Kiwi tourists among first to stay at new hostel in Chernobyl, the most radioactive place on Earth
The Ukrainian government has opened a hostel within the Chernobyl contamination zone, giving holidaymakers the chance to explore the epicentre of history's most devastating nuclear accident.
There are currently enough beds for 50 people in the former Soviet dormitory, located about 15 kilometres from the site of the 1986 reactor meltdown at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.
"We plan an expansion to accommodate 102 people," administrator Svetlana Grishchenko said.
The first guests at the hostel included foreigners from the New Zealand, the United States and Denmark.
* Abandoned Budapest hospital offers glimpse into Soviet past
* Kiwi photographer finds haunting beauty in Chernobyl Exclusion Zone
* Abandoned airport terminal gets new lease of life as hotel
And no trip would be complete without one of the guided tours of the ill-fated power plant.
The Ukrainian government allows tourists into the contamination zone for brief visits with special permission. The area is still considered uninhabitable.
Last year Kiwi Ben Kepka travelled there to photograph the abandoned city of Pripyat and said he felt as though he'd landed on the set of an apocalyptical horror movie.
"All you could hear was the crunching of the snow and ice under your feet and the old steel loading bay doors slamming in the wind," he told Stuff in April.
Kepka, an engineer, photographer and filmmaker from Napier, and three friends travelled to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone shortly after Ukraine made it easier for foreigners to visit the country. Foreign visitors can now get short-term visas for stays of up to 90 days.
"I have heard a lot about the communist architecture and the legacy that it had left on this area of the world, but until I could see it with my own eyes it was really hard to envisage."
An explosion at the nuclear plant spewed out a cloud of radioactive dust that spread across much of Eastern Europe.
A concrete sarcophagus was hastily erected over the facility to prevent further contamination. The sarcophagus last year was reinforced with a steel dome.