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7 modern-day ghost towns

By: Matt Hickman on June 19, 2013, 5:49 p.m.
Pripyat bus station, modern ghost town

Photo: Matt Shalvatis/Flickr

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Pripyat, Ukraine

To round out our list, here is an abandoned city, complete with the world’s creepiest amusement park and a backstory that needs little explanation.

Left frozen in time less than 20 years after it was founded, the former Soviet nuclear city of Pripyat saw its nearly 50,000 residents hastily leave and never return following the worst nuclear power plant accident in history, the Chernobyl disaster.

Although uninhabited since April 1986, the ruins of this once-bustling planned city within the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone aren’t entirely lonely as Pripyat, in addition to serving as fodder for insensitive horror films, has emerged as a popular pseudo-vacation destination for extreme tourists.

Lingering threats of radiation exposure are a minor concern compared to the physical hazards involved with traversing a crumbling city where the “spirit of Soviet darkness reigns.” This is why booking a tour through an established, safety-minded company is compulsory and the only real way to gain access to Pripyat and other “attractions” within “The Zone.” Although stepping inside of abandoned buildings is prohibited and most tour companies abide by the rules, visitors are still advised to wear closed-toe shoes and long pants. And no touching!