Chernobyl-2 was built for the militaries and engineers who protected and operated the radar Duga-1. Usually, the array itself is the main destination of visitors, although the military town is located just by the antenna and shouldn’t be underestimated: it adds a lot to the understanding of how this huge complex functioned.
Chernobyl 2 – the Town for the Privileged
“All the professions are needed, all professions are important”, claims Soviet poet Marshak in his poem. However, everyone in the Soviet Union knew that some professions and jobs are privileged, and militaries were among them. Visit to Chernobyl-2 gives the picture of how it was.
Militaries were in charge of state security – the thing Soviets liked to take very seriously, moreover, during the Cold War. Vast majority of the projects were secret, so these towns weren’t accessed easily. Chernobyl-2 is hidden 8 kilometers away from the main road to the power plant and Prypiat. Driving through the forest by the road made of concrete platforms takes around 20 minutes, and finally you arrive to the checkpoint with original Soviet red stars on the gates.
What to Expect?
Depending on the available time, you can choose the route. Basic one includes the area of Chernobyl-2 were militaries and their families used to live. You can see apartment blocks, fire station and several playgrounds. One of them is really interesting: its fence is decorated with characters from popular Soviet cartoons. Also, there is an installation made with receiving element from the antenna.
Multiple day tours allow seeing the whole town of Chernobyl-2. Usually they start from the military shop. After, you will move to the cinema, sport complex, school and kindergarten. Soldiers were sent to such places for a couple of years, sometimes more, and their families were coming with them. So, the town had to include facilities for all its inhabitants and age groups.
Close to the kindergarten, there is a hotel. The town was secret and usually relatives were not allowed to visit those who lived there, but the inspections or high officials had to stay somewhere. However, the militaries who lived there remember that the hotel was always full of engineers: they were coming from Moscow to fix the radar as long as it always had some functioning issues.
Although the visitors are not allowed to enter buildings, they are still able to see the place and, together with guide’s stories, to feel the atmosphere of the place.