Ghost Town - Introduction

My name is Elena. I run this website and I don't have anything to sell. What I do have is my motorbike and the absolute freedom to ride it wherever curiosity and the speed demon take me.

This page is maintained by the author, but when internet traffic is heavy it may be down occasionally.


I have ridden all my life and over the years I have owned several different motorbikes. I ended my search for a perfect bike with a big kawasaki ninja, that boasts a mature 147 horse power, some serious bark, is fast as a bullet and comfortable for a long trips. here is more about my motorcycle

I travel a lot and one of my favorite destinations leads North from Kiev, towards so called Chernobyl "dead zone", which is 130kms from my home. Why my favorite? Because one can take long rides there on empty roads.

The people there all left and nature is blooming. There are beautiful woods and lakes.

In places where roads have not been travelled by trucks or army vehicles, they are in the same condition they were 20 years ago - except for an occasional blade of grass that discovered a crack to spring through. Time does not ruin roads, so they may stay this way until they can be opened to normal traffic again........ a few centuries from now.


To begin our journey, we must learn a little something about radiation. It is really very simple, and the device we use for measuring radiation levels is called a geiger counter . If you flick it on in Kiev, it will measure about 12-16 microroentgen per hour. In a typical city of Russia and America, it will read 10-12 microroentgen per hour. In the center of many European cities are 20 microR per hour, the radioactivity of the stone.

1,000 microroentgens equal one milliroentgen and 1,000 milliroentgens equal 1 roentgen. So one roentgen is 100,000 times the average radiation of a typical city. A dose of 500 roentgens within 5 hours is fatal to humans. Interestingly, it takes about 2 1/2 times that dosage to kill a chicken and over 100 times that to kill a cockroach.

This sort of radiation level can not be found in Chernobyl now. In the first days after explosion, some places around the reactor were emitting 3,000-30,000 roentgens per hour. The firemen who were sent to put out the reactor fire were fried on the spot by gamma radiation. The remains of the reactor were entombed within an enormous steel and concrete sarcophagus, so it is now relatively safe to travel to the area - as long as we do not step off of the roadway.......

The map above shows the radiation levels in different parts of the dead zone. The map will soon be replaced with a more comprehensive one that identifies more features.

It shows various levels of radiation on asphalt - usually on the middle of road - because at edge of the road it is twice as high. If you step 1 meter off the road it is 4 or 5 times higher. Radiation sits on the soil, on the grass, in apples and mushrooms. It is not retained by asphalt, which makes rides through this area possible.

I have never had problems with the dosimeter guys, who man the checkpoints. They are experts, and if they find radiation on you vehicle, they give it a chemical shower. I don't count those couple of times when "experts" tried to invent an excuse to give me a shower, because those had a lot more to do with physical biology than biological physics. next page

Take a look at Elena's latest project, the Serpent's Wall. A fascinating look at Kiev's history of defending itself with the aid of a wall built most likely during the early 11th century at the request of King Yaroslav(he built upon the fortification work begun under the reign of Volodymyr Svyatoslavovich in the late 10th century). It includes photos documenting the WWII era bunkers that were built into the existing Serpent's Wall.

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