On 27 September every year, World Tourism Day is celebrated. This year’s theme is “Tourism For All – Promoting Universal Accessibility”. We pondered upon this and wondered, are all places actually accessible to the common man? If you are a tourist, you might know some of these, but there actually are 15 places that cannot be visited by anyone or everyone!
1. Mount Weather, Virginia U.S
Virginia is famous for the beautiful beaches and mountains, and people can visit every mountain. But not Mount Weather, because it is the location of the President’s bunker in emergency situations. The bunker was made as an alternative operation centre after electrical power interruption hit Washington, D.C. What happens inside remains a secret even to surrounding localities! No common man is allowed inside. Mt Weather’s existence remained a top secret until a plane crashed near it, killing more than 50 people and people came to know such a huge place existed in the middle of the mountain.
2. Sentinel Island, Andaman
Sentinel Island is situated in the northern end of the Andaman Island in the Bay of Bengal. The Sentinelese, who are about 500 in number, have rejected all types of communication with outsiders repeatedly and they protect their land violently when anybody tries to establish contact. They are known to attack visitors and nobody has established any contact with them after they killed two fishermen who tried to interact with them.
3. Room 39, North Korea
Also known as Bureau 39, Office 39 or Division 39, it a centre of international insurance fraud. While the government and people refuse to give any information it is said that each year Room 39 produces whopping $500 million to $1 billion annually from criminal enterprises. While the origin is still unknown, the Room 39 agency is believed to contribute private funds through illegal activities and even producing illegal substances like morphine.
4. Club 33, Disneyland, California
Even the happiest place in the world has its own off-limits club that isn’t affordable to many. The club is located in California and many major celebrities of Hollywood are part of the club. The fee of Club 33 is $25,000 for initiation along with $10,000 per year for membership! So it takes an actual royal to afford the lavish treatment here!
5. Metro 2, Russia
The Metro 2 lies just parallel to the public metro in Moscow. It is the secret metro which is rumored to have been built by Joseph Stalin to transport secret Russian service members and government officials during emergency. It is connected to four major parts of the city like Kremlin, Federal Security Service (FSB) headquarters, an airport and an underground town. Though the entrance of the metro has been found it still remains secretive.
6. Menwith Hill, England
Menwith Hill is actually a Royal Air Force station where people are not allowed to visit. It is considered to be one of the most powerful monitoring stations in the entire world. The station is made on 545 acres of land and is operating since 58 years. It is said to work for UK, US and allied interests.
7. Area 51, United States
One of the most famous, or notorious, restricted areas is Area 51 in Nevada, US. It is rumoured to be protecting top secret material for the US government, including the remains of a UFO which also conveyed extraterrestrial beings! Some more rational theories suggest that access is restricted because of the testing of bombs and new airplanes that takes place here. The Unites States government has never provided information about it and even normal military is not allowed in the area.
8. Coca Cola Recipe Vault, Atlanta
The recipe of the popular beverage has been closely guarded for 125 years! It is known only to a select group of people (only two, we’ve heard), to preserve the distinctiveness of the drink. It is also said that no one person knows all the ingredients at any point of time. The recipe would earlier be known to only one person, and when it was put down on paper, it was preserved in this vault.
9. Google Data Center, California
One secret location in California is Google’s first data center. This is the magic behind what makes much of Google really work. No one can visit it without proper clearances and the data center is protected just like other off-limit places. Obviously Google is one of the most powerful companies and so only critical employees are allowed to take a peek inside the data center.
10. Snake Island, Brazil
This is the place where only Man Vs Wild lovers would love to go! Snake Island is located off the coast of Brazil in the Atlantic Ocean and is home to more than 5,000 venomous snakes. This is why the island is considered dangerous for visitors. Researchers estimate the snakes to be present on every square meter of the island! All this started because the snakes were trapped in island and so they started surviving eating on birds and increased in population.
11. Ise Grand Shrine, Japan
The shrine is dedicated to the Sun Goddess and is located in Mie, Japan. The shrine has been there since 4 BC and is demolished and rebuilt every 20 years. Since the shrine is considered one of the most holiest and important places, tourists are only allowed to visit the garden area which surrounds the shrine.
12. Vatican Archives, Vatican
Vatican City is open for all but Vatican secret archives are not! The archives are said to contain state papers and important documents which are not accessible to public. The archives are said to be made up of more than 50 miles of shelving. Only the Pope has access to the archives and then they are passed to the successors.
13. Lascaux Caves, France
The Lascaux caves are situated in southern France and have beautiful paintings inside the caves. The caves were rediscovered by three teenagers and the paintings are said to be 17,300 years old. The cave was opened to public till 1948 but after that it was closed. The cave witnessed more than 1500 visitors per day and carbon dioxide, heat and humidity was damaging the paintings. So to preserve the delicate paintings the government prohibited access to people.
14. Pripyat, Ukraine
The Pripyat city was abandoned after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. The city earlier had a population of 49,360 people! Till date the radioactive level is high and people are generally not allowed to enter. The city was abandoned following the radioactive leak, but still attract tourists and researchers from all over the world.
15. White Gentleman’s Club, London
The White Gentleman’s Club is exclusively for royalty and powerful people. It was formed in early 1693. The club is situated in St James's Street, London and now has members like Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Charles, Prince of Wales. The clubhouse consists of three storeys, a basement and a dormered attic which proves off limits to other people.
Title image: adventuresofsagan
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