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New Hostel in Chernobyl Exclusion Zone

You can now stay at a hostel in one of the most radioactive places on earth. 

Backed by the Ukrainian government and housed in a former Soviet dormitory, the 50-bed accommodation is located in the Chernobyl exclusion zone, a 1,000-square-mile area contaminated in the 1986 nuclear power-plant disaster. 

Access to the region remains restricted to this day—visitors have to be on organized tours, submit to screenings, and can stay for only short periods. 

Still, tours of the region, which set out from Kiev, are gaining in popularity for the chance they offer tourists to see ghost towns frozen in time from before the collapse of the Soviet Union. In the abandoned city of Pripyat, for instance, empty streets go past forsaken office buildings and a never-used amusement park that was supposed to open four days after the Chernobyl accident.

The new hostel, which is located just 9 miles from the site of the disaster, is not your only option for an overnight stay in the area. It joins several no-frills establishments occupying Soviet-era buildings in the exclusion zone.