Given the evolution of technology and culture, we can know anything and everything at the click of a button. As shocking as it sounds, there are still many places in the world you can’t go to. The reasons vary from security to legal and historical importance. Some places are simply forgotten, abandoned, or too dangerous to allow public access.
Snake Island or Queimada Grande, Brazil
Ilha Da Queimada Grande is the home of a deadly poisonous snake known as the golden lancehead. The island is also known as Snake Island. It is a small, uninhabited island in Itanhaém in the State of São Paulo. The area around the snake-infested island is spooky enough and serves as an unofficial warning to its visitors from afar.
The island is home to golden lancehead vipers. The snake can grow to half a meter long, and its bite could be fatal in as little as 45 minutes without proper medical treatment. The snake’s poison is known to dissolve the flesh around the bite area.
Some say there are approximately 1 to 5 snakes per square meter on the island. However, these allegations are yet to be confirmed. The seriousness of the threat has led the Brazilian government to forbid access to the island. Only scientists with special permission and an experienced doctor’s company can visit the area for research work.
Ise Grand Shrine
Tourists can only view the shrine from the outside, while the inside is accessible only to priests. The shrine is approached through a narrow passage and has several small gates that only the priests can open.
The inner chamber, known as Okitsu-den, houses spirits of gods believed to have been born there. The buildings within the shrine’s premises comprise temples dedicated to Shintoism and Shingon Buddhism. The shrine is in the heart of a sacred forest in the Mie Prefecture, and it’s dedicated to the Sun and Food goddesses.
The first building took place in 4 BCE, but the present-day structures and model are based on a 7th CE design. The shrine is torn down and rebuilt every two decades, symbolizing the Shinto concept of death and new birth. The construction costs Japan’s government $500 million every time.
The structure is mainly built in wood, but careful artistry is observed to recreate the designs to their original state. The most intriguing part is that all the effort and resources put into rebuilding the shrine and hundreds of secondary shrines go unnoticed. Visitors can only admire the work from afar.
Coca cola’s vault is perhaps one of the most well-known forbidden places in the world for ordinary people. The vault has been off-limits for many years, and its purpose remains a secret. Intriguingly, Coca-Cola decided to build its shrine-like structure believed to house its product’s secret recipe.
The vault is a multi-million-dollar structure located in Atlanta, Georgia, US. It’s inside the Coca-Cola museum grounds, and tourists can only see its exteriors. The interiors are only accessible to top executives. Coca-Cola’s recipe has been a well-kept secret. People have been speculating for years as to what Coca-Cola’s secret recipe is.
The recipe has been under the company’s custody since 1920 and is believed to be a handwritten note with different ingredients and instructions. Rumors also suggest that the vault spans more than 31,500 square feet and is considered large enough to hold 747 aircraft. Coca-Cola Company calls the vault its soft drink museum.
The walls are engraved with the names of its earliest stockholders. Other than these, Coca-Cola has not revealed any information about the structure or what’s inside the vault. The mystery surrounding the construction has become an exciting attraction for tourists who come to visit the museum.
Lascaux cave is another one of the forbidden sites located in France. The cave contains some of the most impressive cave paintings depicting scenes from within the Stone Age. The cave was discovered in 1940 by four teenagers who were hiking near Montignac.
The cave was open to the public from 1948 but later closed just fifteen years later. The cave paintings inside are considered to be quite old, dating back to 15000 years ago. The visible ones are protected with an infra-red light which prevents them from fading away due to exposure to sunlight.
Although there is so much more art left in the cave, the general public cannot see it. The main reason for closing down the place is because of its fragile nature. The paintings can quickly get damaged by a tiny amount of light or pollution.
That’s the reason behind restricted access to the area. Although Lascaux Cave is off-limit to visitors, a replica cave is just next and open to visitors.
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault located on the Arctic island of Spitsbergen in Norway is a site to behold. The seed vault is buried deep within a mountain, protecting it from lava flows, flooding, and climate changes.
It was designed to store seeds of different plant species that are in danger of being extinct due to environmental changes and other human activities. This ark-like structure holds the key toward food security. According to officials, there is enough supply for at least 1000 years.
The vault contains seeds of more than 7000 plant species and is considered one of the most important ecosystems on earth. Its purpose is to protect rare seed varieties that are in danger due to over-farming or commercialization. It began storing seeds in 2008 with an initial capacity to hold one million samples, later increased to 4 million.
Uluru (Ayers Rock)
Uluru, also known as the Australian Landmark or Ayers Rock, is a massive sandstone formation in the Northern Territory of Australia. The monolithic rock has an approximate height of 348 meters and features 500 caves within it. Historically, the place holds spiritual significance to Australian Aborigines.
They call it Uluru, or Ayer’s Rock. It also houses many ancient paintings believed to be created by old Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The place was closed to the public in 2019 after a petition by the Anangu people. You can still visit the area but cannot climb the rock. It’s believed that tourists who disobey the directive attract bad luck and a curse.
The Island of Surtsey
In 1960, a volcanic eruption created a new island now known as Surtsey. This allowed scientists to study a recent volcanic eruption without human interruption. Currently, the island is home to different bird species, mold, and fungi. Only scientists have access to the island. According to the scientists, everything on this island is a natural phenomenon and should be left alone for further research.
The Vatican’s Secret Archives
Located in Rome, the Vatican’s secret archives are one of the places you cannot visit. It’s believed the secluded area in the Vatican houses data for all popes. It is currently known as the Vatican Apostolic Archive.
The archives are hidden from the general public and are not open for tours. According to reports, the Vatican secret archives date as far back as 1612, but it’s not until 1881 that Pope LEO XIII permitted scholars to examine its contents.
Scholars were allowed on the condition that they do not make any copies of the materials or browse through the content, including journals, letters, and records. The archives are currently open to scholars only but with special permission from Pope.
Heard Island, The Home of Mawson Peak
Heard Island is home to Mawson Peak, a 9000-foot tall active volcano. Its termed as one of the most dangerous places on earth, and there is good reason to believe it. The volcano has been awake since 2000, and until today, there is no way of predicting its next eruption.
You can apply for a permit to visit the island, but it’s a dangerous and complicated 2-week journey from Australia by boat. Only a handful of people have visited the island, and that too under supervision, dressed in special thermal suits as temperatures can drop to -7C.
Montserrat’s Designated Exclusion Zone
The Soufrière Hills volcano became active again in 1995, forcing the nearby town of Plymouth to evacuate. The disaster resulted in massive destruction, which continues as the volcano eruptions happen.
The area is now deserted, and because there is no telling when the next eruption will occur, it was declared a ‘no-go’ zone. The Montserrat Volcano Observatory restricts visitors to a small section of the exclusion zone close to the volcano’s summit. No one is allowed inside the remaining area where old buildings are unsafe after eruptions.
Area 51, Nevada, USA
Area 51 became a place of interest after the US government denied its existence. Located in the dry Groom Lake about 80 kilometers north-northeast of Las Vegas, Nevada, Area 51 was established in 1955 by CIA U-2 aircraft for testing top-secret aerial surveillance projects. The area soon attracted attention internationally, which made it even more attractive to those seeking the truth.
Google later marked Area 51 as a Heritage Site with an interactive map that allowed everyone to view it online. Those who wished to visit the secretive place could follow the alleged route taken by UFO enthusiasts. However, those who tried to find the truth were stopped at the gates and ordered to leave immediately.
Rumors say that an alien spaceship crashed in this area. Whatever the truth, Area 51 is one of those places that remain out of bounds to everyone.
Pravcicka Brana, Czech Republic
This tourist attraction in the Czech Republic is closed due to soil erosion and the fear that the natural sandstone arch can collapse any minute due to weight. The structure was cordoned off to visitors in 1982, but you can still view it from a distance. Sadly, it’s still feared Pravcicka Brana might still collapse as soil erosion continues though at a slower pace.
Morgan Island, South Carolina, USA
This little-known island in South Carolina is a place of interest as its the home of 4000 rhesus monkeys initially relocated from Puerto Rico due to a Herpes B virus infection spread. The island is also known as Monkey Island and is off-limits to tourists. Only researchers from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) have access to the island.
Chernobyl Exclusion Zone
The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine meltdown took place in 1986. Since then, the area is a no-go zone. It’s cordoned off and surrounded by barbed wire fencing to prevent people from entering the contaminated sites.
However, recent efforts have seen some of the areas opened to the public, but you need to wear protective gear or long-sleeved clothes when viewing some of the spots, such as the Reactor 4 Control room.
North Sentinel Island, India
The small community of an indigenous population known as Sentinelese inhabits North Sentinel Island in the Bay of Bengal. The indigenous people live without any contact with the outside world. Their existence makes them hard to find. They don’t like tourists or any interactions with the outside world or civilization.
The community outrightly rejects and even gets hostile when an outsider tries to visit them. They won’t even allow anyone to get close enough for a photograph. It has made the island one of those off-limits places as no one can visit it without being attacked.
The Island of Poveglia
Poveglia is between Venice and Lido on the Venetian Lagoon in Italy. It’s a small island with a dark past used for centuries to isolate people with infectious diseases like plague, cholera, and syphilis. The first quarantine establishment dates back to 1379 when The Plague ravaged Venice.
It’s estimated that 50% of the island’s soil consists of human bones. The Poveglia was last used as a mental hospital in the 1920s. However, it was later closed down due to the inhumane treatment of the patients.
The island has been considered haunted since the plague days, and it’s believed spirits of the victims still inhabit the island. Many who have seen Poveglia or taken pictures of it report strange sightings like apparitions, voices, or ghost ships floating on the surrounding waters. Currently, it’s one of the forbidden places you cannot travel.
There are many forbidden places to travel to throughout the world. Some of them are off-limits due to security reasons, pollution, and even health hazards. However, there’s always that feeling of wonder and curiosity when requested not to venture to places you can’t visit.