From the famous Room 39 in North Korea to the Area 51 in the United States, there are plenty of places on earth with high protection and limited access. Many of these spots are usually linked with military services and political circumstances. Namely, you actually don’t want to be there. Yet, here is a list of places on earth you wish you could visit but can’t.
1. Vatican Secret Archives, Italy
Hidden behind the walls of Vatican City, there exists an immense collection of history. The Secret Archives of Vatican is home to an abundant number of historical documents and correspondences. With letters written by Michelangelo, King Henry VIII’s marriage annulment request and many more, the archives contain about 35,000 items.
Apart from the Pope and a small group of staff who work there, access to the archives is strictly limited. Although any document from the archives can be requested, personally entering into the archives is definitely forbidden.
2. Surtsey, Iceland
Surtsey, located in the Vestmannaeyjar archipelago in the south of Iceland, is one of the newest islands in the world. In 1963, a group of Icelandic fishermen discovered the beginnings of an undersea eruption. Observing the progress afterwards, scientists had a chance to explore how an island rose after an eruption.
The island was named after Surtur, the giant who would set earth on fire according to the Nordic mythology, due to the amounts of lava flowed from the island in the early stages. Now, with an almost complete evolution, it stands as high as 169 meters above sea level.
While Surtsey evolved, the life on the island also transformed. With its unique fauna and flora, Surtsey has been added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2008. In order to protect this unique island and the pristine life there, access is totally prohibited except for scientific research purposes.
3. Lascaux Caves, France
Lascaux, in southwestern France, consists of a series of complex caves with Paleolithic cave paintings. Illustrating mostly animals, these paintings are more than 17,000 years old. Home to such ancient works of art, Lascaux is under the heritage of UNESCO.
Discovered in 1940, Lascaux caves became open to public display in 1948. About 50 years later, some black molds were discovered on the walls. The fungal outbreak was connected to the air conditioning system inside the caves. Thus, Lascaux was closed permanently in 2008 in order to protect the artworks from further damage.
4. Svalbard Global Seed Vault, Norway
Located on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen about 1,300 kilometers away from the North Pole, Svalbard Global Seed Vault is a seed bank that opened in 2008. Storing more than 850,000 samples of 4000 different species as of 2015, the seed bank provides safety and security against the loss of diversity. It is a safety measure that has been taken considering major global changes and natural disasters.
Funded by the Norwegian government, Svalbard works as a bank providing absolute security for seeds. Awarded as one of the Best Inventions of 2008 by the Time magazine, Svalbard Global Seed Vault is open to only a limited group of people who work there.
5. Snake Island, Brazil
Ilha da Queimada Grande is an island located off the coast of São Paulo, Brazil. Due to the number of snakes inhabited, it has obtained the nickname “Snake Island”. Given its location off the coast and number of species it hosts, Snake Island is surely an interesting spot, and dangerous as well.
It has been estimated that one to five snakes live per square meter on the island. Moreover, it is not only the number but the kind in question. Home to the golden lancehead, one of the most dangerous snake species ever known, the island has witnessed many death incidents. Now, access to the island is prohibited by the Brazilian government, and for good reason.