It’s often said, when you’re not allowed to experience something, you want to do it even more. However, there are places on the planet where Joe Public is strictly banned and sometimes with good reason. Such as:
- Fort Knox, Kentucky
- Svalbard Seed Vault
- Snake Island
- Area 51
- Ise Grand Shrine, Ise Japan
Whether hiding government secrets, ancient artefacts, or food to save the future of humanity, these sites don’t allow visitors. You’ve been warned.
Ilha de Quiemada Grande about 90 miles from Sao Paulo also goes by another name ‘Snake Island’. By order of the Brazilin navy, it is off limits to the public. That’s because this 110-acre island is the home of up to 4000 deadly serpents - the golden lancehead whose venom is said to be capable of melting human flesh.
It is thought to be the only place in the world where the snake lives. Despite the ban on visitors, the species is still deemed critically endangered because of a combination of decreasing vegetation and disease. You might not be allowed on the island but the brave members of the Brazilian navy occasionally must tend to a lighthouse there. Hopefully they’re wearing strong boots.
Access denied - Area 51
The secret US Air Force base in the Nevada desert has been made famous in everything from The X-Files to Independence Day. UFO enthusiasts believe the facility houses an alien spacecraft which crash-landed on Earth at Roswell in 1947.
And it’s only in recent years the US government even acknowledged that the base existed. Many believe it is the headquarters for experimental aircraft manoeuvres. The region is close to the Nevada Test Site, location of nuclear trials, while the nearby Route 375 is more commonly known as the ‘Extraterrestrial Highway.’
Solid Gold - Fort Knox
Fort Knox holds the US gold bullion reserve and the site is protected by up to 30,000 soldiers. The US Army base measures 109,000 acres and has a population of over 40,000 personnel.
And while there are military facilities and a museum on the site, the Bullion Depository, operated by the Treasury Department, is off limits to visitors. However, if you did manage to get locked in the vault, there’s an escape tunnel. No members of the public have been inside since a US Congress and media visit in the 1970s.
Svalbard Seed Vault
The Svalbard Seed Vault, sometimes called the Doomsday Vault, is located on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen. Since the 1980s, the Nordic Gene Bank has used a former coal mine to store backup plant seeds from around the world in case of a global crisis.
A new facility was opened in 2008 and sits 130 metres above sea-level, safe from melting ice-caps and in a permanently-frozen location free from the threat of earthquakes. Over 1.5 million different seed types are housed there and for protection, the vault is rarely opened.
Ise Grand Shrine, Ise Japan
The Ise Grand Shrine is believed to date back to the year 4.B.C. It is one of Japan’s most sacred sites and for that reason, no one can enter beyond the main gate except the priest and priestesses of the imperial family.
The sanctuary is dedicated to the sun goddess Amaterasu and the region around the city of Ise is home to over 120 shrines. It is thought to house the Yata no Kagami, or sacred mirror, said to have been given to the first Emperor by the gods, and is one of the most important artefacts in the country.