Access to Pripyat, unlike cities of military importance, was not restricted before the disaster, as the Soviet Union deemed nuclear power stations safer than other types of power plants. Nuclear power stations were presented as achievements of Soviet engineering, harnessing nuclear power for peaceful projects. The slogan "peaceful atom" (Russian: ?, romanized: mirnyy atom) was popular during those times. The original plan had been to build the plant only 25 km (16 mi) from Kyiv, but the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, among other bodies, expressed concern that would be too close to the city. As a result, the power station and Pripyat were built at their current locations, about 100 km (62 mi) from Kyiv. After the disaster, the city of Pripyat was evacuated in two days.
A panorama of Pripyat during summer. The Chernobyl power plant, currently undergoing decommissioning, is visible in the distance, at top center.
In 2009, over two decades after the Chernobyl incident, the Azure Swimming Pool shows decay after years of disuse.
In 1986, the city of Slavutych was constructed to replace Pripyat. After the city of Chernobyl, this was the second-largest city for accommodating power plant workers and scientists in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
The following statistics are from 1 January 1986.
Population: 49,400 before the disaster. The average age was about 26 years old. Total living space was 658,700 m2 (7,090,000 sq ft): 13,414 apartments in 160 apartment blocks, 18 halls of residence accommodating up to 7,621 single males or females, and eight halls of residence for married or de facto couples.
Education: 15 kindergartens and elementary schools for 4,980 children, and five secondary schools for 6,786 students.
Healthcare: One hospital that could accommodate up to 410 patients, and three clinics.
Trade: 25 stores and malls; 27 cafes, cafeterias, and restaurants that collectively could serve up to 5,535 customers simultaneously. 10 warehouses that could hold 4,430 tons of goods.
Culture: Three facilities: a culture palace, the Palace of Culture Energetik; a cinema; and a school of arts, with eight different societies.
Sports: 10 gyms, 10 shooting galleries, three indoor swimming-pools, two stadiums.
Recreation: One park, 35 playgrounds, 18,136 trees, 33,000 rose plants, 249,247 shrubs.
Industry: Four factories with total annual turnover of 477,000,000 rubles. One nuclear power plant with four reactors (plus two more planned).
Transportation: Yanov railway station, 167 urban buses, plus the nuclear power plant car park with 400 spaces.
Telecommunication: 2,926 local phones managed by the Pripyat Phone Company, plus 1,950 phones owned by Chernobyl power station's administration, Jupiter plant, and Department of Architecture and Urban Development.
The external relative gamma dose for a person in the open near the Chernobyl disaster site. The intermediate lived fission products like Cs-137 contribute nearly all of the gamma dose now after a number of decades have passed, see opposite.
The impact of the different isotopes on the radioactive contamination of the air soon after the accident. Drawn using data from the OECD report  and the second edition of 'The radiochemical manual'.
A concern is whether it is safe to visit Pripyat and its surroundings. The Zone of Alienation is considered relatively safe to visit, and several Ukrainian companies offer guided tours around the area. In most places within the city, the level of radiation does not exceed an equivalent dose of 1 ?Sv (one microsievert) per hour.
The drone manufacturer DJI produced Lost City of Chernobyl (May 2015), a documentary film about the work of photographer and cinematographer Philip Grossman and his five-year project in Pripyat and the Zone of Exclusion.
Filmmaker Danny Cooke used a drone to capture shots of the abandoned amusement park, some residential shots of decaying walls, children's toys, and gas masks, and collected them in a 3-minute short film Postcards From Chernobyl (released in November 2014), while making footage for the CBS News60 Minutes episode "Chernobyl: The Catastrophe That Never Ended" (early 2014).
The film Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011) shows a brief mission to Pripyat wherein the Autobots are first attacked by Shockwave while searching for a piece of alien technology which, in universe, is explained as being the catalyst to the Chernobyl disaster.
In the videogame Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, the map named Cache sees the action in the Pripyat area, with the Terrorist team trying to blow up a warehouse which could presumably contain nuclear waste, while the Counter-Terrorist team tries to stop it.
One special forces mission of the multi-player shooter Warface features a mission in the Pripyat area, including locations like the Azure Swimming Pool and Pripyat Amusement Park.
(Alphabetical by artist)
In DC Comics' Batwoman (2011) comic book series, the final mission of Kate Kane's training to become the titular superhero consists of a hostage rescue in the city.
Markiyan Kamysh's novel, A Stroll to the Zone, about illegal disaster tourism trips to Chernobyl, was praised by reviewers as the most interesting literature debut in Ukraine. The novel has been translated into French (titled La Zone), published by the French publishing house Arthaud (Groupe Flammarion), and was warmly welcomed by critics and praised in French magazines.
Much of the James Rollins' novel The Last Oracle takes place in Pripyat and around Chernobyl. The story revolves around a team of American "Killer Scientist" special agents who must stop a terrorist plot to unleash on the world the radiation of Lake Karachay, during the installation of the new sarcophagus over the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.
Ash, the rock band from Northern Ireland, has a song titled Pripyat included in their album A-Z Vol.1.
Crucifix song "Chernobyl" was filmed in Pripyat
The song "Dead City" (Ukrainian: ) by the Ukrainian Symphonic Metal band DELIA is about Pripyat, and scenes from the music video were shot in the city. DELIA's vocalist, Anastasia Sverkunova, was born in Pripyat just before the Chernobyl disaster.
In 2006, musician Example featured Pripyat in his 18-minute documentary of the ghost town and in his promotional video for his track, "What We Made".
In 2021, a second music video for Go_A's Eurovision 2021 entry "Shum" displayed the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant from a far distance.
The German pianist and composer Hauschka features Pripyat on the second track of his album Abandoned Cities.
The Swedish Industrial Metal band ZAVOD has a song titled "Pripyat" on their debut album Industrial City, released in 2012. The song covers the aftermath for the people of Pripyat who were affected by the disaster at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in 1986.
The Italian Rapper Caparezza has a song titled "Come Pripyat" on his album Exuvia, released in 2021.
Discovery Science Channel's Mysteries of the Abandoned episode "Chernobyl's Deadly Secrets", produced and hosted by Philip Grossman, was filmed over a four-day period in Pripyat and the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, in 2017.
The Animal Planet nature investigation series River Monsters conducted an extensive 2013 investigation within Pripyat, the exclusion zone, and the Chernobyl Power Plant in search of a radioactive mutated wels catfish.
City Diagram -- Neighborhood I -- Neighborhood II -- Neighborhood III -- Neighborhood IV -- Neighborhood IVa -- Neighborhood V -- City Center -- Medicare complex -- Public buildings complex -- Public buildings and educational buildings
The city was served by Yaniv station on the Chernihiv-Ovruch railway. It was an important passenger hub of the line and was located between the southern suburb of Pripyat and the village of Yaniv. An electric train terminus of Semikhody, built in 1988 and located in front of the nuclear plant, is currently the only operating station near Pripyat connecting it to Slavutych.