Known as "The City of the Future," Pripyat was a planned city constructed by the Soviet Union in the 1970s in northern Ukraine. During the Cold War, the Soviet Union built a number of "atom cities" like Pripyat on the hopes of maintaining a new source of energy for progress: nuclear power.
The city was home to 49,000 residents, all connected in some way to a nearby power plant boasting four nuclear reactors. This planned boom town had all the amenities for work and play, even its own amusement park.
On April 26, 1986, a meltdown occurred in Reactor No. 4 of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, now considered the worst nuclear accident in history. Residents of Pripyat were evacuated a few days later. They were told to pack enough for a three-day leave. No one returned.
Despite the meltdown, operations continued at Chernobyl's three other reactors until 2000. As the radiation levels were deemed too high, Pripyat was left abandoned, and a replacement city, Slavutych, was built some 28 miles (45.1 kilometers) away. To this day, buildings stand empty, visited only by scientists and a handful of tourists annually.
On the next page, we'll see how an unquenchable fire affected another boom town that went bust.