The abandoned outdoor fairground was supposed to be opened on May 1, 1986, in time for European May Day celebrations. However, these plans were scrapped when the Chernobyl disaster struck just a few miles away. On April 26, 1986, a catastrophic accident occurred in the No. 4 nuclear reactor of the Lenin Nuclear Power Plant.
The event saw 400 times more radioactive material than the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki sent into the sky.
Pripyat, which is on the Belarusian border, was not evacuated until several hours after the explosion – despite widespread reports of illness, severe headaches, uncontrollable vomiting and radiation burns.
Worse still, Soviet officials ordered for the part-opening of the amusement park to keep locals distracted, according to Amazon Prime’s “Chernobyl Cafe”.
The 2016 documentary claimed: “An amusement park should have been opened four days after the disaster, yet the Ferris wheel was started the day after the explosion.
“This was to keep the locals busy and avoid panic before the evacuation.
“It became the symbol of the city, this is the inescapable cliche.”
Constructed under the Soviet Union, the park was typical of many large cities and built under the Yeysk-based firm “Attraction”.
Located north-west to the Palace of Culture in the centre of Pripyat, the park had five attractions including a carnival shooting game, Russian swings, a paratrooper ride, bumper cars and the iconic 26-metre Ferris wheel.
The park plays a significant role in the video game “Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare,” which has made it one of the top attractions for tourists.
However, according to the same documentary, it is unknown how dangerous the area is.
It continued: “The authorities and tour operators want reassurance regarding the doses of radiation that tourists are exposed to, but nobody knows the real impact of such visits on the body.
“So-called black or morbid tourism is on the rise and travel agencies have seized this opportunity.
“There are more and more tourists, but the former inhabitants of the city really want to come back.”
Radioactive material was leaked into the soil after helicopters dealing with the disaster used the grounds as a landing strip.
The concrete areas are said to be relatively safe, however, areas where moss has built up can emit up to 25,000 sieverts, among the highest level of radiation in the whole of Pripyat.
The same series also revealed the shocking cost of a home inside Chernobyl’s exclusion zone.
The narrator noted: “Radioactivity in the city is near to normal.
“Homes were abandoned immediately after the disaster, people left everything.
“Some have returned and have put their homes back in order, they furnished them and they live there.
“In these neighbourhoods, life is modest and for a few hundred Euros, you can buy a small house with a garden and enjoy the tranquillity of a true country house.
“A small community exists and social life is slowly growing.”