The World's Most Inaccessible Places  

Kellen Perry
553 votes 192 voters 13.2k views 15 items

List Rules Vote up the places you most wish you could peek inside.

There are plenty of places on the planet that are essentially inaccessible because of Mother Nature - remote islands, towering peaks, the deepest parts of the ocean - but man-made places that are inaccessible are a different breed.

Typically designed to either protect valuable goods (vaults, repositories) or protect the public from danger (bunkers, supermax prisons), what the hardest buildings in the world to break into all have in common is the remarkable human ingenuity behind their creation (how on earth do you design something that can deflect a nuclear bomb?). Here's a look at some of the most inaccessible places on the planet. 
Svalbard Global Seed Vault is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The World's Most Inaccessible Places
Photo: Martyn Smith/flickr/CC-BY 2.0

Strategically situated 800 miles from the North Pole on the Norwegian island of Svalbard is the Global Seed Vault, an imposing facility that houses more than 5,000 species of seeds (865,871 packets in January 2016) from around the world (including even plants native to North Korea). The vault is intended to be a back-up plan to re-seed the world in case of global devastation (think Waterworld, if you can stomach it).

How secure is it? Well, the facility itself is protected by an ice-covered steel door that requires only a simple key to enter, but getting to the remote Arctic island is a security measure in and of itself (not to mention scaling the mountain to get to the door). How safe is the treasure inside? The seeds themselves are strategically located so they would survive most missile blasts, earthquakes, or rising ocean water.
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Cheyenne Mountain Complex
Cheyenne Mountain Complex is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The World's Most Inaccessible Places
Photo: Airman Magazine/flickr/CC-BY-NC 2.0

Formerly the home of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), the Cheyenne Mountain Complex in Colorado Springs, CO, is a military installation and bunker built to withstand and deflect a 30 megaton nuclear explosion. Currently the complex is an "alternate" command center for the Air Force with a crew of 200 or so maintaining it.

In the event of a nuclear war, the facility is perhaps the most secure place to be in the Western Hemisphere, with a 1.5 million gallon reservoir of fresh water, a massive reservoir for fuel, filters to keep biological or nuclear contaminants from getting inside, and more. Good luck getting in, citizen!

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Federal Reserve Bank Gold Vault
Federal Reserve Bank Gold Vaul... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The World's Most Inaccessible Places
Photo: Public Domain / Federal Reserve/Wikimedia Commons


Here's what you're facing if you're the kind of cartoon super villain who wants to break into the New York City Federal Reserve Bank's gold vault: First, you have to deal with the building's security system and the armed Federal Reserve police force. Next up: steel-reinforced walls surround the vault, which is under 24-hour surveillance and protected by motion cameras.

Is that it? Not even close: a 90-ton steel cylinder, encased in a 140-ton steel-and-concrete frame and locked with four steel bars, protects the only entrance to the vault. Good luck!


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Area 51
Area 51 is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The World's Most Inaccessible Places
Photo:  X51/WikiMedia Commons/GNU Free Documentation License

Like Fort Knox, Area 51 is legendary as a government-owned impenetrable space (just swap conspiracies about UFOs for gold bullion). But the specifics of Area 51's security - what the public knows about them, at least - are staggering: deadly force is authorized against trespassers, and those loitering at the perimeter of the top secret military base report having their cameras confiscated by security teams (even while on public land).

Air space above the base is restricted, and on the ground, buried motion sensors help keep unwanted visitors at bay. Whatever's happening at Area 51, it's safe to say that the government does not want the public to know about it.


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