Inside Chernobyl's Abandoned Hospital

A once-modern facility after 27 years of nuclear contamination and neglect

Around midnight on April 26, 1986, the engineers at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant initiated a test of reactor number 4. The test went wrong and resulted in one of the most devastating nuclear accidents in history, leaving the area a contaminated exclusion zone.

In the middle of that zone lies the city of Pripyat, home to 50,000 citizens, it was a modern symbol of progress until the accident. It had schools, public sporting grounds, shops, a cultural center, and a large hospital. Consisting of an inpatient building, three clinics, and a lab building, it had a capacity of 400 patients. Many of them were treated there for radiation sickness until the evacuation of the city.

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Trees have started to grow in front of the hospital's entrance. The radiation has damaged their sense of orientation, leaving them to grow crooked in all directions. [Timm Suess]

Hospital Lobby 2.jpg
Once inviting, the hospital lobby now is home to moss, rust, and mold. [Timm Suess]

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The once prominent light blue is fading from the walls of the hospital's ground floor corridor. [Timm Suess]

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A sole, patient-less hospital bed. [Timm Suess]

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On every floor, common rooms once provided opportunities for patients to socialize. [Timm Suess]

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Some plants survive, perhaps due to the damp floors. [Timm Suess]

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An odd collection of bedside tables inside one of the common rooms. [Timm Suess]

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Haphazardly strewn onto a water bottle, a couple of chess pieces lie discarded. [Timm Suess]

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Unwashed mattresses next to an autoclave. [Timm Suess]

Maternity Ward-4.jpg

Rusty skeletons of cribs in the maternity ward. [Timm Suess]

Preventing Injuries and Infections.jpg

Preventing injuries and infections was high on the priority list. [Timm Suess]

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A sign translated as "Resuscitation." [Timm Suess]

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One of the long hospital corridors. The higher the floor, the more desolate the state. [Timm Suess]

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On the roof of the hospital, a clear view to the power plant on the horizon. [Timm Suess]

Lab Building Entrance.jpg

The entrance to the lab building next door. [Timm Suess]

ScienceSymbols.jpg

Symbols of natural sciences etched onto the windows of the lab building: Chemistry, physics, biology, and pharmacology. [Timm Suess]

Triage.jpg

The triage zone in one of the clinics. The large boards showed who was on duty. [Timm Suess]

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An examination chair on the hospital grounds." [Timm Suess]
Presented by

Timm Suess is a photographer specializing in abandoned structures. His work has appeared in The Sunday Times Magazine, The Sun, and Nature. His photographs and videos of Chernobyl and Pripyat are compiled at Chernobyl Journal.

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