What if we tell you that there are still places in this world where you simply CAN NOT go? You would probably brush it off as a joke, right? After all, with globalisation, advanced technology, and better transport, mankind can travel to any part of this world and beyond. While we are making plans on colonising Mars, how hard could it be to explore each and every part of this planet?
Well, think again! Or rather read about these six places on Earth that are completely off-limits for visitors. While most of these areas are home to military bases, protected areas, others have been forbidden to the public on the grounds that they are ‘legally haunted’!
About 40 kilometres off the shore of Brazil, there lies a beautiful island. It has tropical weather and rainforests. Clear water surrounded the island, but no humans would ever dare to tread here. This mysterious island is Ilha da Queimada Grande, famously known as ‘Snake Island’. Legend has it that the last fisherman who strayed too close to the island couldn’t come back alive. The reason was the Golden Lancehead, one of the deadliest vipers on Earth. The island is infested with thousands upon thousands of venomous Golden Lanceheads who have been living and populating on the island for years.
Why is the island forbidden? The reason is simple. Most people prefer sand on their feet while on a holiday and not poisonous slithering snakes. The snake population has grown rapidly over the years because, unfortunately, there are no known predators of the Lanceheads.
Throughout the year, New York welcomes millions of tourists to visit every corner of the city – except for one!
Access is strictly prohibited to North Brother Island and the smaller South Brother Island that sits near the tidal strait known as Hell Gate. The area was once a dangerous whirlpool that wrecked hundreds of ships and often deposited the debris on the island’s quiet shore.
Why is the island forbidden? In the 1880s, the island was the home of the famous Riverside Hospital. In those days, the hospital was a quarantine place for New Yorkers with smallpox, tuberculosis, and many more deadly illnesses. One of the famous patients of this hospital was Mary Mallon (nicknamed ‘Typhoid Mary’) was a cook and is believed to have infected 53 people with typhoid fever. She was forced to quarantine twice in this hospital where she spent roughly 30 years.
The hospital is long gone now but what remains is the ruins peeking out from the canopy of trees. The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation has converted the abandoned place into a bird sanctuary and shut it permanently for common people.
The Lascaux caves are a treasure trove for archaeologists around the world. The caves hold some of the loveliest prehistoric paintings in human existence dating as far back as 17,000 years! Interestingly, these paintings were accidentally discovered by an 18-year-old named Marcel Ravidat in 1940, who got lost in the caves while exploring. In 1948, the caves were briefly opened as public galleries, allowing visitors to observe wall sections including the Hall of the Bulls, The Passageway, The Shaft, The Nave, The Apse, and the Chamber of Felines.
What led the authorities to shut the caves for visitors? It turned out to be a costly affair as the carbon dioxide, heat, and humidity, produced by 1,200 daily visitors, started damaging these 600 wall paintings. Ergo, in 1963, Lascaux was completely shut for the public while the paintings were fully restored.
Deep in the icy mountains on an island above the Arctic Circle, between Norway and the North Pole, lies an important resource for the future of human beings. It is neither coal nor crude oil, but seeds. The Doomsday Vault is a huge seed bank that houses more than 930,000 varieties of food crops. It is more like a safe deposit box, to safeguard agricultural biodiversity in case of an apocalypse or worldwide crisis. From every little corner all around the world, big boxes of seeds are delivered to the Doomsday Vault for storing them long-term.
Is it forbidden to visit the Doomsday Vault? Yes, the vault is only open to special guests on specific days.
Imagine a place for which you cannot buy a visiting ticket but needs to be invited by its inhabitants? Yes, that’s Niihau, the mysterious Hawaiian Island. Stretching only about 28 kilometres with roughly 200 odd inhabitants, the island has been privately owned since 1864 by Elizabeth Sinclair. Her descendants, the Robinson brothers, Bruce and Keith, continue to own it.
Since Sinclair’s time, not much has changed on the island. That means the island has no paved roads, no modern transport system, no commercial buildings, and definitely no modern-day comforts!
So how can you gain access to this island? The only way to visit the island is to be a part of the US Navy or be friends with the Robinsons!
By now we must agree that no matter how curious people get, there are certain places we can’t set foot in. Even if the place evolved just 58 years ago!
Surtsey is a tiny island situated off the southern coast of Iceland. The island was created as a consequence of a series of volcanic eruptions that lasted for four years! This surely is a unique opportunity for scientists to observe the birth and evolution of an ecosystem from scratch. This is also precisely why the island is a no-go for all tourists.
Why is the newly formed island forbidden? Bacteria, fungi, and moulds were the first to arrive on the island, followed by all sorts of birds and invertebrates. But only a few scientists and geologists can explore the island. This is for the safekeeping of the island’s infantile ecosystem. The island is so well protected that before entering the island, every scientist is carefully checked so they won’t carry any foreign seeds on them that might accidentally alter the development of the island’s ecosystem.
Did you enjoy reading this article? Do you know any other such places around the world that are forbidden for visitors? Tell us in the comments below.
Books are Tanaya Goswami’s first love and cheesecakes come a close second. Talking about movies, music, calligraphy, politics, and Elon Musk will get you listed under the friends’ section of her diary. Ever since moving on from her job as an English lecturer, she spends her time at BYJU’S crafting stories filled with emotion and sprinkled with sarcasm. Outside of work, she’s either learning something new (French, most recently!) or is curled up with a book and a cup of coffee. She firmly believes that discovering what you don’t know is the key to knowledge and is constantly working towards improving herself. Drop in a line at [email protected] if you liked her stories, have something nice to say, or if you have compelling ideas to share!
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