Image - Chornobyl: Saint Elijah's Church. Image - An abandoned synagogue building in Chornobyl.

Chornobyl [Чорнобиль; Čornobyl']. Map: II-11. City (2015 pop 550) in Ivankiv raion center, Kyiv oblast; former port on the Prypiat River in Kyivan Polisia. Chornobyl was first mentioned in the chronicles in 1193 as a town in Kyiv principality. Before the Revolution of 1917 Chornobyl was an autonomous (zashtatne) town in Radomyshl county with a population employed in agriculture and small trades. For some time it was an important centre of Hasidism. The city has experienced periods of decline: in 1897 it had 9,300 inhabitants, while in 1926 it had 9,000. The main industry was food processing, but the city also had a pig-iron foundry and a ship-repair base. Since 1977 the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Station has been located in the vicinity of the city. In 1986 the city population was 12,500 and Chornobyl was a raion center in Kyiv oblast. However, following the Chornobyl nuclear disaster on 26 April 1986, the majority of the city’s residents were evacuated and Chornobyl turned into a ghost town.

[This article was updated in 2017.]

Image - A deserted street in Chornobyl, Kyiv oblast. Image - The Chornobyl Nuclear Power Station in Prypiat, near Chornobyl, Kyiv oblast.

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