Where did the name Chernobyl come from?

For over thirty years, while hearing the name “Chernobyl”, the only association that comes to mind – a disaster at a nuclear power plant. When someone says, “it was before or after Chernobyl,” we immediately understand what this is about. However, it wasn’t always so.

Until the 26th of April, 1986, everything was different: Chernobyl wasn’t famous all over the world, only known as any other relatively small Ukrainian city being included into the Soviet Union, just as little more was known about the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant itself.

What is the origin of Chernobyl appellation?

Actually, there are not many versions about the history of this name, and even fewer are generally accepted. However, they all deserve attention and at least general familiarization, because there are quite interesting options.

Excursion to Chernobyl from Kiev

Why is the name Chernobyl? The most popular theory is that the city got its designation from the ubiquitous wormwood Artemisia Vulgaris (original wormwood), which was commonly called Chernobyl or Chernobylnyk. At least the Russian dictionaries, including the Explanatory Dictionary of the Living Great Russian Language written by Vladimir Dahl, give an unambiguous interpretation of this word.

According to the historic notes, the Slavs often named the settlements according to the characteristics most describing the area. For example, there are townships Olshany, Lopukhi, Boroviki to name but a few. Thereby, wormwood grew there in lush fields and was widely used in agriculture.

Where did the name Chernobyl come from: alternative versions

The second version goes back to the Scythian Era, which took place in the period 400-500 B.C. Some historians and researchers of Kiev Rus ancient times claim that the lexeme “Chernobyl” arose from the habit of wearing black clothes by the Melanhlen tribe of cannibals living in Ukraine and Belarus. Herodotus wrote about this phenomenon when he was studying the life of the Scythian tribes. In particular, the researcher pointed out that in the territory around the Dnieper to the north of the Tyasmin River there were the states of the Androphages and the Melanhlenovs. The others, because of their habit, were called black robes or black cloaks. In addition to Chernobyl, scientists attribute a similar origin to cities such as Cherkassy, ​​Chernyakhov and Chernigov.

Another theory says that the nominate “Chernobyl” was given to the town of Stryzhev, which was mentioned a lot in chronicles since 1127. It was known as a town on the right bank of the Dnipro river, where the princely palace was built, which was located on the banks of the Pripyat river. It is assumed that Stryzhev was a border town, and the name itself is associated with its role as “Guard of the Dnipro”. According to the historians, during one of the clashes the settlement was wiped off the face of the Earth, and only wormwood fields remained in its place. Consequently, the rebuilt city was given a memorable name.

The most exotic explanation is associated with biblical mythology. The Chernobyl tragedy gave rise to a lot of legends and speculations associated with mysticism. Thus, some people are inclined to believe the accident was foretold and described in the Bible. There Wormwood was described as a symbol of the Lord’s punishments, God’s judgment over those who disobeyed. This is mentioned in the Revelation of John the Theologian. Thereby, the incident of the year 1986 was predetermined.

Why did Chernobyl explode

What is going there now? Excursion to Chernobyl

The accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power station literally “crossed out” the history of the region, becoming the starting point for all subsequent events. Now 99% of what people know about Chernobyl is somehow connected with this event. Is this good or bad?

The Chernobyl Exclusion Zone is a huge monument to the destructive power of atomic energy. It doesn’t forgive a person for negligence and neglect, hence an excursion to Chernobyl is the best opportunity to be convinced of this, as well as to look at how quickly nature recovers from the leaving of people. Finally, of course, this is a short trip into the past of the Ukrainian SSR.

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