Surprises in Pripyat

Semihody CemeteryAs often as my friends in Kyiv visit the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone and specifically Pripyat, I find myself amazed when they come across something “new.”

In early January 2009, a group of administrators traveled to Pripyat to work on their “Photos of Your Home” project. “Photos of Your Home” was developed as an opportunity for former Pripyat residents to see pictures of their former homes/apartments. Requests are posted in the forum and eventually site administrators photograph the apartments and post the results online.

During the latest excursion, my friends Yevgen and Sasha were covering the oldest part of the city, near the shops, hostels and hospital on Friendship of the People’s Street and Street of Enthusiasts.

As they walked amongst the buildings, Sasha remembered something from his childhood - they were afraid of playing there in the evening because of the cemetery. Yes, there is a cemetery within the city limits of Pripyat. Yevgen has been in this area more than three times and did not remember seeing a cemetery there. Hidden from sight by thick vegetation in the summer, the cemetery is easily visible during the cold white winter.

In fact, this is the old Semihody cemetery. The village of Semihody was mostly destroyed to make room for the construction of Pripyat. Apparently the city builders constructed one of the microdistricts completely around the cemetery.

Approximately 10 buildings from Semihody still exist, situated just north of Pripyat.

You can read about this interesting find on Yevgen’s website, Lost Places. The entry is entitled “Pripyat. Winter Fairy Tales

In case you were wondering, yes, Pripyat did have its own cemetery. It is located south of the city in a more highly contaminated area closer to the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant.

Photo © Kranz -