Kindergarten number 10 also known as Cheburashka is located in the abandoned city of Pripyat within the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. It was built in 1970 and abandoned just 16 years later when the disaster at the nuclear power plant changed the lives of every person in the city. Today it is abandoned and slowly being engulfed by the surrounding gardens.
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Cheburashka was a large kindergarten in the north of Pripyat . Built in 1970 it was in use for just 16 years.
It consists of a number of blocks all joined by long corridors with stairwells that are lit by beautiful stained glass windows with cartoon characters
The kindergarten cannot be entered now, but the large windows allow easy exploration of the rooms from the outside. The grounds around the kindergarten are overgrown but in the vegetation are playground toys and entertaining murals.
Pripyat Kindergarten Number 10 – Abandoned Cheburashka
Leaving out van near a tower block we pick our way through a narrow path. Overgrown even in the winter months the remains of a children’s playground pokes through the foliage. A swing is eerily quiet and the washing lines whistle as the wind ripples through them.
Ahead is a small set of railings, interspersed with ducks, cast in metal in a comical series of poses. It is easy to imaging the toddlers coming to this kindergarten, excited about playing with their small friends. Now the playground is overgrown with dense grasses and brambles. Their favourite playground activities swallowed up by the never ending march of Mother Nature.
The buildings have been cleared but small things remain. Toys that the liquidators didn’t remove, arranged now in a macabre tableau by visitors not afraid of entering buildings or risking contamination. Dolls and teddies sit with gas masks, placed to make a point.
Classroom crafts are scattered, the template of a hedgehog is amongst green christmas trees, while the face of a cat smiles back in a weird snapshot of an activity that was never completed.
Small shoes are still in lockers waiting for their owners to return to school the next day and beds are lined up ready for the afternoon nap that this kindergarten routine would have enforced. The moment of abandonment frozen in time telling the story of these young lives in what they have left behind.
Nature is making this building its home. Leaves blow down the corridors and small birds nest in openings once a fuse box and now a safe home to raise their own young.
Kindergarten 10 has lots of options for photography but do remember that you must not enter the building however good the photographic opportunities appear. The building structure is deteriorating and some buildings are now collapsing. There is also dust that in places that is still contaminated.
Using a long lens and zooming in on objects makes it possible to take photographs through the windows. Details are important in this location and taking time to look at the toys and the classroom items scattered on the floor can bring a new dimension to the lives of these young people.
How to Find Kindergarten Number 10
The kindergarten is located on Heroiv Stalinhradu Street 8a in Pripyat.
It cannot be entered but it is worth exploring through the windows.
Visiting the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone can only be done as part of an organised tour.
Theses tours can be booked online and depart from Kyiv in Ukraine, about 2 hours drive from the first checkpoint into the Exclusion Zone.
Find out more about planning and booking a tour to the Chernobyl Exclusion zone