The city was evacuated in 1986 due to the Chernobyl disaster at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant under the then USSR, which is located 10.85 kilometers (9 miles) north-northwest. The power plant was named after the city, and located in Chernobyl Raion (district), but the city was not the residence of the power plant workers. At the time of the construction, a twin city of Chernobyl, Prypiat, was built to be close to the plant for workers. Though the city is today mostly uninhabited, a small number of inhabitants reside in houses marked with signs stating that the "Owner of this house lives here". Workers on watch and administrative personnel of the Zone of Alienation are stationed in the city on a long term basis. Prior to its evacuation, the city was inhabited by about 55,000 residents.------------------Chernobyl first appeared in a charter of 1193 AD described as a hunting-lodge of knyaz Rostislavich. It was a crown village of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in the 13th century. The village was granted as a fiefdom to Filon Kmita, a captain of the royal cavalry, in 1566. The province containing Chernobyl was transferred to the Kingdom of Poland in 1569, and then annexed by the Russian Empire in 1793. Prior to the 20th century Chernobyl was inhabited by Ruthenian and Polish peasants, and a large Jewish community. ----------------- Chernobyl had a rich religious history. The Jewish, who were brought by Filon Kmita during the Polish campaign of colonization, included Hasidim as well as other Orthodox Jews. The traditionally Christian Eastern Orthodox Ukrainian peasantry of the district was largely forced by Russia to convert to the Greek Catholic region after 1596, and returned to Russian Orthodoxy only after Ukraine's unification with Russia. --------------- The Dominican church and monastery were founded in 1626 by Lukasz Sapieha, at the height of the Counter-reformation. There was a group of Old Catholics, which opposed the decrees of the Council of Trent. The Dominican monastery was sequestrated in 1832, and the church of the Old Catholics was disbanded in 1892. ------------------ Since 1892, Chernobyl has seen many changes of fortune. In 1898 Chernobyl had a population of 10,800, including 7,200 Jews. In World War I the village was occupied and in the ensuing Civil War was fought over by Bolsheviks and Ukrainians. In the Polish-Soviet War of 1919-20, it was taken first by the Polish Army and then by cavalry of the Red Army. From 1921, it was incorporated into the Ukrainian SSR. ------------------------------ During the period 1929–33 Chernobyl suffered greatly from mass killings during Stalin's collectivization campaign, and in the Holodomor (famine) that followed. The Polish community of Chernobyl was deported to Kazakhstan in 1936 during the Frontier Clearances. The Jewish community was killed during the German occupation of 1941–44. Twenty years later, the area was chosen as the site of the first nuclear power station on Ukrainian Grass. With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Chernobyl became part of Ukraine, an independent nation.---------------On April 26, 1986, the fourth reactor of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, exploded at 01:23 AM local time. The workers were performing an experiment with the reactor's safety systems during which the computer-controlled safety systems were disabled. Problems occurred during the tests: The reactor did not receive enough coolant, had built up too much heat in the core and had fully withdrawn control rods, all of which contributed to unstable and unpredictable reactor operation. A reboot of the computer systems failed to regain control of the reaction. When the control rods were manually reinserted in an attempt to regain control of the unstable reactor, there was a sudden increase in reactivity, caused by the design of the RBMK reactor and its control rods, and an uncontrollable runaway reaction occurred. The reactor produced tremendous amounts of steam, eventually causing a steam break/explosion, which destroyed part of the reactor. After the explosion, graphite fires broke out, due to the high temperatures of the reactor and the graphite's exposure to oxygen. Radioactive debris were flung several miles, and smoke containing radioactive contaminants from the burning graphite traveled as far as Belarus. All permanent residents of Chernobyl and the Zone of alienation were evacuated because radiation levels in the area had become unsafe. Contaminated milk was blamed for childhood sicknesses across Europe. Chernobyl City and its surrounding suburbs are now home to nuclear scientists, maintenance officials for the Chernobyl Power Plant, Liquidation Officials, doctors, physicists, and most of all, radiation physicists. Although neighboring Pripyat remains unmaintained, Chernobyl has been renovated and is now home to more than 500 permanent residents, including visitors to the Zone of Alienation who stay at a local lodge in the Chernobyl suburbs.