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11 places in the world that nobody is allowed to visit

Is Menwith Hill Royal Air Force Base spying on the world?
Is Menwith Hill Royal Air Force Base spying on the world?

They are so secret that most people don’t even know they exist: there are some places in the world that mere mortals will never see. A selection of the planet’s top secret places.

One could almost think that all corners of the earth have long since been developed for tourism. But there are also places that no normal person is ever allowed to enter – and many didn’t even know they existed. They are places that are secret because they are supposed to hold secrets themselves. And with so much secrecy, it’s no wonder that legends are formed and conspiracy theorists sometimes find bizarre answers to the open questions.

Royal Air Force Menwith Hill, North Yorkshire, England

Is this the world headquarters of espionage? Of course, nothing more is known about this secret place. But the military base is said to be the headquarters of Echelon, the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand spy network. The base was set up as early as 1954 in order to be aware of Soviet communications during the Cold War. To this day it is assumed that the world is bugged from here. Only Echelon employees and the US agency NSA have access.

Is this the world headquarters of espionage?

Also, read our article on The 11 craziest train routes in the world

Niihau, Hawaii, USA

Ni’ihau is a 180 square kilometer quasi-private island belonging to Hawaii. 160 and 200 people live like their ancestors on the island. They gather and hunt. There are no roads or water pipes, solar power is only available in the school, to which the islanders can send their children.

Sold to wealthy plantation owners in 1863, practically no one has been allowed to enter Ni’ihau since 1915. Only those who receive an invitation from an islander may visit the island. The local Coast Guard patrols the offshore waters and makes sure it stays that way. Since the early 1990s, the foreclosure has been relaxed somewhat: you can go on a hunting tour on Ni’ihau for several thousand euros. Nevertheless: contact with the locals should be avoided as much as possible.

Officially, it is said that they want to preserve the language – a Hawaiian dialect is still spoken here – culture and the unique flora and fauna. But the commercialization in particular is also viewed very critically.

Ni'Ihau
The Hawaiian island of Ni’ihau has been completely closed to visitors since 1915.

Vatican Library, Rome, Italy

In the vaults of the Vatican Library there are priceless documents dating back to the beginnings of Christianity. The treasures include: the correspondence between the artist Michelangelo and the popes of the time, the papal call for the Fourth Crusade and the decree ordering the excommunication of the reformer Martin Luther. In total, there are said to be around 35,000 volumes that fill an incredible 85 kilometers of shelves. Only those who submit a written application with personal information and a letter of recommendation from a historical authority in advance have a chance of entering this secret place.

Thousands of book rarities and historical documents are stored in the Vatican Library
Thousands of book rarities and historical documents are stored in the Vatican Library 

Area 51, Nevada, United States

The mother of all secret places in the world has been the focus of global attention for decades. The main reason is that no one knows exactly what is actually happening in this restricted military zone. Rumor has it that a UFO allegedly crashed in 1947 is kept here and extraterrestrials are being studied. The existence of the restricted area was only officially confirmed in 2013. According to the CIA, the site is used to test new types of aircraft. Entering is of course strictly forbidden to mere mortals, and many questions, such as strange light phenomena over the area, remain unanswered to this day. That’s why Area 51 continues to attract conspiracy theorists.

Area 51
Rumors of UFO crashes and alien autopsies: Area 51 in Nevada is (still) one of the most mysterious places in the world 

Global Seed Vault, Svalbard, Norway

In this secret place, in a bunker 120 meters deep in a mountain, lies the future of mankind, preserved for eternity – or at least a few centuries. Seeds of useful plants are stored deep-frozen and shrink-wrapped in a watertight manner. In total there are an incredible 250 million specimens from 850,000 seed varieties from all over the world. In the event of a disaster that destroys natural resources and plant species, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault is a virtual backup copy. Access is only permitted to researchers and employees of the project, which is intended to be a kind of “Noah’s Ark” for plants.

Svalbard Global Seed Vault
The future of the world lies in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault – in the form of millions of plant

Iron Mountain, Pennsylvania, United States

This secret location is also a high-security bunker. But in this no seeds are kept, but data. This isn’t just any data, it’s the most important data from some of the world’s largest companies, according to The Richest. 22 floors deep in an old mine, for example, data treasures of Bill Gates are stored, but also government agencies and music labels that keep the master tapes of their biggest stars here. The place is named after the Iron Mountain company of the same name, which operates such bunkers all over the world. There is also such a depot in Germany, in Hamburg. The data is stored there behind a steel door weighing 750 kilograms, which would even survive an attack with a bazooka.

Varosha, Cyprus

This city was once a vacationer’s paradise, and even legendary actor Elizabeth Taylor sunned himself on the beach – until 1974, when Turkish troops invaded the northern part of the island. In its best days, the town had more than 100 hotels and apartment buildings, 21 banks, 24 theaters and cinemas, and around 3,000 small and large shops. Today it is cordoned off with barbed wire and guarded by soldiers with orders to shoot. The city is still uninhabited today, but there is hope: reconciliation initiatives have been running again for several years. There was even talk of a reopening of tourism. So far, however, without any result.

Varosha in Cyprus
Varosha, Cyprus has been a ghost town since 1974 – here former residents commemorate their expulsion by the Turkish military

Mount Weather, Virginia, USA

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, a kind of civil protection agency, runs this secret facility. Media such as “ NBC Washington ” have been reporting for years that in the event of a nuclear war the “most important” people could be evacuated and thus saved. It was only known in 1974 that the facility existed at all. At that time, Meiden wanted to report on a plane crash in the immediate vicinity. But federal agents stopped her from reporting on the photos. Even in the nearby town of Berryville, most residents still don’t know what’s actually happening in Mount Weather, according to the article. However, if a major natural disaster occurs, Mount Weather could play a major role in rescuing relevant US personalities.

Lascaux Cave, France

Instead of the original cave, those interested can visit a replica
Instead of the original cave, those interested can visit a replica 

This treasure of human history was discovered in 1940 and contains some of the oldest cave paintings anywhere. However, the cave was closed to visitors as early as 1963, as the images began to decompose due to the CO2 exhaled by the up to 1,500 visitors every day. So the cave became a place that no one is allowed to enter anymore. Holidaymakers don’t have to worry, however, because Lascaux II is a detailed replica of the real cave just 200 meters from the entrance to the original cave. All wall paintings are also represented in this, and also explained with interactive elements. If you want to find out more about the cave, you can find tips on the official website.

Fort Knox, Kentucky, United States

Not only the gold reserves of the USA are said to be stored at this secret location, but also important documents such as the original Declaration of Independence or the Magna Carta. The bunker system became legendary through the James Bond film “Goldfinger”, in which a villain of the same name plans to steal the said gold. ” The World ” also referred to Fort Knox as the best-guarded place in the country. No wonder, since well over 200,000 gold bars are said to be stored here, behind a 22-ton steel door that is said to be able to withstand any blast. The area is also secured by barbed wire and minefields – so nobody (unauthorized) can get in here.

Fort Knox
Nobody can get any closer: the Fort Knox bunker, where the US gold reserves are hoarded 

Riems Island, Germany

Friedrich Loeffler, a student of Robert Koch, founded the world’s first virus research institute on the Boddeninsel off Greifswald (Mecklenburg-West Pomerania) in 1910.

Baltic Sea island of Riems from the air
Seen from the air, Riems looks like an idyllic holiday island in the Baltic Sea. But no one is allowed up here who is not authorized to do so.

After the Nazis later temporarily researched biological weapons on the island, scientists from the Friedrich Löffler Institute are still investigating Riems dangerous epidemics. Therefore, the island is strictly sealed off from the public. 

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