Pripyat (Ukraine)

Pripyat is a town in the north of Ukraine, not far from the border with Belarus.

It is best known for the accident with nuclear reactor number 4 on April 26th, 1986 in the nearby town Chernobyl.

The ionizing radiation resulting from this accident is still so strong that the authorities find it irresponsible to live there.

The town falls within the so-called alienation zone, which runs around the nuclear power plant in a radius of 30 kilometers and is not freely accessible.

Pripyat was founded on February 4th, 1970, as the ninth nuclear – and a model – city (a type of closed city) in the Soviet Union, to serve the nearby Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.

It was officially proclaimed a city in 1979, and had grown to a population of 49360 people by the time it was evacuated on the afternoon, a day after the Chernobyl disaster.

The evacuation started 24 hours after the disaster and took about 2 and a half hours.

Pripyat is supervised by Ukraine’s Ministry of Emergencies, which manages activities for the entire Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.

The radiation is less strong in the surrounding region, but five million people also live there in contaminated areas.

There are guided tours for tourists, starting from Kiev.

It is not possible to acces the site on your own because of tour own safety and military checkpoints you have to pass.

Nature has taken over in this area: there are trees growing out of buildings and animals like bears and foxes are spotted there.

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ET phone home (Belgium)

The landscape that unfolds in front of you here provides you with a strange sight: on your left – and bang in the middle of the verdant fields – stands a group of satellite dishes which are used to study variations in solar activity.

This station for radio astronomy, which was finished in 1954, has 48 parabolic antennas, each with a 4m diameter and organised in a T-shape.

Initially only observations of the sun with radio telescopes were performed here.

A parabolic antenna of 7.5 meters for measuring the 600MHz (50cm wavelength) radio flux was used, and an interferometer observing the sun at a frequency of 408MHz.

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Cemetery of the insane (Belgium)

This cemetery was used from 1921 to 1981 for the patients of a still existing psychiatric institution nearby.

The plot was recorded in 1913 in the Land Registry and described as a cemetery for the benefit of the asylum. Patients often spent their entire lives in the asylum and ties with the family were mostly completely broken. The institution therefore took care of the burial of her patients herself.

From 1921 to 1981, 1750 patients, only men, were buried here who no longer had any ties with their families.

Since 1981, the patients are buried in the local public cemetery or elsewhere at the request of the families.

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Railway bridge MB (Belgium)

This bridge was built during the construction of the canal in the 1930’s and with a wingspan of 112.75 meters it is the longest four-part bridge in Belgium.

Although the bridge contains one track, the pillars are provided for the construction of a double track. Since the closure of the line in 1992, the bridge is no longer used.

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Circuit RG (France)

This used to be a ‘grand-prix’ circuit between 1926 and 1966.

It was closed in 1972 due to financial circumstances, and in 2002 most of the circuit got demolished.

The old stands and the pit complex remained preserved.

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