Cafe Pripyat – Chernobyl Exclusion Zone

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Cafe Pripyat is located on the waterfront on the outskirts of Pripyat city. It was a popular place to spend time relaxing for the young residents of the city, built to be home to the workers at the nearby Nuclear Power Plant. In 1986 the cafe along with the rest of the city was abandoned after the nuclear disaster. Nature is now taking over the cafe with trees fighting the concrete for dominance.

Key Points

  • Known as ‘The Dish” locally
  • Beautiful terraces overlooking the water
  • A popular spot for BBQ’s in the summer and ice skating in the winter
  • Abandoned in 1986
  • Large stained glass windows looking out towards the city
  • Cannot be entered any longer

Abandoned Cafe Pripyat

On the shores of a lake the beautiful cafe, Cafe Pripyat or “The Dish” as it was known locally was a popular place for the young residents of Pripyat city to meet.

The stone clad terrace had a wide stairway that lead down to the jetty where the pleasure boats would dock, picking up passengers for pleasure cruises along the water. At the top of the steps v-shaped columns supported a covered walkway.

Busy in summer with picnics and BBQ’s, in the winter months families would ice skate on the frozen water.

The inside of the cafe had ornate stained glass windows. Totally different to the uniform architecture seen in much of the city. A place for enjoyment and pleasure in this young forward thinking city.

Today the barbed wire fence is the only distinction between the city and the waterside. The city is slowly crumbling, but from the jetty the city sits on the skyline almost as if it is still loved and inhabited. The stained glass windows hang on. Shards of glass litter the floor, reflecting and glistening in the afternoon light as the warm light is filtered through the remains of the once stunning windows.

Outside nature is making a bid for the cafe. Trees grow under the covered walkway, the roof of this concrete structure the only thing stopping their upwards growth. Rolls of wire, left by the cafe owners grows through an old tree stump, forever stuck in this wild landscape.

Things to keep an eye out for at Cafe Pripyat

  • The large stained glass windows
  • Art deco style door handles and doors
  • Old vending machines
  • Trees fighting for light with the structure
  • Trees engulfing the building
  • Waterfront terraces
a metal post with rusting barbed wire with a building behind
broken stained glass windows
stained glass window fragments on the ground
Rusting art deco door handle
abandoned ferry at Pripyat in Ukraine

stained glass window with angel
metal wire growing through a tree trunk
concrete building supports with trees growing underneath at Cafe Pripyat
trees growing up against concrete
abandoned cafe with grass and trees growing
letter a in metal
shards of coloured broken glass
rusting water machine
two bollards and a river at Pripyat in ukraine

Photography Notes

There is lots to explore at Cafe Pripyat without having to enter the building. This is one of the places where it really felt that nature was winning the battle against man.

This, as with other areas in the Exclusion Zone is more of a documenting your visit with snap and go moments rather than artistic pieces. Focussing on details is worthwhile as well as the larger landscape down by the river.

Places near Cafe Pripyat

Visiting Pripyat Cafe

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.

Visits to Chernobyl are only possible as part of a guided tour of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. These tours can be booked in advance and all depart from Kyiv.

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