This is a little unusual for our travel articles, but it promises to be fascinating, and if you are a lover of dangerous adventure, then this would be even more thrilling to you. The world has many treasures. Some lay deep under the sea; some are buried under the earth. But, there are those places that actually hold some of the most treasured, antique, and controversial items, and sometimes, even the most dangerous people, that require the strictest security. You may have read about such places in a novel or seen the heroic act of someone breaking into them in the movies, but there are a few places where it is impossible to get to.
Take a quick look at some of the most heavily guarded and secured places on Earth today.
The Bold Lane Car Park, England
This car park is referred to as the most secure parking lot in the world. Each car is assigned a bar-coded ticket which is linked to a specific parking space. It uses motion sensors on the ground beneath the car to ensure that if the parked car moves even a little when it should be still, there will be a lockdown.
It has a sophisticated surveillance system including 190 CCTV cameras across the entire structure, a “panic button,” a computerized map of the building, and an operator.
Fort Knox, Kentucky
This is an army post housing the US Bullion Depository which stores most of the country’s gold. The vault is believed to hold around 5,000 tons of gold bullion. It also once held the Magna Carta and the Declaration of Independence and other top federal documents.
A host of 30,000 troops, 300 tanks, and attack helicopters protect the site. The structure is fireproof and the door weighs 20 tons. It has the highest level of security. The structure is built with thick granite lined with cement, steel, and a fireproof material able to withstand a nuclear attack.
Svalbard International Seed Vault
It is also called the “Doomsday Vault”. This is a unique facility in the Arctic preserving 930,000 varieties of seeds. It has three refrigerated chambers with airlocks at both ends and five levels of locked doors to access the seeds, keeping them safe for centuries to come. It was constructed in 2008 with a mission to act as a backup storage unit to maintain the seed diversity in the world’s gene banks.
The seeds are stored 390 feet inside an icy mountain on Spitsbergen Island with robust security systems. It has a 400-foot long tunnel with airlocks at both ends leading to three refrigerated chambers of which only one is in use today. A thick layer of ice covers the door indicating the subzero temperatures inside. The seeds are placed in vacuum-packed silver packets and test tubes in large boxes. It has five levels of locked doors between the entrance and the seeds.
The Deltalis Data Center, Switzerland
This facility is a 10,000-square-foot data center. It has an anti-nuclear steel door, an electronic system to keep hackers away, and can protect information through earthquakes and nuclear attacks. The Xapo, a bitcoin wallet, has the highest security there. The Deltalis RadixCloud data center uses the underground bunkers built during World War II. Now, the 10,000-square-foot data center is buried 500 feet on the Swiss Alps inside Granite Mountain.
To gain access, you have to go through a biometric scan, a man trap, a hyper-security portal, and through anti-nuclear steel doors that weigh 30 tons. It has racks of data storage systems, and secure, electronic systems that can protect the data from power-cuts, hackers, earthquake, and even terrorist attacks.
The Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ)
This is a strip serving as a buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea. The area is completely off-limits to the public, is fortified by both sides with tens of thousands of landmines, razor and electric fences, tanks, and hundreds of thousands of armed soldiers.
The Korean DMZ is actually nick named the “scariest place on earth”. It is located just 40 miles north of Pyeongchang. Interestingly though, as dangerous as this place is, it is also home to an astonishing breadth of wildlife
Area 51, Nevada
This United States Air Force facility in Nevada, is one of the most heavily guarded places. The base is so well secured that no layman can get in. Even flying over it is forbidden.
Its primary purpose is still unknown to the public, but evidence shows that it may be used for the development and testing of experimental aircraft and weapon systems deemed top secret. The area is patrolled by guards and surveilled by CCTV cameras and motion detectors as well as signage warning trespassers that deadly force will be authorized.
The Vatican Secret Archives
The Vatican secret Archives are a central repository for all of the acts published by the Holy See. The miles of shelves hold parchments, rare Bible texts, state papers, correspondence, papal books of accounts, and other documents that the church has accumulated over the centuries.
Only qualified clergy and scholars with microchip tracking device ID cards are allowed inside. Still, not all materials are available to the public, specifically, no documents dated after 1939 are accessible, and the section dedicated to the personal affairs of cardinals from 1922 onwards are off-limits.
The ADX Florence Prison, Fremont
This is a super-max prison in Fremont, Colorado also known as the “Alcatraz of the Rockies”. It houses the most dangerous of male convicts including those involved in the September 11 attacks, US Embassy bombings, and the Boston Marathon bombing.
The prison has a multitude of motion detectors, Z-units, and 1,400 remote-controlled steel doors with an immediate lockdown capability.
The Mormon Church Secret Vaults, Utah
This church is located under 700 feet of solid mountain stone in Utah. It preserves 2.4 million rolls of microfilm having 3.5 billion images of family history records. The doors to the vault weigh about fourteen tons and are able to withstand a nuclear blast.
It is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) and is excavated 600 feet north of Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah. The main function of the vault is the storage, preservation, and reproduction of genealogical records. It provides a dry, environment-controlled facility, and a restoration laboratory for microfilm. Two major advantages of this vault are its protected environment that can withstand an intruder, earthquake, fire, and any disaster, and its ability to act as a stable, storage environment. It also stores a myriad of church materials. Public entry is restricted.