The world's worst nuclear disaster began with a systems test at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine on April 26, 1986. Over a quarter of a century has now passed, but the echo remains strong for those who lived through the accident. Each year in the week after Easter, Ukrainians celebrate remembrance days: a special time for villages within the Chernobyl exclusion zone to visit the graves of lost loved ones and homes left behind. Authorities grant one-day visiting permission to the former inhabitants of the abandoned villages, who use the opportunity to reunite with surviving neighbors and walk the streets of what some consider the only home they'™ve had. (Here, a family leaves the abandoned village of Ilovnitsa in their Lada.)

Photograph by Maciek Nabrdalik/VII

The world's worst nuclear disaster began with a systems test at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine on April 26, 1986. Over a quarter of a century has now passed, but the echo remains strong for those who lived through the accident. Each year in the week after Easter, Ukrainians celebrate remembrance days: a special time for villages within the Chernobyl exclusion zone to visit the graves of lost loved ones and homes left behind. Authorities grant one-day visiting permission to the former inhabitants of the abandoned villages, who use the opportunity to reunite with surviving neighbors and walk the streets of what some consider the only home they'™ve had. (Here, a family leaves the abandoned village of Ilovnitsa in their Lada.)

Photograph by Maciek Nabrdalik/VII

Return to Chernobyl

Chernobyl's Legacy, 26 Years Later
Chernobyl's Legacy, 26 Years Later

The world's worst nuclear disaster began with a systems test at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine on April 26, 1986. Over a quarter of a century has now passed, but the echo remains strong for those who lived through the accident. Each year in the week after Easter, Ukrainians celebrate remembrance days: a special time for villages within the Chernobyl exclusion zone to visit the graves of lost loved ones and homes left behind. Authorities grant one-day visiting permission to the former inhabitants of the abandoned villages, who use the opportunity to reunite with surviving neighbors and walk the streets of what some consider the only home they'™ve had. (Here, a family leaves the abandoned village of Ilovnitsa in their Lada.)

Photograph by Maciek Nabrdalik/VII
Inside the Exclusion Zone
Inside the Exclusion Zone
Anastasiya Patukh is seen in front of her house in Paryshiv, a half abandoned village inside the Chernobyl exclusion zone. Now she lives in Kovaln village.
Photograph by Maciek Nabrdalik/VII
No Going Home
No Going Home
An abondoned house in the city of Chernobyl.
Photograph by Maciek Nabrdalik/VII
Homesick
Homesick

Olga Boyarska climbs into her demolished house in Korogod village, inside Chernobyl's exclusion zone.

Photograph by Maciek Nabrdalik/VII
Return Visit
Return Visit
Grygoriy Rusak takes a picture of his brother Mykhailo Rusak sitting on a chair that was taken out from their house on the street of Korogod village. They live in Kiev now.
Photograph by Maciek Nabrdalik/VII
A Policeman's Home
A Policeman's Home
Volodymyr Shkurotenko touches a cross before he leaves the graveyard in Ilovnitsa - an abondoned village inside the exclusion zone. Volodymyr used to be a policeman before the evacuation.
Photograph by Maciek Nabrdalik/VII
Not Much Left
Not Much Left
Ivan Maksimenko visits his garage in the abandoned village of Ilovnitsa. Ivan was a driver at the nuclear plant before the evacuation. He was moved to Cherkasy, where he lives now.
Photograph by Maciek Nabrdalik/VII
Picnic in a Graveyard
Picnic in a Graveyard
Lidiya Kravchenko, Valentina Jaskovets, Nikolai Jaskovets, and Mykola Jertushenko are shown during a picnic on the trunk of their Lada car near the graveyard of Ilovnitsa, an abandoned village.
Photograph by Maciek Nabrdalik/VII
Smoking in the Ruins
Smoking in the Ruins
Fedir Romanenko lights a cigarette in his demolished house in the abandoned village of Ilovnitsa.
Photograph by Maciek Nabrdalik/VII
Once a School
Once a School
Anatoliy Bondar, a former director of a school in Paryshiv, visit its demolished building.
Photograph by Maciek Nabrdalik/VII