Named after the nearby Pripyat River, Pripyat was founded on 4 February 1970, as the ninth nuclear city (a type of closed city) in the Soviet Union, to serve the nearby Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. While Chernobyl is the name synonymous with the disaster, it is the town of Pripyat which was is the most visible and permanent reminder of events on that fateful morning. Sited 2 km north of the Power Plant, Pripyat was officially proclaimed a city in 1979, and had grown to a population of 49,360 by the time it was evacuated, on the afternoon of April 27, 1986, the day after the Chernobyl disaster.
Though Pripyat is located within the administrative district of Ivankiv Raion, the abandoned city now has the status of city of oblast significance within the larger Kiev Oblast (province), being administered directly from Kiev. Pripyat is also supervised by Ukraine's Ministry of Emergencies, which manages activities for the entire Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.
The majority of evacuated Pripyat residents would finally relocate to Slavutych. This was a town purposely built to re-home those permanently exiled from their long abandoned homes in Pripyat. Slavutych lies approximately 50 km to the east of Pripyat.
Poster advertising youth football tournament scheduled for the Avanhard Stadium, Pripyat on 26th April, 1986. It never took place.
What is little known or remembered is that the Pripyat was gearing itself for the forthcoming traditional Mayday celebrations. The iconic yellow Ferris Wheel hadn't officially been used. The local football team, FC Stroitel Pripyat (Pripyat Builders FC) had a Kiev cup semi-final scheduled for the Saturday at their newly constructed Avanhard Stadium. As part of the day there was to be a youth tournament.
The Mayday celebrations never took place in Pripyat in 1986, or ever again. FC Stroitel never kicked another ball in the now dilapidated and overgrown Avanhard Stadium before two years later emerging as FC Stroitel Slavutych.
A view of Pripyat today before the summer's green foliage hides most of it from view
Pripyat Photo Archive - The definitive on-line archive of Pripyat pictures - before and after the disaster. The site is in Russian but translates well via Google. Short History of Pripyat - Introduction to the town from Pripyat.com Roman Robroek - Diary of a trip to Pripyat on PetaPixel. Includes some stunning photographs FC Stroitel Pripyat - History of FC Stroitel. Original page is Russian, but translated text is perfectly readable 30 Years On - Memories of Pripyat from some of those who moved to Slavutych