There are many intriguing corners of the world that the vast majority of us will never have the opportunity to visit. And in every case, each one has its own reason for being so inaccessible. Such places inevitably attract intense interest on the part of tourists and adventure seekers, yet they remain almost impossible to reach.
We decided to lift the veil on the secrets of these locations and take a look at what’s hiding there.
Mount Weather Emergency Operations Center, Virginia
Access restricted to high-ranking officials
Mount Weather is a secret refuge for the US government. The FEMA Operations Center is hidden underneath the mountain and is capable of running the country in the event of a catastrophe and any resulting emergency situation. Some of the center’s structures are built above ground, and these are administered and guarded by a separate branch of the security and emergency services. Inside, the center is governed by its own laws, and outsiders are strictly forbidden to enter.
Svalbard Global Seed Vault, Norway
A storage facility to be used in times of catastrophe
Within a mountainside on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen, at a depth of 120 meters, a tunnel has been built within which a constant temperature of −18°С is maintained. The humidity is kept to a minimum, and the tunnel’s microclimate is regulated by an automated system. It is here that humanity’s last hope of reviving the natural world is safeguarded in case of an unforeseen cataclysmic event. Containers of seeds preserve the agricultural inheritance of all the world’s countries, and it is for this reason that not a single person can be allowed to enter for fear of damaging mankind’s chances of survival.
Vale do Javari Reservation, Brazil
Specially isolated to protect indigenous tribes
Indigenous tribes have inhabited the jungles of the Amazon for many centuries. Aerial photographs prove the existence of those which still remain untouched by the outside world. In the Vale do Javari Reservation there are around 14 tribes that have no knowledge or experience of the outside world and whose lifestyle revolves around agriculture. Researchers have discovered an additional eight villages there, leading them to estimate that the combined population of the indigenous peoples may be as high as 2,000. For their safety and the preservation of their way of life, authorities banned people from entering an area of the Amazon rainforest equal to around 77,000 square kilometers.
Club 33, New Orleans
The secret society that’s closed to all outsiders
In 1967, Walt Disney founded a club which gathered together famous investors, eminent public figures, and politicians under one roof. You’ll never be invited to visit “Club 33,” nor will anyone passing by its mysterious door ever find any clues as to its name. The rumor is that it’s not simply the number of members it has. For those who burn with enough curiosity, you can visit the club if you wait 14 years and pay a starting sum of $10,450 (for individuals) or $27,500 (for companies). In addition, each year individual and corporate members of the club have to pay $3,275 or $6,100 respectively to retain their membership.
The magnetic island of Es Vedrà
Closed to protect people from the effects of unpredictable energy
The rocky island of Es Vedrà is one of the Balearic Islands off the coast of Spain, and it is said to have the third most powerful degree of geomagnetic force on Earth (the first and second are the Bermuda Triangle and the North Pole). Yet the island has no metal deposits whatsoever, being formed entirely from volcanic rock. Here, technology falters, and you can’t trust your compass to point in the true direction — the arrow will swing chaotically in different directions. The mysterious Es Vedrà is swathed in legends and harrowing stories. The Spanish government has banned anyone from visiting the island, declaring it to be a nature reserve. Some claim that the local Spaniards occasionally organize illegal excursions to the island. All that you can do legally is observe the shore of the island from the water.