You think the world is your oyster. Well think again.
Planning your next holiday? Here are 10 places you are definitely, not allowed to visit.
Area 51 Nevada
The US is renowned for being highly secretive. But the efforts around Area 51, situated in Nevada, is on another level. The base’s current primary purpose is publicly unknown, but is is commonly thought to be used to develop and test experimental aircraft and weapons systems. Many conspiracy theorists believe the area houses UFOs and that aliens are studied here, but with no civilians able to enter, we will never know.
Svalbard Seed Vault
If you enter this place – it’s not a good sign, it means something of apocalyptic proportions has happened. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is a seed bank located on Spitsbergen, an island that’s part of Norway.
The vault holds multitudes of seeds in the case of global catastrophes destroys most of the earth’s crops. Currently, it holds about 864,000 distinct seeds and has the capacity to hold up to 4.5 million. It has 1/3 of the world’s most important food crop seeds inside of it.
The vault is 390 feet into a sandstone mountain with no permanent staff and no one person has all the codes you need to get inside. For hundreds of years, these seeds will be kept safe and a study done on the feasibility of the vault suggests the seeds might be preserved for even thousands of years. Each seed is packaged in a three-ply foil packet sealed with heat to ensure there’s no moisture.
It’s fully automated and is remotely monitored. The vault is only open for special visitors and a few days a year when it accepts new seeds. And, also, it’s in the middle of the Arctic, very close to the North Pole.
Surtsey is a volcanic island off the coast of Iceland that was formed by a series of volcanic eruptions. Scientists have been studying it for years to watch the evolution of the island from barren volcanic landscape to a place teeming with plant and animal life.
Because of it’s importance to the scientific community, no one is allowed to visit the island for fear of disrupting the natural processes happening untouched by the outside world. Except for a few research scientists, the island is basically devoid of any human trace.
Around 12 species of birds, grey seals, orcas and various forms of plant life call this volcanic island and the area around it home.
White’s Gentleman’s Club
Located on St James’s Street in London, this gentleman’s club is the oldest and most exclusive in the city. It was founded in 1693 and has a list of impressive members.
Current members of the club include Charles, Prince of Wales, Conrad Black, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Tom Stacey. David Cameron used to be a member but renounced his membership over the club’s refusal to allow women. Queen Elizabeth II was allowed in for a brief visit but that’s been the only lady to have seen the hallowed walls that wasn’t employed there.
The building itself is three stories, a basement, and an attic. It’s compact in size compared to other clubs – maybe to keep out all the riffraff.
Membership costs $85,000 a year and you have to be invited to get in. A coke at the club costs $20 but also has a rotating, impressive menu that I imagine would help you forget the astronomical price you pay for the food.
Chapel of the Ark of the Covenant (Axum, Ethiopia)
This Ethiopian chapel has been rumored for centuries to be the final resting place of the Ark of the Covenant. In case you’re not up to snuff on your Biblical knowledge, the Ark of the Covenant is the alleged vessel for God’s Ten Commandments given to Moses on Mount Sinai.
Conveniently, nobody is allowed to see the Ark. Not even the Ethiopian president. But according to reports, there is a single monk who watches over it, never leaving the chapel grounds.
If the Ark of the Covenant sounds familiar to you but you’re not particularly religious, it may be because of a certain fictitious professor-archeologist-adventurer by the name of Indiana Jones went searching for it in the movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Google Data Centers (world wide)
If you’re one of the biggest digital companies on Earth, it makes sense to protect your assets and Google’s assets are data. There are both physical and digital measures to shore up the data centers.
Fences, checkpoints, badges, and iris scans are just a few of the security features surrounding the data centers. Google admits to other security measures but they refuse to disclose what they are.
No public tours of the centers are allowed.
IT processes use up 2% of the world’s energy so Google has attempted to make their data centers as green as possible. In many cases, the data centers are partly powered by wind turbines as well as using energy efficient facilities.
The Lascaux Caves, France
It would be pretty cool to explore these caves which are home to paintings that are an amazing 17,300 years old. The cave system was discovered in 1940 by a teen aged boy. 8 years later, the caves were opened up to the public but in just 7 short years, the emissions and exposure to the elements caused the Paleolithic paintings serious damage.
The caves were closed to the public in 1963 but unfortunately, the degradation process has continued. Lichen, mold, and fungus have beset the cave walls and affect the pigment of many of the paintings. So much so that only one person is allowed to go into the caves for twenty minutes, once a week. And as of present day, a preservationist or scientist can only enter a few days out of the month in effort to monitor the growing problems.
Lascaux II has been built so visitors can see replicas of the paintings from the Hall of the Bulls and the Painted Gallery without harming the original paintings which are under constant threat of evisceration from environmental contaminants.
Bank Of England Vaults, UK
The vaults beneath London hold the gold reserves of the UK and multiple other countries. It covers a huge floor space and needs three-feet long keys to open. It holds 4600 tons of gold which have an estimated market value of £156,000,000,000.
You cannot enter the vaults unless you’re a member of the security team or an employee but Queen Elizabeth took a tour of the vaults recently. Maybe they let her in because she’s not as likely as others to slip some extra coin into her purse or under her pillbox hat.
Interestingly, besides giant (almost comically so) keys, you also need a password to get in. I imagine trying to break into the Bank of England vaults is like some old-timey heist film where the would-be robber says “Open Sesame” to no avail.
Surtsey is is a volcanic island located off the southern coast of Iceland. It was formed in a volcanic eruption that began in 1963 and ended in 1967. No humans are allowed on the island — bar a few scientists — to allow for natural ecological succession to take place without outside interference. However, this has not been without its hiccups. In the early years, a tomato plant was found taking root, the result of a scientist going for a poo where they shouldn’t have. Naughty!
Mezhgorye, Republic of Bashkortostan, Russia
Mezhgorye is a closed town in the Republic of Bashkortostan, Russia. It is said that people living in the town work on highly-classified secret work around Mount Yamantaw, which has been suspected to be the location of a nuclear program, a repository of Russian treasures, a bunker in case of war or a huge warehouse of coal. But really, who knows?
Metro-2 (Метро-2) is a secret underground metro system which parallels the public Moscow Metro. It was built by Joseph Stalin and was code-named D-6 by the KGB. It is supposedly still operated by the Russian Ministry of Defence.
The length of Metro-2 is rumored to exceed that of the public Metro and it is said to connect the Kremlin with the Federal Security Service headquarters, in addition to other locations of national importance. The FSB or the Moscow Metro administration refuse to confirm or deny its existence to this very day.
North Sentinel Island
This is one of the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal, where a group of indigenous people, the Sentinelese, live. Their population is estimated to be between 50 and 400 individuals. The Sentinelese reject any contact with other people, and are among the last people on earth to remain virtually untouched by modern civilisation.
Recent attempts to contact the tribe have been met with arrows and stones. More tragically, on 26 January 2006, two fishermen were killed when their boat drifted near the island.
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