Haunting photos reveal what nuclear-disaster ghost towns look like years after being abandoned
- The Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986 transformed the city of Pripyat into a ghost town.
- Other towns have also been abandoned after nuclear disasters, and each is a skeleton of its former self, strewn with deserted cars and dilapidated buildings.
- Photos reveal what these places look like years after being abandoned.
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Hours after the accident at the Chernobyl power plant, the worst nuclear disaster in history, residents of the city of Pripyat were going about their Saturdays as normal. Children picked wildflowers and played outside. Adults gardened, fished, and even got married.
By the following day, however, they were rounded onto buses and told to bring just a few belongings - important paperwork, personal mementos, and a bit of food. The move was only temporary, the city council said, but most residents would never return.
Today, Pripyat is still relatively abandoned, aside from tour groups that walk along designated pathways and gather inside blighted kindergartens, hospitals, and schools.
The city is perhaps the world's most famous nuclear ghost town - but it's not the only one.
Other major nuclear accidents have prompted evacuations that turned cities and villages into ghost towns. Here's what some of these abandoned areas look like after the nuclear disasters.
Pripyat has been a ghost town for more than three decades, but some artifacts still linger.
Graffiti artists have drawn strange shadowy figures on the walls of buildings.
Adult tourists can view scattered remnants from Pripyat's former occupants.
Creepy dolls can be found on windowsills and beds, but they were likely staged by visitors.
Nearby, the ghost town of Kopachi is also open for tours.
Most of the village's homes were bulldozed and buried after Chernobyl.
Little of the town remains, aside from an abandoned kindergarten.
Nuclear meltdowns nearly wiped out the town of Namie in Fukushima, Japan.
Residents weren't allowed back for six years.
Many former residents are too scared to return.
The Japanese town of Futaba has become an eerie shell of its former self.
Many buildings there are strewn with discarded objects, and abandoned vehicles have been enveloped by overgrown weeds.
Authorities are working to make the site livable by 2022, but few residents are expected to return.
The Japanese town of Ōkuma has already reopened to the public after being deserted for eight years.
Many of Ōkuma's sites are still shuttered, though.
It took Russian authorities more than 50 years to evacuate Muslyumovo, a village contaminated by a nuclear explosion in 1957.
Authorities didn't evacuate the village for more than half a century — most residents abandoned the land in 2009.
A few locals chose to remain in the ghost town.
The ghost town of Atomic City, Idaho, meanwhile, didn't empty out at once.
These accidents led to a steady decline in the city's population. The town went from around 140 residents in 1960 to just two dozen in 1970.
Today, the city is full of abandoned cars and dilapidated homes and trailers.
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