Believe it or not, there are amazing places on this earth of ours that we normal beings will never be able to see.
Places that are off-limits to the outside world because they’re so dangerous, or so precious, or just plain secretive or snobby! Here are just 11 of these mysterious places around the world that you’ll never be able to visit.
1. The Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion
(Reputed Home of the Ark of the Covenant)
Location: Axum, Ethiopia
St Mary of Zion was the traditional place where Ethiopian Emperors were crowned and has always been a place of importance to the country. If anyone has seen the Indiana Jones movie, you will know that the Ark of the Convent is the biblical treasure reputed to contain the original tablet with the 10 Commandments written on there by God. Well, there is a church located in Ethiopia that alleges that the Ark of the Covent has been located there since 1270. The church is guarded 24 hours a day by gun-wielding monks. The only person able to actually view the Ark is the head monk – who is appointed for life and is confined to the chapel until he dies.
2. Area 51
Location: Nevada, United States
A secret US base that is located far into the Nevada desert, Area 51’s purpose is still totally unknown to the public to this day. The specific area is part of the Edwards Air Force which is within the Nevada Test and Training Range. Of course, there are lots of theories about why the base is there. Some believe that it contains alien technology found in space or that has landed in America, others believe that experimental aircraft are developed on site. Whatever is there, we know for sure that the area is highly restricted and surrounded by a lot of defences, making it totally impenetrable.
The ‘Roswell’ incident:
Area 51 came to light when there was an alleged ‘weather balloon’ crash landing on a range near Roswell, New Mexico sometime in July 1947. The ranger claimed that he found the debris from the crash while checking on his herd after a severe thunderstorm the night before. The debris was nothing like he had ever seen before. Many locals reported the weather balloon was actually a ‘Flying Disc’ and the incident was an alien landing. The military at the time moved all the debris from the crash to the Area 51 hangar.
3. Vatican Secret Archives
Location: Vatican City, Italy
Like it says in the name, the secret archives of the Vatican, located in the Vatican City, are totally off-limits to the public. This is the central storage area for all of the proclamations of the Holy See as well as other important papers, correspondence, papal account books and things the church has collected over the hundreds of years it has existed. However, it’s not the documents that are inaccessible, because anyone can technically submit a request for one, but nobody is allowed inside the archives themselves!
Confirmed Contents of the Archives Include:
- A letter from King Henry VIII requesting an annulment from Katherine of Aragon
- A letter from Michelangelo to Pope Julius II (about pay disputes)
- A letter from Mary Queen of Scots to Pope Sixtus V begging for her life (she was executed a few months later)
4. Snake Island
Location: Sao Paulo, Brazil
Around 90 miles from the bustling city of SÃ£o Paulo, there is an island, thought to be the deadliest island in the world. It’s known in English as Snake Island, due to the 4,000 or so snakes that live on its 110 acres. The residents of Snake Island aren’t just snakes though, as the island is the only known habitat of a particular type of snake known as the Golden Lancehead. This snake variety is one of the most venomous in the world, with venom 3-5 times stronger than any other snake. Apparently, it can melt human flesh so you can see why the Brazilian Navy has designated the island as being off-limits!
Fun Facts About Snake Island:
- There are estimated to be five snakes for every square metre on Snake Island
- The snakes live off the birds that stop at the island for a rest on their way to the mainland.
- The island was intended as a banana plantation, but the snakes were so bad it was impossible – even after burning off to try and kill the population.
- The only people allowed on the island are scientists, who have to seek permission from the Brazilian Navy first.
- The island used to have a lighthouse keeper with his wife and family. Snakes crawled into the lighthouse, and when the family tried to escape, they were repeatedly bitten. The family did not survive.
5. Mount Weather Doomsday Bunker
Location: Virginia, United States
Picture the ‘doomsday’ bunker the Hollywood loves and you’ve pretty much got Mount Weather. Also known as the Mount Weather Emergency Operations Centre, it’s located in Virginia in the United States and it’s absolutely secret. Nobody has ever been allowed to tour the facility, which reportedly has its own police and fire department. However, in an interview with Time magazine, a retired Mount Weather engineer described an enormous bunker complex with everything you would need for the post-apocalyptic world.
When the September 11 attacks occurred in New York in 2003, most of the congressional leadership of the country were transported to Mount Weather via helicopter.
6. North Sentinel Island
Location: Bay of Bengal, Indian Ocean
There aren’t too many places in the world where people exist outside of the grips of modernity, but North Sentinel Island is one of them. Located in the Bay of Bengal, North Sentinel Island is home to the Sentinelese people. With some 50-400 individuals making up the tribe, the Sentinelese refuse any contact with the outside world and they will kill to ensure they are left alone. Both to protect the indigenous people, and to protect those who might encounter them, the government banned people from attempting to access the island altogether.
7. The Coca-Cola Vault Where the Secret Recipe is Kept
Location: Atlanta, United States
Coca-Cola is probably one of the most popular drinks on the planet, so it’s no surprise that its makers want to keep a tight lid on the formula behind it. In fact, since it was first produced more than 125 years ago, the Coca-Cola formula has been one of the most guarded trade secrets out there. It’s kept in a special vault, that was purposely built inside the company’s World of Coca-Cola exhibit. It was moved there in 2011 after being held in a special vault at the SunTrust Bank. Apparently, only two people in the world know the secret ingredients!
8. Pine Gap
Location: Northern Territory, Australia
Pine Gap has the infamous honour of being the only place in Australia that is designated as being prohibited to outsiders. It is often referred to as the ‘Area 51’ of Australia! It’s actually a satellite tracking station located about 20km from Alice Springs in the middle of Australia. Both Australia and the US use the facility, which has a large computer complex, and over 800 employees! The reason that Pine Gap was chosen as the location for the site is because it is so remote that spy ships could never intercept any important signals.
Pine Gap is reputed to have a key role in detecting drone activity.
9. Bohemian Grove (The Secret Society Summer Camp for the Elite Rich)
Location: California, United States
Set on 2,700 acres somewhere in Monte Rio California Bohemian Grove, owned by a private arts club known as the Bohemian Club, this place is definitely something odd, the word ‘cult’ comes to mind. The area is a campground which belongs to a men’s only Art Club – called ‘The Bohemian Club’. Every July, the club hosts a two-week, three weekend camp in the woods that is attended by some of the most powerful men in the world. Access is invite-only, and unless you’re someone very important and male, you’re definitely not going to get a chance to go in. There’s a lot of mystery surrounding what goes on there, and no way of finding out!
Infamous members of the Club (past and present) include:
- Clint Eastwood (movie star and producer)
- Jack London (famous author)
- Presidents Nixon, Eisenhower, Roosevelt, Hoover, Ford, Bush & Reagan
- Dick Cheney
- Bing Crosby
- Mark Twain
- Charlton Heston
10. Room 39, North Korea
Location: Pyongyang, North Korea
If you thought it was difficult to get into North Korea, just try and get into one of the most secretive government facilities in the country: Room 39. This mysterious room is thought to be (although this has never been proven) involved in all kinds of illegal activities including money counterfeiting, drug production, and international insurance fraud. Some people believe that this single room is responsible for the continued power of North Korea’s dictators, allowing them to drum up support and fund the country’s nuclear programs.
11. Svalbard Global Seed Vault
Location: Island of Spitsbergen, Norway
There are two reasons you’re unlikely to get a chance to visit the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. For one, it’s located 800 miles from the North Pole. It’s also the world’s largest secure seed storage, holding up to 4.5 million different types of seeds. This arctic vault is something of an insurance policy for all other forms of conservation. Seeds are collected there so that those types of plants are never lost, conserving the diversity of the seeds we use, ensuring that we can enjoy them long into the future! So it might be mysterious, but it’s definitely not a bad thing!