Pripyat lies in northern Ukraine's Kiev Oblast (province), near the border of Belarus, and is supervised both directly by Kiev Oblast and a special ministry that handles the Zone of Alienation. The city was established in 1970 to house the workers of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant and their families after plans to build the plant near Kiev were aborted. Before the city's desertion after the disaster of 1986, approximately fifty thousand people lived in the city, with an annual growth of about fifteen hundred - an average of 800 born in the city and 500 newcomers from around the Soviet Union. There was also a railroad link to Kiev Yazov station.
As it was not considered to have much in the way of military importance, Pripyat did not have any entry restrictions prior to the disaster. At the time, nuclear power was praised as an achievement of Soviet engineering. The use of nuclear power for peaceful purposes had led to the popularization of the term "peaceful atom" (in Russian: мирный атом, mirnyj atom).
The city was built around the triangular principal, with construction headed by Moscow architect Nicolay Ostozhenko, along with other Moscow and Kiev architects, with multiple-story buildings which lead to the city being lined with broad vistas and open space, and a wide horizon viewable from nearly all corners. The roads were widened, and the streets and blocks were made symmetrical in order to improve navigation and reduce traffic and other issues.
The average age in Pripyat was 26 years old, and the total living space was 658,700 square miles (1,706,025 square kilometers), comprised of 13,414 apartments in 160 apartment blocks, 18 halls of residence that could hold up to 7,621 single persons, and an additional eight halls of residence reserved for married couples. There were fifteen primary schools, five secondary schools and one vocational school, a hospital that could hold 410 patients, three clinics, twenty-five stores and malls, twenty-seven cafes, cafeterias and restaurants, ten warehouses, a culture palace, movie theater and school of arts. There were also a host of sports and recreational facilities, and four factories that had an annual turnover of 477,000,000 rubles.
The city was evacuated a full day after the Chernobyl disaster. To reduce baggage, residents were told that this would be a three-day evacuation, and were only permitted to take two suitcases with them, including clothes and identification papers. Thus, the evacuation took two days. The following message was played on loudspeakers to announce the evacuation:
"For the attention of the residents of Pripyat! The City Council informs you that due to the accident at Chernobyl Power Station in the city of Pripyat the radioactive conditions in the vicinity are deteriorating. The Communist Party, its officials and the armed forces are taking necessary steps to combat this. Nevertheless, with the view to keep people as safe and healthy as possible, the children being top priority, we need to temporarily evacuate the citizens in the nearest towns of Kiev Oblast. For these reasons, starting from April 27, 1986 2 p.m. each apartment block will be able to have a bus at its disposal, supervised by the police and the city officials. It is highly advisable to take your documents, some vital personal belongings and a certain amount of food, just in case, with you. The senior executives of public and industrial facilities of the city has decided on the list of employees needed to stay in Pripyat to maintain these facilities in a good working order. All the houses will be guarded by the police during the evacuation period. Comrades, leaving your residences temporarily please make sure you have turned off the lights, electrical equipment and water off and shut the windows. Please keep calm and orderly in the process of this short-term evacuation."
The city is mostly derelict now, ravaged both by looters and inattention. The lack of maintenance on the buildings has led to roof leaks, trees growing inside buildings, and other forms of deterioration, including the collapse of a 4-story school in July of 2005.
The most famous Pripyat landmark is the Ferris Wheel, which is often seen in photo albums of the city and is featured in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare's "One Shot, One Kill" level.
The city and the surrounding Zone of Alienation are considered somewhat safe to visit nowadays, though tour guides are mandatory. Several Ukrainian agencies offer tours, and the paperwork is generally considered easy to obtain.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Shadow of Chernobyl depicts the city as being just south of the power plant, when in reality it is to the northeast.