Haunting Photos of a Chernobyl Discotheque

There are young people living on the fringes of the “forbidden zone” encircling the site of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Twenty-five years after the mass evacuation, scattered villages and towns still linger on the fringes of the contaminated region and its young people have nothing to do, so they party. The stagnant economy, the devastated farmland, unemployment, isolation — these drives send a crowd of despondent locals and Kiev visitors to travel to Ivankov, a main city in the third contaminated zone, home of the Antalys discotheque. They drink. They dance. They fight until they draw blood. Master photojournalist Guillaume Herbaut spent a Saturday Evening in Chernobyl. Here are some of our favorite shots, but for an immersive experience, head over to his site for a soundtracked, high quality slideshow. It’s as close as we dare to get.

Photo credit: Guillaume Herbaut