On April 26, 1986, reactor number four at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant exploded, killing two workers and endangering everyone in the the surrounding area. The city of Pripyat, Ukraine, wasn’t evacuated until a few days later—and even then, people didn’t realize it would be a permanent evacuation. (Read about the legacy of the Chernobyl meltdown.)
Photojournalist Jon Brack traveled to Pripyat to document what the evacuated area looks like 30 years later. Using a tripod, camera, and a robotic rig, Brack captured these eight 360-degree images that take you inside the abandoned city. In your browser, click and drag to navigate through these photos. On your phone, tilt to explore and change perspectives.
Even though the city is still contaminated (Brack had to be careful with what he touched, and he wore a radiation monitor for safety), it isn’t completely devoid of life. Workers are still in the process of decommissioning the reactors in the nuclear power plant. The area is also an international tourist destination and a home to wildlife. (Read “Animals Rule Chernobyl 30 Years After Nuclear Disaster.”)
“I think the overgrowth of nature was so much more than I was expecting,” Brack says. On the ride to Pripyat, Brack anxiously awaited the moment when he would first see the overgrown city. After a while, he asked his guide when they would arrive, only to have the guide tell him that they already had.
“I just completely underestimated how much nature had grown back in 30 years,” he says.
Follow Becky Little on Twitter.