer anonymous, they were real. As individual and personal as your own bed that you will fall asleep in tonight.



    I began to think about how old the former occupants of these beds would be now. Theyíd be about my age.

    Then I realised that actually, very few, if any are even alive right now.









    I found another doll which was different to any Iíd seen here before. It was at least three times the size, the size of an actual toddler. Face down in the dust at my feet. I grabbed its arm to roll it over, and it was heavy, a dead weight. It seemed limp and lifeless, heavy, not hollow like a doll normally is.

    The mechanism which closes the dolls eyes when itís laid horizontally must have been slightly dusty as when I rolled the doll over it looked me square in the eyes for two seconds, before closing them by herself. To this day itís still the single image I remember from my time in Chernobyl before I sleep.



    I pass another dorm, with bunk beds.


    Video:
    http://youtu.be/gxH-oZ8yNL4

    Tiny shoes:


    I make my way to the staff / admin areas
    School Nurse room:




    Childrens clothing:


    Leading to the laundrette:




    Staff ID card:


    I make my way out of the staff area, and realise I havenít seen or heard anyone else in at 20 minutes. Iím not sure how many children attended this Kindergarten, but it was a similar size to my secondary school, which had 900 students.



    Short walkthrough:
    http://youtu.be/Wu6-rTbpHqg

    I pass one last dormitory on my way out. I look through the door but decide Iíve seen enough.



    The atmosphere on the bus after we visited here was completely different to any other time.
    No one shared photos or anecdotes, we all just sat, 16 guys, heads hung in complete silence.


    › See more like: Pripyat Kindergarten
    www.urbanXphotography.co.uk - New report added every 5 days
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  2. #2
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    Default


    This really does bring home what happened that day and images like these will stay in your mind forever.As ever..very well shot indeed.

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    Thanks given by: UrbanX

  3. #3
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    Superb as always Urban loving the photos..I am sure the feelings were similar to those I had on my WWI battlefields trip. Just complete loss as to how it must have been for those there at the time. Can you PM me the info on your trip I really fancy a visit and would prefer to go via a company that delivers

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    Thanks given by: UrbanX

  4. #4
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    Default Wow


    These are possibly the most haunting pics I have seen from the Chernobyl area
    Last edited by PaulPowers; 20th Jun 11 at 18:31.

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  5. #5
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    Those brought a tear to my eye.

    Thank you for going places a lot wouldn't and for sharing the images. It really does bring it home. I was a young child when this disaster happened and I had a pair of shoes very similar to the ones you photographed... too close to home? Maybe? But that means it won't be forgotten.
    My Flickr

    The past is never forgotten, sometimes it just lies dormant waiting for the right moment

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  6. #6
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    Default Very moving


    Very Moving,

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  7. #7
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    It definately makes you think, doesn't it? I've got two kids myself and this stuff really makes you think about what if it was your kids caught up in a disaster on this scale, only to die a horrible death from radiation poisoning later. If ever there's a reason to bin nuclear power plants, these pics must be it.

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  8. #8
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    Amazing, very poignant pictures, with an excellent write up.

    Why is it though, that a lot of the places in Pripyat get so trashed? It's not like vandals can just come and go what with the exclusion zone...
    "The last Beemer out of Saigon. I'm at the mercy of the Vietnamese peasants. Please don't put me in a bamboo cage."

    ramsgatonian@hotmail.com

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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flyboy View Post
    Amazing, very poignant pictures, with an excellent write up.

    Why is it though, that a lot of the places in Pripyat get so trashed? It's not like vandals can just come and go what with the exclusion zone...
    It's a lot more trashed than you'd expect. Windows were deliberately smashed to avoid pockets of radiation building up. Others have shattered by themselves just from years of red hot summers and unforgiving winters. So the weather has got into most places.

    Vandals and looters DO get into the zone. Last year I even witnessed people stealing metal baths from a block of flats. As much as this annoyed and upset my guide there was nothing he could do.

    The border guards still aren't amazingly paid, and most would happily take a back hander / split the profit and turn a blind eye.
    www.urbanXphotography.co.uk - New report added every 5 days
    "We're not giving you a quote for your stupid forum signature"
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by UrbanX View Post
    It's a lot more trashed than you'd expect. Windows were deliberately smashed to avoid pockets of radiation building up. Others have shattered by themselves just from years of red hot summers and unforgiving winters. So the weather has got into most places.

    Vandals and looters DO get into the zone. Last year I even witnessed people stealing metal baths from a block of flats. As much as this annoyed and upset my guide there was nothing he could do.

    The border guards still aren't amazingly paid, and most would happily take a back hander / split the profit and turn a blind eye.
    Ah right, I was always under the impression you could be shot at for entering illegally.
    "The last Beemer out of Saigon. I'm at the mercy of the Vietnamese peasants. Please don't put me in a bamboo cage."

    ramsgatonian@hotmail.com

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