Instagram Influencers Are Flocking To Chernobyl's Nuclear Disaster Site
Infamous nuclear disaster site Chernobyl is becoming an increasingly popular place for Instagram influencers to make content.
The site of the 1986 disaster -- which ultimately contributed to at least 4,000 deaths, and by some estimates as high as 50,000 -- has long been a place of morbid fascination, but HBO's smash hit miniseries Chernobyl has been credited with a new-found burst of interest.
Reuters reported several Chernobyl tour agencies have experienced a 40 percent rise in trip bookings since the series debuted in May.
Tours will take you to Pripyat, a town once home to 40,000 people, which was evacuated after the explosion. It is now a ghost town, with empty Soviet-era schools, apartment blocks and a fairground showing a life abandoned in a hurry.
They're also a perfect backdrop for a certain Instagram aesthetic, with a number of influencers posting posed photos in recent weeks.
"Inside the control room of the destroyed Unit 4 of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant," German swimwear founder Julia Baessler posted to her 318,000 followers this week.
"Standing there is just indescribable, it’s shocking and something I will never forget."
She is by no means the only one, with Ukrainians and international visitors alike visiting the site -- and walking away with a few staged Instagram shots for their feeds and fans.
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"The ghost town is now densely populated with the most diverse species of animals, as we have understood literally in a few minutes after crossing the peculiar border of the zone," a Ukranian woman said in a caption on one photo.
Other aspiring influencers have posted selfies from the site, and even raunchy model-style photos in various states of undress.
Chernobyl was opened to visitors by Ukrainian officials in 2010, with government officials saying radiation risks were "negligible".
Still, tour companies advise certain safety procedures, such as wearing clothes covering most of the body, not touching things like buildings or plants, and not eating, drinking or smoking in public.
Due to the tragic events that took place there, it is also against the rules to vandalise the site in any way, or else face being immediately evicted and placed on a public black list.
Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs recommends exercising a high degree of caution when travelling in Ukraine -- and not travelling to Crimea under any circumstances -- but does not specifically mention Chernobyl.
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