A Short Guide On Khor Virap Monastery, Armenia


Khor Virap: An Ancient Armenian Monastery Near Turkish Border


AS A TURKISH TRAVELLER, I VISITED PERHAPS THE MOST SIGNIFICANT ARMENIAN ORTHODOX MONASTERY IN ARMENIA. HAVING BEEN LOCATED 45 KM’S AWAY FROM YEREVAN AND A COUPLE OF HUNDRED METERS FROM THE TURKISH BORDER, KHOR VIRAP WAS ONE OF THE MOST BREATH-TAKING SITES I HAVE EVER BEEN TO!

-Tips & What To Expect-

Work Hours

Summer 08.00 – 20.00

Winter 08.00 – 18.00

  • Khor Virap is one of the holiest sites in Armenia and it represents vital importance for the nation. Moreover, Surp Astvatsatsin Church is an active place of worship. As a result, during your visit, dressing moderately is suggested.
  • Getting there early is important to avert crowds and being able to take pictures and walk around comfortably.
  • Take a tour to Khor Virap and combine your visit with different touristic spots.
  • The village of Lusarat near Khor Virap has some shops where you can get food and water.
  • Even tough the tunnel is very narrow, visit the underground pit where Saint George the Illimunator had been imprisoned for 13 years.
  • Some locals will approach you and will offer you to release doves for a small fee. They will tell that this is a spiritual practice and doves are hoped to fly to Mount Ararat. It is not a scam however, some see this as animal cruelty.

Surp Astvatsatsin Church

-Khor Virap-

Khor Virap is one of the most popular spots in Armenia. Two main reasons behind its popularity are its location and religious significance. The monastery is located a couple of hundred meters away from Turkish-Armenian border right near Mount Ararat, it is so close that you can easily discern Turkish soldiers and homes in Turkish soil. As you might think, the view is… SPECTACULAR.

 However, what really makes this spot quite prominent is a religous-historical myth in which Saint Gregory the Illuminator who is known to be the first Armenian Saint who converted to Christianity, was imprisoned in the dungeons of Khor Virap for 13 years.

The spectacular view of Mount Ararat and beautiful Armenian plain

Interior of Surp Astvatsatsin Church

Today, aside from its touristic purpose, Khor Virap is a common spot for traditional Armenian weddings, baptize ceremonies and pilgrimage. Upon visiting here, you might as well see some monks and Armenian Orthodox priests living and practicing their religious ceremonies.

-Brief History of Khor Virap-

The first structure of Khor Virap monastery complex was built in 642 CE. The main church Surp Astvatsatsin Church was built in the 17th century and it has been serving as the main symbol of the monastery complex. The iconic dungeon where the first Armenian saint George the Illuminator had been imprisoned for 13 years is still intact on the bottom of St. Gevorg Chapel. You can go down 200 feet to see the small dungeon room where the saint was held, however it is a very suffocating place so if you are claustrophobic, be cautious.

The big graveyard near the monastery

Inside St. Gevorg Chapel

-Where Is It Located?-

Khor Virap is located 45 kilometres away in the remote suburbs of Yerevan. Also, it is only a couple of hundred meters away from the Turkish border, which indeed adds an intriguing vibe. 3 most common ways of transport is taking a cab, going my marshrutkas (minibuses) or taking a tour there. Going all the way there by minibus is the least comfortable and convenient option. I, personally went there by tour which can be around the same prices as taking a cab.

Me and the beautiful Armenian plain

The road from Yerevan to Khor Virap has endless plains and small villages on both sides


For tours I would strongly recommend you to check HYUR SERVICE company. They provide outstanding service with experienced guides. Moreover, you can combine your visit to Khor Virap with different parts of Armenia by buying an extensive tour package.


IF YOU ENJOYED READING THIS POST, THEN YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT MY POST “11 AMAZING THINGS TO DO IN YEREVAN”


THANK YOU FOR READING!



Follow Me On Instagram

Advertisements

Tazi Canyon: Hidden Wonder of Antalya


Hidden Gem of Antalya: Tazi Canyon


Antalya is one of the most bustling tourism hotspots in Turkey. It is a busy seaside town with countless ancient Greek & Roman cities, paradisiacal beaches, picturesque mountains and world class resorts. Many know about the main spots of this flourishing city but nobody really knows about the hidden gems of the region. In this post you will be introduced one of the most picturesque and marvelous spots of Turkey: TAZI CANYON!

Can you believe such place has existed and nobody but a couple of locals knew about this place until last year?

About Tazı Canyon

Tazı Canyon is a breath-taking natural wonder that is located within the borders of Köprülü Canyon Natural Park. It stands only 10 kilometres away from the rafting center of Köprülü Canyon Natural Park. The canyon has recently become popular after the smartphone company Huawei promoted it in a commercial. Some locals told us that this canyon hosted very little amount of tourists before the Huawei commercial, most of them being foreigners. However now, with its 300-meter-long walls, Tazı Canyon hosts hundreds of visitors each day.


Walls of the Canyon reach up to 400 meters! Let alone Antalya, one of the most steep ones in Turkey!

Getting There

Road from Köprülü Canyon Rafting area is pretty fine. However after the first bifurcation, road leading to Gaziler village is asphalted but pretty narrow. Upon reaching Gaziler Village which is a kilometer away from Tazı Canyon, you are adviced to park your car at the parking lot unless you have an off-road vehicle. Parking is free of charge but locals might ask a small amount like 5 liras which is less than a Euro. From that point, you can either go the rest of the road by foot or rent a quad bike for 50 liras (less than 10£ for round trip). Ayesha and I went the rest by off-road quad bike which was super fun.


Ayesha and I riding quad bike in the forest

Exploring Tazi Canyon

Flora and fauna are pretty rich in this heavenly area. Bear, bobcat, caracal, wild boar, deer, fox, wolf, badger, rabbit, lynx, snake, rock eagle and vulture are some of the predators and animals living in this area. During our visit, Ayesha and I saw a couple of eagles and a huge vulture near the cliff. The forest on the sides of Canyon is so dense and flourishing that it offers such a picturesque view. I have been to countless places in Turkey, however I haven’t witnessed such a natural wonder!

Many visitors only come to Köprülü Canyon Natural Park for rafting and to chill alongside the stream, unfortunately nobody really visits Tazı Canyon. I strongly recommended you to stop by this marvelous wonder upon visiting this area! Within a year, Tazı Canyon has become one of the top attractions of Antalya.


There is a small stream flowing through Tazı Canyon

-! Warnings !-

Since Tazı Canyon has recently become a popular spot for visitors, there are no signboards or warnings about the perils you might face. The most instagrammy spots are the big boulders bordering the 300-meter steep cliff so you are advised to be really careful. Moreover, the big boulders people step on for more likes on Instagram are quite slippery due to small weeds growing on them, so please be cautious!

An additional advise would be about the road after Gaziler village, if you come here by an automobile leave your car when the asphalt ends and walk 15-20 minutes to the Canyon for the rest of the dirt road would be so challenging for your car.

Where exactly Tazi Canyon is located?

Click To Watch The Huawei Commercial With Tazi Canyon In It



IF YOU ENJOYED READING THIS POST, THEN YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT MY POST “STANOZ: REMNANTS OF AN OLD ARMENIAN VILLAGE IN ANKARA!”



THANK YOU FOR READING!



Follow Me On Instagram

6 Best Places for Dessert & Coffee in Rome


TOP PLACES IN ROME TO GRAB DELICIOUS DOLCES


Upon completing my 5th month in Rome I decided to make a short list of my top 6 places for dessert&coffee in Rome. Gelato, croissant, tiramisu, coffee and many other heavanly food that will made you addicted!

1-GELATERIA LA ROMANA

PRICES

2 Scoops 2,20€ – 3 Scoops 2.70€ – 4 Scoops 3.20€ – 5 Scoops 4.00€ – Crepes from 3.00 €

WORKING HOURS

Monday-Friday         12:00 PM – 12:00 AM

Saturday-Sunday     11:00 PM – 12:00 AM

Gelateria la Romana is a small gelato&dessert chain in Rome and they have the best ice cream I have ever had in my life! For me their ice cream is artisanship, it is pure art! Also the interior of the shop is very elegantly designed.Gelateria La Romana has 3 branches and for sure they all have the same quality! However, I kinda feel more hooked on the one that is on Via Cola di Rienzo.

If you go to the one on Via Cola di Rienzo, just take a long walk on that street while eating tour gelatos. But if you want to sit somewhere while eating your gelato, I suggest you to go down to the canal through the stairs which at the point where the bridge ends. You will be amazed how quiet and peaceful is the canal. The variety of flavor will surprise you! My favorite ones are banana, pistachio, dark chocolate and mango. You should definitely try out these. If you are not a gelato person, you might as well try out their other desserts. Okay, even the name says a lot about their experty on ice cream, however they also have pretty tasty crepes, crumb cakes and pies.

Banana, Pistachio, Mango and Dark Chocolate combination is amazing!

The interior of Gelateria La Romana.



2-SANT’ EUSTACHIO IL CAFFE 

WORKING HOURS

Sunday-Thursday        8:00 AM – 1:00 AM

Friday                          8:00 AM – 1:30 AM

Saturday                      8:00 AM – 2:00 AM

The best espresso I have had in Italy! Among locals, this small shop is considered to be serving the tastiest espresso in Rome. Frankly, the espresso I had was super smooth taste-wise.

Having been located only 5 minutes away by walk from the ancient Roman temple Pantheon, Sant’ Eustachio Il Cafe is a pretty popular spot among tourists. Don’t be surprised if you see a long line of people waiting in front of the shop. If you prefer to sit outside and ask for service, you will be charged 2.5 Euros per person. Personally I would recommend you to have your drink while standing at the bar for it gives you a more authentic Italian espresso shop experience.

Inside the shop. You might as well get packed coffee to take it back to your country.

That’s how the shop looks like. Look carefully so it would be easier for you once you are there to discern the place amongst the tourist crowds.

This is the most up-to-date menu I could find. Anyways just check it to have an idea about the prices 🙂



3-TWO SIZES

WORKING HOURS

Friday-Saturday 11:00 AM – 11:00 PM

Sunday-Thursday 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM

Yummiest tiramisu ever! Two Sizes is rated as the best tiramisu place in Rome on Internet. Which means that it is seriously dope! 🙂

The funny thing is, even though they are rated as the best tiramisu place, their prices are the cheapest 🙂 Two Sizes is very small, literally a hole in the wall but it is always packed! 

They have 3 different sizes: Big 3.50 €, Medium 2.50 €, Small 1.50 € (literally the small one is 2 morsels).  Classic, Caramel, Pistachio, Peanut Butter and Strawberry are the flavors they have. But I always go with the classic one 🙂

I just grabbed a tiramisu and took a night walk in downtown Rome. Try it sometime! 🙂

Oh it looks like heaven! <333



4-FARO

WORKING HOURS

Monday-Friday 7:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Saturday-Sunday 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM

In Faro I had the best cappuccino! Unlike the places that are mentioned above Faro is not really like a small shop where you get stuff for take away then leave. It is a proper cafe where you can sit for a long time and chill as you wish.

I am not a fan of their food but I really am fond of their coffee and desserts. Apart from the stuff on menu, they often prepare different desserts like some sort of “dessert of the day” 🙂 However they don’t do it everyday so just name it yourself 🙂 Ask the staff if they can recommend what has been made that very day. You will not be disappointed I assure you 🙂

Faro has some great desserts like pumpkin cheesecake and strawberry crumb cake in flowerpot. The staff is very friendly and they speak English. Don’t forget to have cappuccino in Faro! Hope you like it folks! 🙂

Chicken Sandwich, Cappuccino, Americano and Strawberry Cheesecake 🙂

Interior of Faro. Pretty cosy 🙂



5-POMPI

WORKING HOURS

Everyday 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM

Indisputably Pompi is the first place that comes to mind when you think of tiramisu in Rome! It is not my favorite but I still like it very much. 

Pompi has 7 branches in Rome, however the most popular Pompi is the one near Piazza di Spagna. Many people sit on the stones on the abutting street and have their tiramisu very uncomfortably. Not very fun ain’t it? Grab yourself a tiramisu, walk towards the Spanish Steps and have your dessert there 🙂 No rush no hurry! Just enjoy your time :)) The scenery is amazing there. It will definitely make you feel like a Roman 🙂  In addition you can also opt for the branch near Trevi Fountain. But I think that area is always so packed and it is not very fun to try to find a place to sit and have tiramisu while hundreds of people are walking in chaos. I would opt for the first one, but of course you are the boss of your trip 🙂

I personally like the classic one the most for it has a very balanced taste between bitter chocolate and sweet cream, however you should also try the one with banana! The prices vary between 4.00-5.00 €.

Classic Tiramisu and Spanish Steps <3

Apart from classic, you can also have tiramisu with strawberries, banana or berries 🙂 Opt for banana I would say :))



6-LA CASA DEL CAFFE TAZZA D’ORO

WORKING HOURS

Monday-Saturday 7:00 AM – 8:00 PM

Sunday 10:30 AM – 7.15 PM

Sant’ Eustachio vs. Tazza D’oro. I always hear this debate when people start speaking about which place has the best coffee in Rome. After some time it fells like Roma vs. Lazio rivalry 🙂

Tazza D’oro is literally right near Pantheon. It is one of the places that has managed to maintain their quality and consistency despite the fame. Doesn’t matter when you go, you will always find this place full of people! I love the coffee there! One small suggestion: before you go to Tazza D’oro, get yourself a small pack of Ferro Rocher and have it with your coffee. Blends together so well 🙂

Before going to Pantheon just stop by Tazza D’oro and recharge your energy with a cup of tasty coffee! Or you might as well come here to get some rest after covering the major spots around! As you see fit! In the end, your vacation is a movie which you star in! 🙂

Tazza D’oro has such a cool exterior. Vintage fonts and pine trees. It draws attention at first sight 🙂

That is how the interior looks like. Again I recommend you to have your drink at the bar. It feels more authentic! 🙂 You can also chat with the staff. They are pretty friendly and chill people 🙂


IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN POSTS ABOUT ROME – ITALY, CHECK OUT THE DAY TRIP TO THE ITALIAN SEASIDE TOWN OF OSTIA POST AS WELL!


THANK YOU FOR READING!



Follow Me On Instagram

The Ghost Cities: Chernobyl & Pripyat


THE GHOST CITIES: CHERNOBYL & PRIPYAT


A stop-by-stop journal of our trip to the abandoned city of Pripyat, and the Chernobyl power plant. check out for more information!

Beginning Our Journey

7.00 am. We woke up to pack the essentials, like our GoPro, some snacks and plenty of water bottles. After that we left our hotel around 7.30am and made our way to the train station. Here, we grabbed some sandwiches and headed to the KFC behind Kyiv-Pasazhyrskyi Railway Station (also known as Pivdenny Station) where we met our small but awesome tour group with whom we were gonna be traveling with. In addition to us, there were five German adventurers who were also very eager to see the one of the world’s biggest exclusion zones: Chernobyl!

We also got to meet our extremely pleasant and enthusiastic tour guide from ChernobylWel.com who took each of our passports to confirm our places and then led us to an adorable minivan where we all piled in and paid our fee for our trip. We each paid $129 for the one-dayretro tour (more information about the company and our tour is available below) and began our hour and a half long drive from Kiev to Chernobyl!

Along the way we watched an hour long documentary about the Chernobyl Disaster
In the van, our guide gave us a very cool newspaper which contained quite a lot of info about the Chernobyl Disaster

Getting Close to Chernobyl Exclusion Zone

Dityatki Security Checkpoint

We stopped along the way for some snacks and drinks and got to know each other and talk. Our next stop was an hour away and in the mean time, our guide played an informative documentary for us in the bus about Chernobyl called The Battle of Chernobyl, which I would recommend anyone interested in the event to watch because it was not only incredibly educational but also very thrilling and well-directed.

As we watched our documentary, we headed to our first stop, at the Dityatki Security Checkpoint held by the military. Here they checked our passports and our tour guide confirmed our entry into the area which is strictly prohibited from entering without an official tour. We also got some neat Geiger Counters, devices which measure radiation, and immediately began measuring areas around us!

Dityatki Security Check, Photos were not allowed but I took one covertly

Inside Chernobyl

Village of Zalissya

10.30 am or so, we passed the security control and continued our trip. Our first main stop was an abandoned village of Zalissya. We walked around and saw several abandoned buildings, houses, a city hall and many cars. This was one of the many villages close enough to Chernobyl to have been evacuated swiftly right after the explosion and never inhabited again. It was very thrilling walking along the main path of an abandoned village that had been completely reclaimed by nature!

A small Soviet village old Zallisya which was deserted after the disaster
Skull and remains of an elk that had died some time ago.
An abandoned house in Zallisya
A Soviet governmental building

Chernobyl City Sign

​We then had a short stop at the Chernobyl sign, which indicated that we had officially entered the city. We took some photos wearing the cool breathing masks, marking the official start to the real Chernobyl adventure.​​

At the Chernobyl city sign

St. Elijah Church

We then headed to the St. Elijah Church, a beautiful blue, white and gold structure  still standing after 30 years in a pristine state.  It was the main place of worship before the disaster and legend has it that the people foresaw the disaster through a vision of the Virgin Mary carrying dried wormwood (which translates in Ukrainian to Chernobyl) 10 years before the disaster ever happened right above the church. It was a well-reported incident in the papers in around April of 1976. Therefore, this church has a great significance on Chernobyl incident.

St. Elijah Church

– Chernobyl Riverport and Alley of Memory –

After that, we headed to the Alley of Memory and Hope and the Woodworm Star Memorial, which was a monument marking the memorial site dedicated to all those cities effected by the disaster.

Hope and the Woodworm Star Memorial

We then had another quick stop at the Chernobyl Riverport still had some ships that some locals used as well as those remaining from 30 years ago. Our guide told us that although the water and soil was quite radioactive, the radioactivity has sunken below ground quite a bit, making it safer for a small number of locals who still inhabit the area and like to come and fish or picnic by the port.

Road to Chernobyl Port

We made two more quick short stops, one was at the Monument to “Those Who Saved the World”, a structure outside the fire station dedicated to all the firemen, engineers, miners, scientists etc. who helped prevent the disaster from becoming much more deadly and threatening for the rest of the world, despite the cost to themselves.

We also visited the Chernobyl Open Air Museum for Machinery, which housed various examples of the original machines and vehicles used in fighting the disaster. Although they were no longer radioactively dangerous, as we put our Geiger counters closer, they showed a slightly higher level of radiation than normal!

Heroic firefighters who sacrificed themselves to end the disaster, Monument to “Those Who Saved the World”
The equipment that firefighters used during the disaster still has high numbers of radiation

Lunch Break At The Canteen

We then headed to the small Chernobyl Hotel and Power plant Canteen, where many tourists stay overnight as well, and had our lunch there. Surprisingly, it was well above our expectations! It included some cold pork sausages, scrambled eggs, oranges, vegetables and some sweet Palmiers as appetizers. We had a chicken stock and potato soup and our main dish – a grilled chicken with a cheese sauce, mashed potatoes and Brussels sprouts and beans. We also had some sweet fresh cherry juice! The meal was excellent, fresh and hot from the stove! It was a great time to mingle with our fellow tour-buddies and relax with a delicious meal!

Dead Lands Between Chernobyl and Pripyat

Duga Soviet Military Radar

Right after the awesome lunch, we started heading for the enormous Soviet Over-The-Horizon Radar system called Duga, which was used from 1976 to 1989, and functioned as a early-warning system. Also known as the Russian Woodpecker, this giant metallic structure stretches endlessly far and wide in Chernobyl 2, the area nearby the main Chernobyl Power Plant. We also got to meet the famous Chernobyl dog, Tarzan!

The huge radar which is now a pile of metal
Ayesha with Tarzan, the radioactive dog of the area
You can see how big the radar was

– Elementary School –

Our next stop was one of the most excited and spookiest places we visited – the elementary school! This was a boarding school for the young children of the workers of the power plant and stood as a frozen piece in time. As we walked up the path towards the school building, we came across several discarded toys and dolls that have laid there for over 30 years now. Inside, books, clothes, toys and furniture lay strewn all over the floor, covered in dust.

The radiation inside the school was much lower than even that at the security check point miles away, since the radiation did not enter as much inside buildings. Upon leaving, our tour guide told us about the radiation hotspot that existed in this area, 90 times higher than the normal amount we were seeing. These hotspots exist in those areas were the soil remains exposed and is not covered by asphalt as are most other surfaces to suppress.​

A doll we discerned among the bushes and mud at the entrance of the school
Old cupboards remaining from 1986
Ayesha and I in the sleeping room of the school
In some places radiation levels were up to 500 levels higher than average
Books, dolls and toys left is they were in 1986
Around the school there were many small buildings and demolished cars claimed back by nature

Arriving At The Power Plant

– Chernobyl Railway Bridge –

As we left the elementary school, we gradually started to come into view of the giant shiny silver dome that now houses the infamous reactor number 4. This panoramic view of the power plant we got from across the Pripyat River was magnificent as we got to see the huge and wide-stretching power plant and the sarcophagus that now covers it. ​

We then drove to the entrance of the Chernobyl Power Plant where we headed to the famous railway bridge, now obviously unused, to feed the huge catfish that famously swim in the Pripyat river. Our tour guide had brought some bread along from the canteen we had eaten at earlier and gave some to us to throw to the catfish. They catfish were larger than normal and in such high numbers.

The infamous Reactor 4! Since the power plant was recently covered by a sarcophagus, the radiation level is not that high here
Feeding the radioactive catfish from the infamous railway bridge

Reactor Number 4 –

It was now time to go to the gates of the Reactor Number 4! Here we got to see the famous sarcophagus up close and took many photos next to the Chernobyl Monument. The radiation here was no longer extremely high after the construction of the sarcophagus had been completed with the help of French constructors. It was extremely overwhelming to stand so close to the site of one of the biggest human-made disasters in the world, and at a site where at one time such chaos and mayhem ensued.

With our German crew whom we took the tour with
Goodbye Reactor 4! Hope we never meet again 🙂

Inside The Town Of Pripyat

– Pripyat City Sign –

We were now headed for one of the most exciting part of the trip – the town of Pripyat! First, we stopped stopped shortly in front of the Pripyat town sign, and took several photos. Then we passed through the Red Forest, where the radiation level still remains higher than the rest of Chernobyl.

With the famous Pripyat city sign! Achievement unlocked 🙂
We passed along many old Soviet blocks like this along the way to Pripyat

– Pripyat Downtown –

We finally arrived in main center of the town of Pripyat! To our right, was a large apartment building where many of the residents once lived. It was one of the luxurious apartment buildings of the town in those times. Our exploration inside the town of Pripyat had finally begun!

Pripyat downtown
A dilapidated restaurant in downtown Pripyat

– Supermarket –

Our first sight was the ruin of a supermarket that was once a prime example of the modern Soviet constructions and facilities. Fun fact: after the evacuation of the town, it was only in 2001 when the next major supermarket was constructed in Ukraine! It was one of many modern and luxurious buildings the Soviet government built as part of their plan to make Pripyat a model city in the Soviet Union.

Some of the signboards in Russian were still legible
Exploring the supermarket and the dark rooms inside the building
Rusty old fridges and many demolished equipments

– Theather –

We then walked to the theater, now ruined and falling down but still possessing some remnants of the past. The theater chairs were still fixed upon the ground, and the overhead stage lights had fallen onto the stage but still remained intact. The wooden stage floor was partially collapsed and the wood decaying in many places. Many equipments had become rusty over the years but the environment was truly impressive and preserved the past so hauntingly.

There were some old Soviet propaganda posters and pictures of prominent leaders piled at the entrance
Soviet politicans
Exploring the deserted theater where our geiger counter beeped a couple of times

– Pripyat Amusement Park –

The next stop was perhaps the most popularly advertised and well-known spot in Pripyat – the amusement park! True to it’s word, the place was a haunting picture of a once lively and joyful spot where children once played and families came together for recreation. We started by walking towards the bumper cars, seeing a beautiful mural on the wall painted almost 30 years ago, of a herd of reindeer grazing. The cars, which had sat in the same place for three decades now, were embraced by mother nature by now.

There were cool artworks and gratifies on the wall
In some parts, the levels of radiation drastically increased!

– Ferris Wheel and Bumper Car Field –

Next to it, standing tall and mighty was the Ferris wheel, with its yellow carriages flowing in the wind still holding onto the wheel. It seemed like any moment the wheel would open and queues would form and the park would liven up! Everything was in its place and untouched by anything except the years and the environment. Probably, this place had the highest level of radiation among all spots we covered in our tour.

The famous bumper car field
Me with the iconic Pripyat Ferris Wheel
Deserted bumpercars

– Culture Center of Pripyat –

We now moved on to the culture center of Pripyat, which included two very interesting locations! As we walked into the culture center and up stairs that were completely disintegrating, we first entered the large basketball court, with the hoops still attached to the board. The place looked half demolished as the years took a toll. We moved onto the next room through a small passage, to the swimming pool. The pool was one of the largest public pools I’ve seen! Around it, changing rooms for men and women separately were aligned next to each other. Both seemed damp and dark, however the structure had remained intact and you could still see the showers and the cabins inside for changing.

The famous pool of Pripyat. Now nothing but a demolished structure
Me at the dilapidated basketball court
A bench at the entrance of the Culture Center of Pripyat
1.22 am/pm since 1986
Creepy shower rooms abutting the pool
Another view of the pool

– Grammar School –

Next up was the grammar school! This was probably the most picturesque place of all! We entered through a large hallway that led us to a room on our right. This large common area was a dining hall and a study room. As soon as we entered, we were overwhelmed by the number of stimuli that hit us. 

A notebook with Russian handwriting in the school
In an abandoned classroom with books scattered on the floor
Some books with illustrations and and alphabet chart in a classroom

To the left corner of the room, a sea of gas masks piled up. Around the room, tables lay with various kinds of books and pages, and notes written from even before 1986. A cashier machine sat atop a table with its buttons coming out and the rust gradually creeping over the whole thing.

After exploring, we moved onward down the main hall, which led to the L-shaped corridors full of classrooms, most locked. We walked into an open one and were beheld by amazement. In other words, it felt as if I had entered a portal into 1986. Desks lined up in rows and columns still remained and shelves had fallen down along with the books they contained. The desks still had countless books and pages scattered around and projects made by students. The sight is difficult to give justice to in describing it in words!

Hundreds of gas masks piled on the floor. We were told not to touch!
Some dusty ragged clothes were left on tables
Another room with gas masks
A rusty cash registrar
Exploring the classrooms
Due to abandonment, many walls are about to collapse
Many parts of the ceiling has fallen down

– Pripyat Recreational Club –

After a long and weary day, we arrived at our last stop of the trip. As we walked up the stone path, our guide told us we were at the Pripyat Recreational Club. This building was cornered by the Pripyat River, which was overlooked by a large porch where parties and events were often held. Inside, plates, glasses and shelves and even vending machines lay broken and scattered everywhere. It was a haunting scene of a place once full of parties and liveliness. In a large room, which appeared to be a ball room, was a glass mosaic wall, painted with Soviet art, as we were told. We explored and walked around, taking in the lack of life in the place – the only sound of us walking around.

The building of the Pripyat Recreational Club
The façade of the structure with broken glasses
The artworks on glasses were intact in the grand hall
We stumbled upon an interesting statue while heading towards the Pripyat Recreational Club

Headed Back

We finally headed back. It had been a tiring day but that was not of the slightest concern considering the incredible and unique day we had just had. It was a two hour journey back to Kiev, and on the way we stopped at the security check point once again where the military officers scanned us for any radiation left on us. Upon reaching the Kiev central train station, we all said our goodbyes and parted our ways.

CHECK OUT MORE OF THE CITY GUIDES AND TOP THINGS TO DO IN VARIOUS CITIES ON TRAVEL TIPS PAGE!


THANK YOU FOR READING!



Follow Me On Instagram

Spend a Day In Copenhagen, Denmark!

A Day In Copenhagen


Got a day to spend in the beautiful city of spires, Copenhagen, Denmark? See what sights, eateries and activities you must check!

1-START THE DAY WITH AN AMAZING BREAKFAST AT GRØD!

GRØD is an amazing cafe with mind blowing sorts of porridges, pokes and coffee! The place is quite small but it is indeed very cosy. Portions they serve are actually quite filling so even you opt for small  portion, it will fill you up for a few hours for sure! For an amazing breakfast, stop by this amazing cafe and taste their yummy stuff!

2-WALK THROUGH THE BIGGEST CEMETERY OF THE CITY AND VISIT ANDERSEN’S GRAVE (ASISTENS KIRKEGÅRD)

Asistens Cemetery is the biggest one in Copenhagen and perhaps all Denmark! Hans Christian Andersen being the most famous one, the cemetery has graves of many famous people. To be frank the place feels more like a park than cemetery. So it is not really a depressing place 🙂 After Grød, you can take a nice walk around the old cemetery! 🙂

3-PASS THE QUEEN LOUISE BRIDGE AND WALK THROUGH THE CANAL 

Upon visiting the cemetery, walk towards south to downtown area. Pass the beautiful Queen Louise Bridge and walk along the Pebling So Canal! This part of the city is very tranquil and I loved it very much! You might as well see geese, ducks and many other sorts of birds in the canal!

4-VISIT THE HISTORICAL ØSTRE ANLÆG PARK  

Østre Anlæg which was once a part of the old fortifications of the city, is one of the most alluring public parks in Copenhagen. It is literally a forest inside Copenhagen! Upon entering the park you will run into different birds and see many small ponds, this place is indeed a must-see in this city. 

5-TOUR THE 17-CENTURY FORTRESS KASTELLET

This pentagon shaped fortress is one of the most well preserved structures in Europe! This citadel now also serves as a public park because of its beautiful architecture and unique natural elements. Kastellet, having been spread over acres, is a perfect place to take walks!

BONUS PLACE! If you have time, I strongly recommend you to check out the medieval St. Alban’s Church abutting the Kastellet zone!

6-CHECK OUT THE LITTLE MERMAID STATUE RIGHT NEAR THE COAST

Inspired by Andersen’s story, The Little Mermaid Statue was built 106 years ago. It has been one of the most popular attractions in Denmark. As you can see in the photo, the statue is near the sea and the view is very nice from there. After visiting Kastellet, you can stop by this statue for sometime and witness the beautiful view 🙂

7-WALK AROUND THE MOST POPULAR SIGHT: NYHAVN CANAL 

Nyhavn is indeed the most popular sight of the city. This 17-century canal is the entertainment and waterfront area of Copenhagen. Buildings with different colors, authentic boats, amazing restaurants and marvelous athmosphere! This place was also my favorite spot in the city! As a joke locals say it doesn’t count if you haven’t been to Nyhavn! 🙂

8-VISIT THE KING’S GARDEN AND ROSENBORG CASTLE

King’s Garden is an alluring and enormous botanical garden in the middle of the city. Remaining from the 17th century, Rosernborg Castle is the old residence of the Danish Royal family. It is currently serving as a museum with a massive collection of artifacts of the royal family line of Denmark.

9-CHECK OUT THE BEAUTIFUL ROUND TOWER

Round Tower is the oldest functioning observatory in Denmark as well as Europe.It is possible to see the tower’s core by standing on a glass floor, 25 metres above the ground. Moreover, the scenery from the top is mind blowing. Copenhagen lies in front of you! 🙂


THANK YOU FOR READING!


CHECK OUT MORE OF THE CITY GUIDES AND TOP THINGS TO DO IN VARIOUS CITIES ON TRAVEL TIPS PAGE!


Follow Me On Instagram