The small town of Chachersk is isolated on all sides because it sits within the area contaminated by fallout from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Nevertheless, right in the middle of town there is one peculiar attraction: a midcentury Soviet airplane. Permanently parked just off the main road down the street from the town hall, even some locals ask themselves how the aircraft ʻʻlanded” here.
During Belarus’ Soviet days it was common to put large machinery on literal pedestals after they were retired, as a testament to Communist industry. You can find trucks, cars, tanks, concrete mixers and littered across Belarusian cities, but few are as striking as the Chachersk airplane.
It is a Soviet Tupolev Tu-124, a sibling of the Tu-104, the world’s first successful jet airliner. These planes flew the skies between 1962 and 1980. They seated 56 passengers and were equipped with parachutes to be used in an emergency landing. Before it was decommissioned the the plane was used by the Soviet Union Ministry of Defence. Afterward, it mysteriously ended up as a ʻʻmonument” in Chachersk. The nearest airport is about 100 kilometers away.
When it first arrived the airplane was used as a movie theater. Nowadays it is used as a local culture centre for exhibitions and education of handicrafts, for instance, knitting.
Know Before You Go
Chechersk is easy to find on the highway Gomel–Mogilev. About 45 kilometers from Gomel you have to take right (P38 road) and after another 15 kilometers you will reach the destination. Both objects are located near the central road. Be aware that many areas around the city are uninhabited due to the radioactive fallout from Chernobyl catastrophe in 1986. Thus it is not recommended to stray from the main road and venture into forests.