Pripyat: Schools and Nurseries

Pripyat Schools and Nurseries

There were 15 primary schools and 5 secondary schools in Pripyat. Toys and exercise books still remain strewn across the floor as a stark reminder of children that once attended.

Visited March 2014  Ukraine Pripyat, Ukraine Ghost Town

This report is part of a series from the ghost town of Pripyat and the Chernobyl exclusion zone. Check out the Chernobyl and Pripyat main page for more reports.


One of the hardest-hitting sights during a visit to Pripyat is the schools and kindergartens, strewn with toys, exercise books, and all the usual paraphernalia associated with education facilities.

It wasn’t the sight of the objects however, they are exactly what you’d expect to find. It was the images they conjure up in ones mind that struck me. Thousands of children potentially exposed to deadly radiation before being permanently evacuated must have a detrimental affect on them, psychologically if not physically.

There were 15 primary schools in Pripyat, catering for 5,000 children, plus 5 secondary schools and a professional school. We didn’t have time to visit them all, but we saw a good selection. Each in a differing state of decay; one had suffered a partial collapse while others seemed structurally sound.

Middle School 3 is one of the highlights of almost anyone’s visit to the ghost town. An image now iconic of Pripyat resides inside – a sea of gas masks covers the floor, each and every one of them child-sized. The chilling sight is a relic of the Cold War era, when there was a threat of chemical, biological or nuclear attack. The school kept the gas masks in storage in case of such an attack. Looters have since worked their way through, removing the small amount of silver contained within each filter and leaving the masks strewn across the floor.

Rooms jam-packed packed full of tiny beds in the nurseries serve as a reminder of just how many children there were. Pripyat was a booming city, with a much higher than average birth rate. It makes you wonder how those kids came through the experience and what they are doing now. Ironically, I suspect many of them now work at the power plant as part of the decommissioning process.

Pripyat Schools and Nurseries - Doll on a desk in a classroom
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries – Doll on a desk in a classroom
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries - Exercise book on a row of desks
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries – Exercise book on a row of desks
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries - Photos in a book
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries – Photos in a book
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries - A classroom with items on the desk
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries – A classroom with items on the desk
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries - School corridor with a desk in it
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries – School corridor with a desk in it
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries - Classroom with wooden desks
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries – Classroom with wooden desks
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries - Children's game and items on the wall
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries – Children’s game and items on the wall
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries - Gas mask on a desk
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries – Gas mask on a desk
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries - Soviet poster on a wall
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries – Soviet poster on a wall
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries - Corridor with large notice board
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries – Corridor with large notice board
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries - Child sized gas masks on the floor
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries – Child sized gas masks on the floor
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries - A sea of gas masks from the Cold War era
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries – A sea of gas masks from the Cold War era
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries - Bunk beds in a nursery
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries – Bunk beds in a nursery
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries - Doll in front of little lockers
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries – Doll in front of little lockers
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries - The doll and more lockers
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries – The doll and more lockers
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries - Toy in window with tower blocks behind
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries – Toy in window with tower blocks behind
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries - Tank toy in another window
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries – Tank toy in another window
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries - Front of one of the many schools
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries – Front of one of the many schools
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries - Chairs set out in a circle with lots of toys around
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries – Chairs set out in a circle with lots of toys around
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries - Stained glass window in school staircase
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries – Stained glass window in school staircase
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries - Seats in a hall
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries – Seats in a hall
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries - Classroom with desks
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries – Classroom with desks
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries - Science lesson
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries – Science lesson
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries - Classroom with lots of items on the desks
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries – Classroom with lots of items on the desks
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries - Toys on a shelving unit
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries – Toys on a shelving unit
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries - Books remain on shelves in the school library
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries – Books remain on shelves in the school library
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries - One of the schools has partially collapsed
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries – One of the schools has partially collapsed
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries - Grand piano on a stage in the music school
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries – Grand piano on a stage in the music school
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries - A piano with tiny child sized chairs
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries – A piano with tiny child sized chairs
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries - Dolls head on a bed
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries – Dolls head on a bed
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries - Clock on a wall in nursery
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries – Clock on a wall in nursery
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries - Classroom with school work spread all over
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries – Classroom with school work spread all over
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries - Cartoon style pictures on the wall
Pripyat Schools and Nurseries – Cartoon style pictures on the wall
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