The World’s Most Forbidden Places

Throughout history, humankind has erected all kinds of barriers and restrictions, from walls and fences to laws and taboos, to keep people out of certain areas or away from certain knowledge. Some of these forbidden places are mysterious, others dangerous, and still others politically sensitive or culturally significant. But no matter the reason, they all share a certain allure that captivates the human imagination and stirs our sense of adventure.

In this article, we will explore some of the world’s most forbidden places, from secret military bases and abandoned cities to cursed tombs and radioactive zones. We will delve into the stories behind these forbidden places, uncover the reasons why they are off-limits, and examine the consequences of defying the prohibitions. So if you’re ready to step into the forbidden zone, join us on this journey into the unknown.

North Sentinel Island, India

The North Sentinel Island, located in the Andaman Sea of the Bay of Bengal, is one of the most mysterious and forbidden places on Earth. This small, remote island is home to a tribe of indigenous people known as the Sentinelese, who have fiercely resisted contact with the outside world for centuries.

With their bows, arrows, and spears, the Sentinelese have repelled numerous attempts to approach or study them, including from famous explorers and anthropologists. In fact, it is illegal to come within five nautical miles of the island due to the potential harm outsiders could cause to the tribe and themselves. The Sentinelese have been known to attack anyone who comes too close, making this island one of the few places on the planet where human civilization has not left its mark.

Ise Grand Shrine, Japan

Ise Grand Shrine is a Shinto shrine located in Ise, Japan. Considered the most sacred Shinto shrine in Japan and is dedicated to the sun goddess Amaterasu. It is believed to have been established in the 3rd century and has been rebuilt every 20 years since 690 AD.

It is interesting because it is the only shrine in Japan that is not open to the public, and instead only the emperor and his family are allowed to enter. This is because it is believed to be the home of the Imperial family’s ancestral spirits.

Surtsey Island, Iceland

Surtsey Island, Iceland is a fascinating place with a unique history. It was formed in 1963 when a volcanic eruption created a new island off the coast of Iceland. It was declared a nature reserve in 1965 and has been closed to the public ever since.

Scientists have studied the island to observe the development of its ecosystem, and it has become a valuable resource for understanding the process of island formation. Surtsey Island is an interesting example of how nature can create something new and beautiful.

North Brother Island, New York

North Brother Island, located in the East River of New York City, is a place of haunting beauty and dark history. Once home to a quarantine hospital for contagious diseases, including the infamous “Typhoid Mary,” the island has been abandoned for decades and is now off-limits to the public. The crumbling ruins of the hospital, overgrown with vegetation, offer a glimpse into a bygone era of public health and medical science. But beyond its historical significance, North Brother Island also harbors a sense of mystery and tragedy.

It was the site of one of the deadliest disasters in New York’s history, the General Slocum steamship fire, which killed over a thousand people in 1904. Today, the island is a sanctuary for birds and wildlife, and its eerie silence stands in stark contrast to the bustling city just a stone’s throw away. Despite its allure, visitors are strictly forbidden from setting foot on the island, making it one of the city’s most fascinating and unexplored places.

Dulce Base, New Mexico

Deep beneath the arid deserts of New Mexico lies a place shrouded in secrecy and controversy – the Dulce Base. According to some conspiracy theories, this underground facility is a joint government-alien installation, where extraterrestrial beings collaborate with human scientists to conduct bizarre experiments on human subjects.

Reports of genetic engineering, mind control, and even alien-human hybridization have circulated in the underground world of UFO enthusiasts for decades. However, the government denies the existence of the Dulce Base, and access to the area is strictly prohibited. Some claim that there have been mysterious disappearances and unexplained phenomena in the vicinity of the base, adding to its aura of intrigue and danger. Whether a hub of cutting-edge science or a portal to otherworldly dimensions, the Dulce Base remains one of the most forbidden and enigmatic places in the world.

Tomb of Qin Shi Huang, China

The Tomb of Qin Shi Huang is an ancient Chinese burial site located in the Lintong District of Xi’an, China. It is the burial site of the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, and is considered one of the most important archaeological sites in the world.

The tomb is filled with thousands of life-sized terracotta warriors and horses, making it an interesting and unique site. Unfortunately, the tomb is no longer open to the public due to its fragile state and the need to preserve its artifacts.

Snake Island, Brazil

Off the coast of Brazil lies an island that is home to one of the deadliest and most forbidden creatures on Earth – the golden lancehead viper. Ilha da Queimada Grande, also known as Snake Island, is a small landmass covered in dense jungle and inhabited by thousands of venomous snakes, with an estimated one snake per square meter.

The golden lancehead, a species found only on this island, is one of the most venomous snakes in the world, capable of killing a human within hours. Due to the danger posed by the snakes, the Brazilian government has banned visitors from setting foot on the island, with the exception of a few select scientists and researchers. The island’s history is also shrouded in mystery, with legends of pirates, treasure, and secret military bases adding to its allure. For those brave enough to venture to Snake Island, the risk of death by snakebite is a constant reminder of the fragility of human life, and the power of nature to defend itself.

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault, Norway

Deep inside a mountain on a remote archipelago in the Arctic Ocean lies a global treasure of biodiversity – the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. This massive underground facility, carved out of permafrost and safeguarded by concrete walls and steel doors, contains millions of seed samples from every corner of the world.

The seeds, stored at a frigid -18°C (-0.4°F), represent a backup of the world’s agricultural diversity, protecting against the loss of vital crops due to natural disasters, climate change, or man-made disasters. The vault is designed to be impregnable to virtually any threat, from nuclear war to global pandemics. Despite its importance, the seed vault is strictly off-limits to the public, with only a handful of international scientists and experts permitted access to its inner sanctum. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is not just a marvel of engineering and science, but also a testament to humanity’s collective responsibility to safeguard the planet’s natural resources for future generations.

Vatican Secret Archives, Rome

Hidden deep within the walls of the Vatican City in Rome is a treasure trove of history, mystery, and intrigue – the Vatican’s Secret Archives. The archives, which date back to the 8th century, contain millions of documents, letters, and manuscripts that reveal the inner workings of the Catholic Church over the centuries, from papal decrees and diplomatic correspondence to heresies and excommunications.

Some of the most famous documents housed in the archives include the papal bull excommunicating Martin Luther and Galileo’s trial transcripts. Despite its name, the archives are not strictly “secret” but are rather closed to the general public, with access granted only to a select few scholars and researchers who have been authorized by the Vatican. The archives’ reputation for secrecy and the rumors of hidden treasures and dark secrets have made them the subject of numerous conspiracy theories and literary works, fueling the imagination of generations of curious minds.

Coca-Cola’s Vault, Atlanta GA

Coca-Cola’s Vault in Atlanta, GA was the secret recipe for the world-famous soft drink. It was kept in a bank vault and was only accessible to a few select people. It was a closely guarded secret for over 100 years, making it an interesting part of Coca-Cola’s history.

Unfortunately, the Vault is no longer open to the public due to security concerns. However, it remains an important part of the company’s history and a reminder of the importance of keeping secrets.

Ayers Rock, Australia

Ayers Rock, also known as Uluru, is an iconic sandstone monolith located in the Northern Territory of Australia. It is a sacred site for the Aboriginal people and is of great cultural significance. It is an impressive 348 meters high and 9.4 kilometers in circumference.

It is an interesting geological formation, with its red hue changing with the light of the day. Unfortunately, it is no longer open to the public due to its cultural and spiritual importance to the Aboriginal people. It is now a protected area, and visitors are asked to respect the traditional owners of the land.

Heard Island, Antarctica

Heard Island is a remote, uninhabited island located in the Southern Indian Ocean. It is the only active volcano in Australian territory and is home to a variety of unique wildlife.

It is also home to the Mawson research station, which was established in 1947. The island is of great scientific interest due to its unique environment and biodiversity. Unfortunately, the island is no longer open to the public due to its remote location and the need to protect its fragile environment.

Montserrat’s Exclusion Zone, Caribbean

Montserrat’s Exclusion Zone is a unique area in the Caribbean that has been closed off to the public since 1997. It was created due to the eruption of the Soufrière Hills volcano, which caused the destruction of two-thirds of the island.

The Exclusion Zone is now a fascinating area of natural beauty, with lush vegetation, wildlife, and a variety of volcanic features. It is a reminder of the power of nature and the fragility of life. Despite its beauty, the Exclusion Zone is still too dangerous for the public to visit, making it a mysterious and intriguing place.

Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, Ukraine

The Chernobyl Exclusion Zone is a 2,600 km2 area in Ukraine that was evacuated after the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster. It is now a ghost town, with abandoned buildings, vehicles, and other remnants of the past.

It is an interesting place to visit, as it provides a unique insight into the effects of a nuclear disaster. Unfortunately, it is no longer open to the public due to the high levels of radiation still present in the area. It is now a restricted area, with only scientists and researchers allowed to enter.

Area 51, New Mexico

Tucked away in the desolate deserts of Nevada lies a place that has become synonymous with secrecy and conspiracy – Area 51. This top-secret military facility, owned by the United States Air Force, has been shrouded in mystery for decades, fueling wild rumors of alien encounters, secret weapons development, and government cover-ups.

The site has been linked to numerous unexplained phenomena, including the infamous Roswell UFO incident of 1947, and its clandestine operations have inspired countless books, movies, and TV shows. Despite its fame, the US government only acknowledged the existence of Area 51 in 2013, and access to the base remains strictly prohibited, with high-tech surveillance systems and armed guards deterring any would-be trespassers. The allure of the unknown and the fear of what might be lurking behind the barbed wire fence have made Area 51 one of the most forbidden and fascinating places in the world, and a symbol of humanity’s eternal quest for knowledge and discovery.

Room 39, North Korea

Room 39, also known as Bureau 39, is a secretive North Korean organization believed to be involved in illicit activities to generate foreign currency for the country. It is believed to have been established in the late 1970s and is thought to be responsible for counterfeiting foreign currency, drug trafficking, and other illegal activities.

Room 39 is an interesting example of North Korea’s attempts to circumvent international sanctions and generate revenue for the country. Unfortunately, due to its secretive nature, it is no longer open to the public.

Poveglia Island, Italy

In the waters of the Venetian Lagoon lies an island that has been dubbed one of the most haunted places in the world – Poveglia Island. The small island has a dark and gruesome history, having served as a quarantine station during the bubonic plague in the 18th century and a mental asylum in the 20th century.

The brutal treatment of the sick and the mentally ill is said to have left a residue of paranormal activity on the island, and numerous sightings of ghosts and other supernatural phenomena have been reported over the years. Despite its notoriety, the Italian government has banned visitors from setting foot on the island, with only a few authorized personnel permitted to access its shores. The decaying ruins of the asylum and the abandoned chapel add to the eerie atmosphere, making Poveglia Island a place that is both fascinating and terrifying.

Heart Reef, Australia

Heart Reef is a stunning natural formation located in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. It is made up of a collection of coral that has formed into the shape of a heart. It is a popular tourist destination and has been featured in many films and advertisements.

Unfortunately, due to its fragile nature, it is no longer open to the public. It is still a beautiful sight to behold from the air, and its history and beauty make it an interesting and unique part of the Great Barrier Reef.

Original Church of St. Mary of Zion Aksum, Ethiopia

Deep in the highlands of Ethiopia lies a place of great religious significance and mystery – the Church of St. Mary of Zion. According to Ethiopian Orthodox tradition, the church is the resting place of the Ark of the Covenant, the biblical artifact that is said to have contained the tablets of the Ten Commandments.

The church, which dates back to the 4th century AD, is one of the most important religious sites in Ethiopia, drawing thousands of pilgrims and visitors each year. Despite its significance, the church is strictly off-limits to non-Orthodox visitors, with only a handful of authorized religious officials allowed inside the sanctuary. The secrecy and the mystery surrounding the church and the Ark of the Covenant have fueled numerous legends and conspiracies, adding to the allure and fascination of this holy site. For believers and non-believers alike, the Church of St. Mary of Zion is a testament to the power of faith and the enduring legacy of ancient civilizations.

Maya Bay, Thailand

Maya Bay, Thailand is a stunningly beautiful beach located on the island of Koh Phi Phi Leh. It was made famous by the 2000 movie The Beach, starring Leonardo DiCaprio. The bay is surrounded by towering limestone cliffs and crystal clear waters, making it a popular destination for tourists.

Unfortunately, due to the environmental damage caused by the influx of visitors, the Thai government has closed the bay to the public indefinitely. Despite this, Maya Bay remains an iconic destination and a reminder of the importance of preserving our natural environment.

Lascaux Caves, France

Deep inside a limestone hill in the Dordogne region of France lies a hidden treasure of prehistoric art – the Lascaux Caves. The caves contain some of the most spectacular and best-preserved examples of Paleolithic cave paintings in the world, dating back over 17,000 years. The vivid and detailed paintings of animals, humans, and abstract symbols provide a glimpse into the lives and beliefs of our ancient ancestors, and have inspired countless artists and scholars over the centuries.

Despite their importance, the Lascaux Caves are strictly off-limits to the public, with only a select few researchers and conservationists permitted to access the site. The caves were closed to the public in 1963 due to the damage caused by human presence, and a replica cave was opened nearby to allow visitors to appreciate the art without disturbing the fragile environment of the original. The Lascaux Caves stand as a testament to the beauty and ingenuity of human creativity, and a reminder of the fragility of our shared cultural heritage.

Woomera Test Range, Australia

Deep in the heart of the Australian Outback lies a place of immense military significance and secrecy – the Woomera Test Range. This sprawling desert facility has served as a testing ground for some of the world’s most advanced weapons and technologies since the 1940s, including intercontinental ballistic missiles, spy planes, and guided missiles.

The vast and isolated landscape of the test range makes it an ideal location for such operations, with its clear skies, low population density, and expansive airspace. Despite its importance, access to the Woomera Test Range is strictly prohibited, with the area cordoned off by high-security fences and surveillance systems. The secrecy surrounding the test range has fueled numerous conspiracy theories and rumors of hidden underground facilities, alien encounters, and government cover-ups. For those curious enough to venture into the Outback, the Woomera Test Range remains a tantalizing enigma, a place that represents both the pinnacle of human technological achievement and the depths of our fears and suspicions.

Metro 2, Russia

Beneath the bustling streets of Moscow lies a secret underground world that has captivated the imagination of adventurers and conspiracy theorists for decades – Metro 2. This alleged network of tunnels and bunkers is said to have been built by the Soviet government during the height of the Cold War as a top-secret transportation and communication system for the military and political elite.

The exact extent and purpose of the Metro 2 network are unknown, but it is rumored to span hundreds of kilometers and contain everything from luxurious underground palaces and secret command centers to nuclear-proof bunkers and hidden laboratories. Despite the lack of concrete evidence, the existence of Metro 2 has been acknowledged by some former Soviet officials and intelligence operatives. However, access to the tunnels and facilities is strictly prohibited, with high-tech security systems and armed guards patrolling the entrances. For those fascinated by the hidden histories and secrets of the former Soviet Union, Metro 2 remains a tantalizing mystery, a place where fact and fiction blur, and where the legacy of the Cold War lives on.

Bank of England Vaults, England, UK

Beneath the bustling streets of London lies a place that is considered one of the most secure and heavily guarded places on Earth – the Bank of England Vaults. This vast underground complex is the repository for the UK’s gold reserves, as well as other precious metals, banknotes, and historical artifacts. The vaults are said to hold around 400,000 gold bars, making it one of the largest concentrations of gold in the world.

The security measures of the vaults are extensive and include numerous checkpoints, armed guards, and cutting-edge technology such as seismic sensors and pressure-sensitive floors. The Bank of England Vaults are strictly off-limits to the public, with access granted only to authorized personnel and VIPs. Despite their lack of visibility, the vaults and the gold they hold have become a symbol of the strength and stability of the UK’s economy, and a source of fascination for those who are intrigued by the mysteries of wealth and power.

Chichen Itza Pyramid, Mexico

In the lush jungles of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, a magnificent wonder of the ancient world stands tall – the Chichen Itza Pyramid. This towering structure, also known as El Castillo, was built by the Mayans more than a thousand years ago, and it remains one of the most awe-inspiring and well-preserved examples of Mayan architecture and astronomy. The pyramid’s unique design is said to align with the movement of the sun, casting a shadow that resembles a serpent on the equinoxes.

Despite its importance, access to the pyramid is strictly regulated, with visitors not allowed to climb to the top, and some areas off-limits to the public. The allure of the pyramid’s ancient history and the mystery of its purpose have inspired countless explorers, scholars, and artists over the centuries, making it a source of endless fascination and wonder for people all over the world. The Chichen Itza Pyramid stands as a testament to the ingenuity and creativity of ancient civilizations and the timeless appeal of human achievements.

Mount Weather, Virginia, US

Nestled deep in the mountains of Virginia is a top-secret underground facility that is said to be the location of one of the most advanced disaster response centers in the world – Mount Weather. This government complex, built during the Cold War era, was designed to serve as a safe haven for the US government in the event of a national emergency, from nuclear war to natural disasters.

The facility is equipped with state-of-the-art technology, including its own power and water supply, and has the capacity to house and sustain a small population of government officials and personnel for months at a time. Despite its significance, the facility is shrouded in secrecy, with little information available about its operations or layout. Access to the complex is strictly prohibited, with high-tech security systems and armed guards patrolling the perimeter. The hidden world of Mount Weather and its role in protecting the US government and its citizens in times of crisis have fueled numerous conspiracy theories and speculation, adding to the allure and mystery of this forbidden place.

Diego Garcia, British Overseas Territory, UK

In the heart of the Indian Ocean lies a remote island that has been at the center of controversy and secrecy for decades – Diego Garcia. This small British Overseas Territory is home to a large US military base, which has played a crucial role in US operations in the Middle East, including the Gulf War and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Despite its importance, the island has a controversial history, having been forcefully evacuated of its native population in the 1960s to make way for the military base.

The exile of the Chagossian people has been widely criticized as a violation of human rights, and the UK government has faced legal challenges to allow their return. Despite the controversy, the Diego Garcia military base remains a highly restricted area, with no public access permitted, and a high level of security, including patrols, surveillance systems, and armed guards. The secrecy and the rumors surrounding Diego Garcia have fueled numerous conspiracy theories and speculation, adding to the fascination and mystery of this remote and forbidden place.

Bhangarh Fort, India

In the desert of Rajasthan, India, lies a ruined fortress that is steeped in legend and forbidden to visitors after dark – the Bhangarh Fort. This 17th-century fort, once a thriving center of trade and culture, is now a popular tourist attraction, known for its stunning architecture and eerie atmosphere. However, according to local legends, the fort is cursed, and anyone who enters after dark will never return.

The legend has been fueled by various spooky stories, including reports of supernatural sightings and unexplained phenomena within the fort’s walls. Despite the legends, the Indian government has banned entry to the fort after sunset, and access during the day is strictly controlled, with a high level of security to prevent trespassers. The mysterious history and the rumors of paranormal activity have made Bhangarh Fort one of the most intriguing and forbidden places in India, drawing visitors and adventurers from all over the world.

U.N. Buffer Zone, Cyprus

In the divided island of Cyprus, a demilitarized zone serves as a buffer between the Turkish-controlled north and the Greek-controlled south – the United Nations Buffer Zone in Cyprus. This strip of land, also known as the Green Line, has been in place since the 1970s, following the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, and is patrolled by United Nations peacekeepers. Despite the relatively peaceful situation, the zone remains a highly restricted and forbidden area, with access granted only to authorized personnel and special circumstances.

The zone includes abandoned homes, empty streets, and other remnants of the conflict, providing a haunting glimpse into the consequences of war and the enduring legacy of division. The Buffer Zone remains a symbol of the fragility of peace and the importance of international cooperation in resolving conflicts, as well as a reminder of the need for continued efforts to promote reconciliation and understanding between communities.

Fort Knox, Kentucky

Deep in the rolling hills of Kentucky lies a place that has become synonymous with wealth and security – Fort Knox. This massive military base is home to one of the most secure and heavily guarded buildings in the world – the United States Bullion Depository. The depository, also known as Fort Knox Gold Vault, is said to house over 147 million ounces of gold, worth billions of dollars, as well as other precious metals and historical artifacts.

The depository’s thick walls and intricate security systems, which include armed guards, cameras, and sensors, make it virtually impregnable to theft or attack. Despite its reputation, access to the depository is strictly prohibited, with only authorized personnel and VIPs permitted inside. The allure of the gold and the mysteries surrounding the depository have inspired numerous legends and conspiracy theories, adding to the fascination and intrigue of this legendary site. For those who have never seen the legendary gold, Fort Knox and the United States Bullion Depository remain one of the most forbidden and intriguing places in the world.

Pravcicka Brana, Czech Republic

In the picturesque region of Bohemia in the Czech Republic, a natural wonder stands tall – the Pravcicka Brana. This sandstone arch is the largest natural arch in Europe, and has been a source of inspiration and fascination for centuries.

The arch, which is located in the Bohemian Switzerland National Park, can only be accessed via a hiking trail, and visitors are prohibited from climbing on or touching the rock formation to preserve its delicate structure. Despite its popularity, the area around the arch is strictly protected, with high fines and penalties for violators. The Pravcicka Brana and the surrounding national park are a testament to the beauty and diversity of nature, and a reminder of the importance of preserving and protecting our shared natural heritage for future generations.

Niihau Island, USA

In the Hawaiian archipelago, there is an island that has been off-limits to most visitors for over a century – Niihau Island. This small, privately owned island is home to a small community of Native Hawaiians and is considered one of the most pristine and unspoiled places in Hawaii. The island is known for its natural beauty, wildlife, and cultural heritage, and is also famous for its unique language, which is spoken only by the residents of the island.

Despite its allure, access to Niihau Island is strictly controlled, with only a handful of authorized visitors permitted each year. The island’s isolation and the preservation of its traditional way of life have made it a place of mystery and fascination, with rumors and legends surrounding its history and culture. For those lucky enough to gain access, Niihau Island offers a rare glimpse into a way of life that has remained largely unchanged for centuries, and a chance to experience the unspoiled beauty of Hawaii.