The freedom to travel and visit is one of the most prized conquests of our modern times. Still, there are places simply not meant for the average individual to see.
Like spoiled children, we cry and crave after the forbidden, and would risk our lives for a quick glance at what lies past the barb wired fence. Signs like “trespassing will be prosecuted” mark the start of a realm of possibilities that are often stranger than fiction.
1. Google Data Centers
Google doesn’t grant visitor access to its data centers for obvious reasons.
Just imagine the chaos one can do by simply spilling coffee over a piece of hardware. Alternatively, picture one of the tourists separating from the group to upload something like the “Wanna Cry” ransomware. It could wreak havoc with Google’s results and force us to use nightmarish search engines like Bing, Yandex, or Ask.
The guys at Google were merciful with those dying to take a look at their state of the art data centers. One can walk around the facility in North Carolina using Street View.
But don’t expect the virtual trip to reveal the cogs behind Google’s success. The business model is, of course, much more than the way hard drives are put on the racks and connected with cables.
Below is a sample that Google Data Centers are not (yet) the real-life equivalent of Skynet. People working there are not robots, and their sense of humor is still alive.
Check out the photo below and observe the Stormtrooper guarding one of the aisles. Well played, Google!
Check out an idyllic place that has no warning sign telling people not to come!
2. North Sentinel Island
Stranded in the middle of the Bengal Bay, the North Sentinel Island is another forbidden place you cannot visit.
That is because the few remaining native inhabitants of the island rejected with unprecedented violence and savagery any form of contact with the outside world. It means they are virtually one of the last populations untouched by modern civilization.
Although officially part of India, the North Sentinel Island enjoys a particular statute that sees the government limiting itself only to surveillance. The few photos we have of the Sentinelese and their prehistoric lifestyle come from the Indian Coast Guard.
Regular folks venturing on the island were not lucky! Reports of travel agencies sending their tourists into a deathtrap are not rare. Even the innocent fishers are roasted each time they approach the island’s treacherous shallow waters.
The photo below shows a savage shooting an arrow at one of the helicopters filming him.
Entering the next forbidden place will attract something much worse than wooden arrows coming your way.
3. RAF Menwith Hill
Royal Air Force Menwith Hill is the largest electronic monitoring station in the world. That’s enough of a motive to allow no visitors inside.
Known to people as the massive golf balls, RAF Menwith Hill is the fruit of the collaboration between the United States and the United Kingdom. That is the point where certainties stop and wild rumors flourish.
What is the National Security Agency still doing in Europe decades after the Cold War ended? The best guess is they want to keep a close eye on Russia, while also spying the rest of the continent in the process.
RAF Menwith Hill is the biggest facility serving the Echelon Interception System, a global spying network that can eavesdrop on every phone call or e-mail, anywhere on the planet. The depressing fiction of Orwell’s “1984” became a reality sooner than we expected.
The question burning everyone is simple. Now that they know we know, why they don’t start offering guided tours?
The next forbidden place is also the most famous of them all.
4. Area 51
Area 51 is the quintessential forbidden place that continues to attract people like flies.
Stranded in the Nevada Desert, the facility became a Mecca for conspiracy theory adepts that believe the United States made contact with aliens and is testing their technology. Ufologists go as far as risking their own lives, trespassing for a rare chance of collecting compromising footage.
Area 51 became so engraved in popular culture that the government eventually had to make public its existence. Tourism flourishes in its vicinity, despite the military facility at Groom Lake failing to install a ticket booth to greet the visitors.
So far, the only alien technology officially tested at Area 51 is the Russian MIG. The truth is out there! Let’s keep our fingers crossed for the day when a paparazzi enduring the scorching heat would offer the world the very first photo of a Gray and a Bigfoot chatting over a beer.
Coming up next is one place that will make you skip exotic destinations from now on.
5. Snake Island
You can cross Ilha da Queimada Grande off your travel bucket list!
The Brazilian authorities restricted access to the infamous Snake Island, and the reason is unusual. Surprise! They didn’t do it to protect the adrenaline junkies that came here to test their luck. No, they did it to protect the critically endangered reptiles.
Located 33km off the Brazilian coast, the island separated itself from the continent following a rise of sea level. That granted the golden lancehead pit viper a habitat in which it sits at the top of the trophic chain.
Trust us when we tell you there is no fun in visiting a place where there are on average four snakes per square meter. Not even the most experienced herpetologist would feel comfortable surrounded by so many deadly reptiles.
Can you imagine the unlucky sailors that shipwrecked on Snake Island and switched death by drowning with death by drowning in snake venom?
On the next page, you visit a place with secrets that might disturb world order.
6. Vatican Secret Archives
The Catholic Church has its well-kept secrets, and it shouldn’t come as a shock that ordinary people are not allowed inside the Vatican Archives.
Fans of Dan Brown have plenty of reasons to cheer. As they imagined, the archives are vast (85km of shelves), dusty, and can potentially disclose compromising information. Access is granted only to qualified scholars that pass a careful inspection.
The archive includes gems like letters in which Michelangelo complaints he hadn’t been paid for the work on the Sistine Chapel or King Henry VII’s request for a divorce.
Though times! Forget about irreconcilable differences! Back then you had to ask the Pope if he was ok with it.
Check out another island they won’t let you on!
7. Ni’ihau, Hawaii
Not all of Hawaii is a tropical paradise opened for tourists.
Ni’ihau is the seventh largest island and a place where locals don’t greet foreigners with an “Aloha” followed by a traditional Ukulele number. That is because the entire island is the private property of the Robinson family since 1864.
Only 170 inhabitants are now on Ni’ihau, and it means there is plenty of space for wildlife to flourish. Although the island is formally closed to visitors, owners occasionally grant access for 1-day tours.
Good money can buy you a hunting trip or a helicopter tour of the island. The good news is that locals, despite being pissed, will not shoot arrows at you like the people of the North Sentinel Island.
Ni’ihau also hosts occasional military drills and even played a minor role in World War 2, when a Japanese fighter pilot returning from Pearl Harbor decided to ransack the place.
You’d have to breach security to reach the next forbidden area. You would be dead by the time you even think about that!
Mezhgorye is the Russian equivalent of Area 51 when it comes to greeting visitors and selling them fridge magnets.
The town located in the South Ural Mountains hosts a military facility with a destructive potential. Mezhgorye serves a nuclear ballistic missile base that is said to be fully automated and remotely triggered.
That’s obviously an inheritance from the time of the Cold War when it was crucial to be able to hit back after someone attacked you in the first place. Obviously, Russian authorities don’t back that version of the story.
Mezhgorye is not the unfriendliest place you could come across while traveling through Russia. The vodka lovers are notorious for having cities where only Russian citizens are allowed.
Some locations don’t need barb wire and armed personnel to keep you out.
9. White’s Gentleman’s Club
White’s Gentleman Club is one of the most exclusive of its kind.
Despite the name, it is not racism we are talking about here. The club takes pride in allowing only men to walk through its doors. Obviously, the doors are open just for those with enough cash to pay for the outrageous membership fee.
However, even the ruthless etiquette of White’s Gentleman Club had to bow in front of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II who visited the place in 1991 and 2016 to inquiry what her boys were doing. Both Prince Charles and Prince William are regulars of the club.
Tradition is critical, and White’s focused its cuisine on the best British game. The organization takes pride in serving only three vegan portions throughout its three-century existence.
Check out an absurd Russian project that now sits abandoned!
10. Moscow Metro 2
While most crowded capitals would kill to have a metro network, Moscow built its second one and still keeps it a secret.
Moscow Metro 2 is not just another urban legend taking viral proportions. An official report from the U.S. Department of Defense makes it clear that the Soviets built a deep underground railway system that runs in parallel with the one known to the public.
They say that the line was intended to connect the Kremlin with the Federal Security Service, a nearby airport, and the underground city of Ramenki. The Russian took the threat of nuclear holocaust seriously and imagined a scenario in which Moscow is hit, and the officials have to flee to safety.
Fortunately for the entire planet, Moscow Metro 2 never kicked in to serve its initial goal. It is now a magnet for urban explorers, while officials still hesitate to make its existence official.
Russians have their own culture of conspiracy theories, and some link the controversial Metro with the Hollow Earth theory. Good luck exploring that!
The next place welcomes visitors only to tease them.
11. Coca-Cola Vault
Coca-Cola wants to keep its formula a secret, so they recently moved the recipe to a new facility.
Check out the blast-proof, drill-proof Bahamut steel door Coca-Cola workers have to open every day to get your favorite soda right. We have good news for you. They let you in, agonizingly close to the piece of information worth billions.
You know what is worse than not knowing the secret formula behind the Coca-Cola taste? Taking a can of Pepsi with you while you tour the newly open World of Coca-Cola Museum in downtown Atlanta.
Just don’t do that! They would instantly alert security and put you in custody. The Coca-Cola Company has zero-tolerance towards spies. The vault has a less know compartment where they perfected straw torture.
The next place is fully entitled not to allow visitors.
12. Fort Knox
The treasures hidden inside Fort Knox sent many to their deaths following major drooling episodes.
The Kentucky facility is home to the United States Bullion Depository. In other words, that is where the richest country in the world keeps its official gold reserves.
Fort Knox also accommodates the hardest job in the world – dusting the thousands of gold ingots, each worth more than an entire neighborhood. The temptation to go home with one of those babies must be a killer.
Not even the Conquistadors that roamed the American continent in search of Eldorado could have imagined what humanity will end up piling inside the heavily fortified structure. Experts estimate that 3% of the gold ever refined in human history is there for safe keeping.
More than 30,000 soldiers backed by Apache helicopters and a state of the art surveillance system guard the 20-ton main vault door. Behind it lies gold worth $180 billion.
The stories about Area 51 are nothing compared to the rumors surrounding the next military base.
13. Dulce Base
If the above photo is real, we have a final piece of evidence to why Dulce Base is a place average people can’t visit.
Located underground on the Colorado-New Mexico border, the elusive joint human-alien military base is a copycat of Area 51. All the ingredients are there – the barb wired fences, the isolation offered by the desert, and the numerous tales locals have about UFO’s landing or taking off, and Grays upsetting their cattle.
There is no warning sign for those wandering around the small town of Dulce, New Mexico in search of proof. No, sir! It’s straight to the dissection table for them, offering the intergalactic visitors a better understanding of how our species functions.
“Dulce” means sweet in Spanish. However, there is nothing nice about the hundreds of thrill-seekers that disappear each year in the proximity of Dulce Base.
Refresh your mind with the awe-inspiring forbidden place coming up next on the list.
14. Mount Kailash
Mount Kailash is among the few peeks mountaineers will never summit.
Despite the 1,800 m unclimbable almost vertical north face, Kailash will not survive unclimbed thanks to its ferocious difficulty. No, an even more surprising reason stands between the army of alpinists and the 6,638 m high peak.
Four religions consider Mount Kailash a holy mountain – Bön, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism. People long held the belief that deities lie near the summit and that mortals should not disturb them with their ice axes.
The mountain is in the Autonomous Region of Tibet, a place still considered a war zone by Chinese authorities. Even so, thousands set their tents at the base of Kailash to admire the incredible scenery offered by this forbidden fruit.
The closest people came to climbing the sacred mountain was in 2001, when China initially granted a Spanish team permission. Even the calm monks of the Himalayas lost it and forced the cancellation of the permit.
Check out North Korea’s best-kept secret!
15. Room 39
Room 39 is by far the most controversial aspect of the North Korean regime.
Many theories attempt to explain what happens behind the closed doors of the Central Committee Bureau 39 of the Korean Workers’ Party. Most of them revolve on how Kim Jong-un piles up billions in foreign currency from activities that are far from being legal.
From cooking meth to printing fake $100 bills, the Western world can only speculate the source of the incredible wealth the Communist regime is accumulating despite severing most of its ties with the outside world.
It is easy to imagine Kim bathing his generous belly in a pool full of money and using them as toilet paper to reaffirm his hatred towards capitalism and democracy. However, we will never know for sure unless the US and its allies finally decide to topple the regime.
As for the poor people of North Korea, their view of reality is permanently distorted. They might be told Kim Jong-un lays golden eggs in Room 39 and find no reason to dispute the information.
On the next page, you get to see how a touristic hotspot is red-tape.
16. Lascaux Cave
We don’t doubt your travel budget would allow you to go all the way to southwestern France to visit the Lascaux Cave.
However, a gloomy development triggered local authorities to take the prehistoric Sistine Chapel off the circuit. Rest assured! They didn’t discover the last living gang of Neanderthals adding graffiti on the cave walls.
In its heyday, the Lascaux cave would attract tens of thousands of visitors per day. With them came an invisible threat for the marvelous paintings our highly artistic ancestors once created.
A combination of carbon monoxide, heat, humidity, and fungi gradually weakened the vivid colors and put the whole cave art at risk of irreversible degradation. Paired with the dead skin cells left behind by visitors who simply could not resist the urge to touch, it spelled disaster.
Travelers going all the way to Montignac would have to settle for a replica of the cave.
Check out the next eerie place you can’t visit!
17. Svalbard Global Seed Vault
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is yet another place you can’t visit.
Located in the far north Norwegian Island of Spitsbergen, the storage structure is bone chilling for a less obvious reason. As the name suggests, the Vault is a database of plant seeds, which might come in handy in case the few remaining survivors of the imminent nuclear holocaust would want to take gardening as a hobby.
And that’s not the only doomsday scenario that would make the Svalbard Global Seed Vault crucial for humanity. At the rate at which we destroy wildlife and replace it with our genetically modified crops, it can also hold the genetic blueprint for the species that would soon become extinct.
You can’t go to the seed vault for a couple of reasons. First, its remote location is accessible only to scientific expeditions or to those that master the art of riding polar bears. Second, turning this bizarre plant version of Noah’s Ark into a touristic attraction would be appealing only to disturbed individuals that dream of a post-apocalyptic world.
The next forbidden place will leave you gasping for air. What happens there is incredible!
18. Bohemian Grove
The Bohemian Grove is the kind of place you swear conspiracy theory fanatics made it all up.
Alas, it is real! For two weeks in each July, a selection of the world’s richest and most powerful congregate for something more than your average camping getaway. Tuck inside a thick forest and safe from any form of intrusion, the mysterious Californian reunion resides somewhere between folklore and the surreal.
It is pointless to say that you need to be a billionaire or an important head of state to be on the guest list. Some go as far as suggesting that the fate of humanity is decided around the campfire or in between the many satanic rituals that allegedly take place at the Bohemian Grove.
From human sacrifices to alcohol-soaked parties, the world’s elite seeks the great outdoors for pleasures their real-life positions never allow. Oh, and let’s not forget the best part – firing up one giant owl-shaped bonfire and watching it burn.
Once the fun is over, the few elite guests of the Bohemian Grove go back to their regular agenda – starting wars, tailoring economic crisis, and seeking better ways to enhance their control over the rest of us.