Let’s visit a classic landmark in the Chernobyl area. The Palace of Culture, or simply “Energetic”, was the place to gather when Pripyat was a thriving town – Before the Chernobyl accident.
Histories and content from the Chernobyl accident are always popular. Now, after the successful HBO series, all my articles about Chernobyl have increased in visitors several hundred percents. I still have a lot of places to show from my days in the Chernobyl area, and this is one of them. Now, let’s head to the place where regular citizens of Pripyat went to meet each other, consuming culture or play sports.
The name of the building, “Енергетик”, means a person who works at a powerplant, or in the power industry, “Енергетика”. A pretty self-explaining name in the town of Pripyat.
When traveling through former Soviet countries, almost every city have a House (or “Palace”) of Culture, which was used both for entertainment and indoctrinate – As a so-called community center. At the end of the 1980s, around 137.000 of these centers were built in the Soviet Union (here is the Palace of Culture in Narva).
The Palace of Culture in Pripyat is one of the bigger I have visited, located at Lenin Square. This place was once very well-equipped and followed the standard of Pripyat as a flagship city. Inside you can still find traces of cinema, theatre (with a propaganda workshop behind the riding hall), gym, swimming pool, library, boxing ring, meeting/dancing halls (even a disco!), and other facilities. Some sources may tell you that there were also a restaurant and supermarket inside, but they are located in a different house on Lenin Square as well as Hotel Polissia.
When I enter the “palace”, there is a large lobby covering two floors. The second floor is covered by books from the library. Also, some newspaper from 1985 in pretty good condition can be found in the book piles. When the building was constructed, the lobby was much bigger than in the planning stadium.
I continue to make my way through the building. There is a lot of broken glass on the floor. Not much is untouched, and looters have carefully walked through the building. But the feeling of the 1980s Soviet is still here.
Soviet ornaments can be found, and when I walk to the other side of the riding hall in the theatre, I see the giant Soviet propaganda posters resting here. They were usually put on the outside of the building on special celebrations. The Palace of Culture was built in the 1970s and the concrete starts to crumble. In a few years, I think the first larger cracks will occur. You better book your Chernobyl tour now.