Pripyat Swimming Pool had a flourishing swimming team until the disaster at the nuclear power plant in 1986. It is now abandoned. The empty pool and silent basketball courts are an eerie reminder of this once thriving community.
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Pripyat Swimming Pool
Until 1998 this pool was beautiful and in full use. Clean and inviting for the liquidators who were tasked with clearing the radioactive material from the city of Pripyat in Ukraine. But 12 years after the disaster, when the final liquidators left, it was abandoned along with the rest of the city. Built in the 1970’s as part of the development of Pripyat, the Azure Swimming Pool had huge glass frontage, diving boards as well as an active swimming team. Behind the pool, a sports hall was used for basketball and gymnastics.
Azure Pool “Lazurny” in Pripyat Today
Today the pool is one of the cleanest places in the city in terms of radioactivity. The huge panes of glass are long gone and the pool stands empty and lonely. However, the starting blocks, the diving board and the changing rooms are still as they once were. Outside the modern 1970’s design is still evident and the iconic white clock sits on the highest point of the building. It features in the Pink Floyd Marooned video as well as numerous games including the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series and Call of Duty 4.
The swimming pool is another location which can be visited but is not advised by tour guides and should now just be viewed from the outside. If you do go in, be careful in the basketball courts as the floor is rotting and boards are dropping through in random places.
Visiting in the late afternoon during the winter is the perfect time to visit as the light filters through into the pool coating it in a lovely golden haze. In winter the trees are clear and allow for the windows to be appreciated fully. In the summer months the interior is darker and there is no concept of their size and the view to the surrounding buildings.
This is quite a difficult place to photograph as the whole area is hard to get into one frame. It is better to take a number of photographs focussing on different areas of the building. If you are using a phone or a wide angle lens then it is possible to show the whole of the pool in one shot.
Don’t forget to look at the smaller details. The mould on the walls, the graffiti and the swim team memories all make for interesting images.
Visiting Pripyat Lazurny Swimming Pool
Pripyat Swimming Pool is in the centre of Pripyat and is reached from a rough road through a small area of scrub.
It is located within the Exclusion Zone, put in place after the nuclear disaster at the nearby power plant and is about 2 hours by road from Kyiv.