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Soviet design malfunctions, the ultimate in strange tourism and an indicator how television shapes where people want to travel.

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PRIPYAT, Ukraine — “This is . . . not usual.”

When my guide first made the comment, I barely noticed, kept snapping photos. I had requested a private tour to ensure that I could enter the buildings in Pripyat, the ghost town a few miles from Chernobyl. Access to Pripyat’s interiors had been curtailed since 2012 for safety reasons, but my tour coordinator explained that for twice the fee, he could pair me with Yuriy, the most experienced guide working in the Exclusion Zone. Yuriy had been making the trip almost daily for a decade — a schedule strongly discouraged by medical personnel, but who was I to judge? The warm handshakes he shared with every guard and official we encountered told me the description had probably been accurate.

To read more on The Boston Globe:

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