With breakthroughs in technology every year, from improvements in transportation to new trip planning applications, wanderlusts can travel to more secluded places. However, there are some places that will remain off limits — and for good reason.
The sites below are among the most fascinating on earth — from the vault containing the highly coveted, secret formula for Coca-Cola to an island inhabited by thousands of snakes. Some are temporarily closed off from the public while others will remain so permanently, meaning exploration will have to be conducted via imagination.
#1. Royal Air Force Station Menwith Hill
Located nine miles west of Harrogate in North Yorkshire, this Royal Air Force Station (RAF) covers about one square mile of moorland, or open area typically covered with grass. Run by the US National Security Agency (NSA), it is thought to be the largest electronic monitoring station in the world. Its distinctive golf ball structures, formally known as radomes, are believed to secretly monitor and possibly even intercept communications.
Controversy remains, especially among activists who are unsure whether the secret activities conducted within the base are acceptable, or accountable, to the British public.
#2. Bohemian Grove
About 75 miles north of San Francisco you will find a 2,700-acre redwood region called the Bohemian Grove. Every year during the last few weeks of July, some of the richest, most powerful men meet at Monte Rio to drink and exchange secret conversations. You must be a member of the Bohemian Club to gain entry into the camp, but there have been a few infiltrators that have managed to sneak in. Among them were Texas-based filmmaker Alex Jones, who entered with a group and a hidden camera, and Vanity Fair editor Alex Shoumatoff, who was arrested for trespassing in 2008.
#3. Vault of the Secret Formula
Pharmacist John S. Pemberton’s Coca-Cola formula, created in 1886, is regarded as one of the world’s most highly regarded trade secrets. In 2011, the Coca-Cola company moved its then 125-year-old recipe from its original vault at SunTrust Bank in downtown Atlanta to the World of Coca-Cola.
Guests can visit the World of Coca-Cola after passing through a strict security checkpoint and can even see the Vault of the Secret Formula, but it’s just a teaser. The vault remains closely guarded.
A quick Internet search will lead you to many similar recipes, though none have been officially confirmed.
#4. Vatican Secret Archives
The Vatican Secret Archives, more accurately the private archives, stores the pope’s personal documents which date back to the 8th century. Among these documents is a copy of Pope Leo X’s papal bull that excommunicated Luther, which he later burned in protest.
Though the archives have been closed off to the public in the past, Pope Leo XIII granted access to expert researchers in the late nineteenth century.
You’ve learned about these Palaeolithic cave paintings, most prominently the Great Hall of the Bulls, in art history. Lascaux was discovered in southwestern France in September 1940, enriching the world with prehistoric art telling of human origins.
In 1979, together with other caves in the Vézère Valley, Lascaux was honored as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Though visitors were allowed access to the cave in previous years, a fungus was discovered. It was believed to be caused by the newly installed air conditioning system, high powered lights, and frequent visitors. The situation has become even more serious in recent years, with authorities closing the cave for three months in 2008, even for qualified researchers.
#6. Moscow Metro-2
Not to be confused with the Moscow Metro, Metro-2 is a special subway system rumored to have been built for the paranoid leader Joseph Stalin. Some believe that it was meant to provide high-ranking officers, including Stalin, for easy access to a sabbatical home or escape, especially in the case of nuclear war.
Adventurous diggers claimed to find the entrance to the system in the mid-90s. Although its existence has neither been confirmed or denied, it has been mentioned in a view documents including one by the US Department of Defense.
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