After enjoying the stunning view from the roof top of an apartment building in Pripyat’s north we drove back to the center of the city to visit a classic sightseeing spot pretty much all visitors to the Zone Of Alienation and quite a few fans of video games know very well – the swimming pool “Lazúrnyj” (Azure).
Although being one of actually three indoor swimming pools in Pripyat, Azure is by far the most famous one in town since it was featured as a level in the video game “Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare” and now is part of the standard program for day groups. Furthermore Azure wasn’t just a swimming pool, it also housed a gymnasium – and it wasn’t abandoned right away with the city according to Maxim. Liquidators and other people working in the Zone Of Alienation used the pool as long as 1997 when it was finally abandoned – sadly there are no photos available anywhere about the that period of time.
Since I took some outdoor pictures first I lost contact with the other guys even before entering the building. The entrance area looked pretty run-down and vandalized, so I made my way up the first staircase I saw – it was covered in plastic sheeting, now scruffy and cracked. Public baths, especially in Japan where I currently live, are supposed to be spotlessly clean, but of course Azure was in as bad shape as the rest of the city and therefore the building felt even a little bit more depressing. The rather small gymnasium wasn’t nearly as impressive as the huge one with the great view at the Palace of Culture, but the swimming pool itself was quite a sight, even without having played the previously mentioned video game.
(If you would like to know more about my trip to the Zone Of Alienation please *click here* to get to the “Chernobyl & Pripyat” special. For a map of the area please *click here*.)