places/travel The World's Most Inaccessible Places  

Kellen Perry
449 votes 164 voters 11.2k views 15 items Embed

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.
see more on Svalbard Global Seed Vault
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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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Area 51

Area 51 is listed (or ranked) 3 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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Granite Mountain Records Vault

Granite Mountain Records Vault is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The World's Most Inaccessible Places
Photo:  Alexander Rose/The Long Now Foundation

Built by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1965, the Granite Mountain Records Vault is built 600 feet into a mountain in Little Cottonwood Canyon in Utah, just outside Salt Lake City. The public is not allowed inside, but the church says that they have nothing to hide: the vault just houses 3.5 billion (yes, billion) images and records important to the church (mainly for genealogical reasons). How important are these documents? The vault was designed to withstand a nuclear blast.