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19 of the most heavily guarded places on Earth (19 Photos)
Vatican Secret Archives
Despite the church’s attempt at openness, critics say the contents aren’t accessible enough since only qualified clergy and academics are allowed inside the facility, and even those granted entry cannot view items without advanced approval.Thus, the skeptics remain, with theories ranging from the cavern hiding gospels that contradict the Bible, to it housing the earliest known collection of pornography, and holding plans to control the world.
Fort Knox is home to the US Bullion Depository. It not only stores thousands of tons of gold, but, it is said to house important historical documents as well, such as the Declaration of Independence and the Magna Carte. If a bank robber was somehow able to get through the solid granite wall perimeter and past the squadrons of machine-gun wielding guards and armed military, they would still have to contend with a 22-ton vault blast door held shut by a lock so intricate that it requires a 10 person team to unlock.
Federal Reserve Bank in New York
Below the streets of Manhattan sits a vault so impenetrable that it’s entrusted with more U.S. gold bullion than the famous Fort Knox. Security is so tight that men aren’t allowed to enter the vault; pallets are moved around by a team of robots. The bank’s security systems are so trusted that even foreign governments use it for gold storage. And – as if that wasn’t enough – a Jason Bourne level protection force watch the perimeter; their shooting range scores are so good they’re better than marksmen.
This river makes up part of the boundary between Russia and North Korea and also snakes down into Chinese territory. Within a mile, you can go from North Korea, through China and end up in Russia, which makes this a good place for those wishing to defect. As such, it is generally well guarded by North Korean soldiers.
The Iranian Gold Reserve – Location Unknown
What makes the vault holding Iran’s gold reserve impenetrable is that nobody can say for sure where it is. One could assume the vault is either in the Imperial Treasury location or the Iran Central Bank, but you know what they say about assumptions. Iran secretly flew gold into the country from Europe in order to dodge “financial pressure” from the US and UK. Now that the reserves are back within Iranian borders, the location of their holding vault has been very elusive.
Bank of England gold vault
If Britain’s Prime Minister had a secret, he would want to keep it here. More than 4,600 tons of gold are safeguarded in what is the UK’s largest gold vault. A figure that’s second only to the Federal Reserve Vault. The walls are bombproof and the security system is so intricate that it involves voice recognition, 3 foot keys and other security measures that aren’t even published.
The Swiss Vaults
Crime thrillers usually have talk of a Swiss bank account. There’s a reason: Swiss banks are among the safest on the planet. The 3-key safety deposit box in particular has been used by the World’s most wealthy citizens for over 200 years.
The Mormon Church’s Secret Vaults
These secret vaults contain genealogical and historical records. Not only are they heavily guarded, but also, rumor has it that the records are even protected by temperature control as well as motion and heat sensors. Photos of the complex can be a challenge to come by.
Korean Demilitarized Zone
The Korean Demilitarized Zone is a strip of land dividing North and South Korea. It is one of the most heavily guarded borders in the world, stretching 160 miles in length and 2.5 miles in width. Because of the high defense surrounding the border, people rarely dare to cross it, and as such, it has become a nature preserve.
What do the charred remains of Flight 93, the original photo of Einstein sticking out his tongue, and Edison’s patent for the light bulb have in common? They’re all stowed under Iron Mountain. 200 feet below the ground, this retired limestone mine houses 1.7 million square feet worth of vaults. The US government is the biggest tenant, and the identities of 95% of vault owners are confidential. We do know that Warner Brothers, the Smithsonian Institution, and Corbis all have vaults there. Thousands of historic master recordings, photo negatives, and original film reels live here. Iron Mountain is also home to Room 48, a data center backing up some of America’s biggest companies. Two waves of armed guards protect the entrance, and it’s said they inspect guests so thoroughly that even the TSA would be embarrassed.
ADX Florence Prison
The Administrative Maximum Facility (ADX for short) is a supermax prison (for men) in Colorado housing the baddest of the bad. These criminals are considered the most dangerous cons in the US and has earned the prison the nickname of “Alcatraz of the Rockies.” Described by one former ADX warden as “a cleaner version of hell”, security measures at the prison include attack dogs guarding the area between the prison walls and 12 ft. high razor wire fences, 1,400 remotely controlled steel doors, motion detecting laser beams, pressure pads and cameras. Current residents include the ‘Shoe Bomber’ Richard Reid, Oklahoma City Bombing conspirator Terry Nichols and many others.
Bold Lane Car Park
You won’t have to worry much about car thieves when you leave your car parked here. This car park (or parking garage) in Derbyshire, England is one of the safest places in the world. You can’t get in unless you have a ticket indicating your exact parking spot. Then once your car is parked, it is protected by motion detectors and other alarms that will go off if someone messes with your car. If the alarm does go off, the whole place goes into lockdown mode.
The Cheyenne Mountain complex was, at one point, the command center for the North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Space Command missions. It is so well guarded that the tunnel is protected by solid granite and reinforced. NORAD has since moved its operations to another location. It is interesting to note that the Cheyenne Mountain Complex was also the home to the fictional Stargate Command on the popular TV show Stargate SG-1.
Air Force One
One of the most well built planes in the world and what many consider the world’s most secure moving location, Air Force One has plenty of security. The United States President travels in a modified Boeing 747-200B series aircraft. It has the world’s most advanced flight avoidance, air-to-air defense, and electronics technology packages available anywhere in the World, all for the protection of the Commander-in-Chief and his entourage.
This top secret air force base in Nevada is guarded so well that no one can get in, and even flying over it is forbidden. The area is covered in motion sensors and is heavily patrolled by all sorts of vehicles. It’s the home of anything pertaining to UFOs and alien conspiracies.
Haven Co was a data-protection company located in the North Sea off the coast of Britain. The only people ever allowed in were authorized personnel, investors, and members of Britain’s royal family. However, it allegedly shut down in 2008. Set into the middle of the North Sea, there was no way you were getting into this place. What data was stored here, and why did it suddenly go defunct without explanation?
Spread out across 6,500 acres, this exclusive resort lies deep within the forests of West Virginia. Underneath lies the real secret, however. Underneath lies a 25-ton nuclear blast door, with tunnels behind it which create a nuclear bunker that is filled with supplies for members of the U.S. Congress to weather out a nuclear attack.
The 1960’s Bar
Located 100 feet underground within Britain’s secret subterranean Burlington bunker complex in Wiltshire, England, the 1960’s Bar is a recreation of a pub popular with British Government officials. This top secret base was first constructed during the Cold War and designed to be a refuge for the higher-ups to reconstruct Britain in the event of a nuclear attack.
Doomsday Seed Vault
As its name suggests, the vault, officially known as the Svalbard International Seed Vault, is designed to store a wide assortment of seeds in an effort to preserve crop diversity and assure humans will have a source of food no matter what earthly disasters occur.The storage compound is located in Svalbard—one of the remotest places on the planet that’s still fairly accessible. Svalbard is a large, barren rock island in the Arctic Circle, and the vault is situated inside an old copper mine. As if the isolated landscape weren’t enough, the seed safe is defended with blast-proof doors, motion sensors, airlocks, and one meter thick steel reinforced concrete. Its unique climate and position should keep the seeds safe from any disaster, man-made or otherwise, for centuries.