On the vast surface of this Earth, it is safe to say, there are many places unexplored by mankind. There are, however, places and things that have been explored and are known to man but at present time restricted to the general public for viewing unless it is for academic purposes (only in some places). Curiosity has been known to kill the cat but these places are safely nestled away from prying eyes. Attention to all inquisitive minds, this is a list of places that are closed off to people for access but definitely spark the curiosity.

Lascaux Caves, France

The Lascaux Caves, known to house some of the best well-known Upper Paleolithic Art, is situated near the village of Montignac in Dordogne. The paintings are approximately 17,300 years old according to estimation. They are largely paintings of animals that were said to have lived in the region during that time (based on fossils collected in the area). Lascaux was included in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1979 alongwith other historical sites in the surrounding area of the Vezere Valley.
Lascaux has been closed to the public since 1963 because the carbon dioxide produced by visitors were damaging the paintings. Currently, however, they are dealing with the problem of fungus which could be attributed to the air conditioning system, the high-powered lighting or the presence of still too many visitors. Therefore, at the moment, only one person is allowed inside, to check the conditions, every week for 20 minutes.

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Vatican Secret Archives, Vatican City

The Vatican's Secret Archives, in the Vatican city, is located near the Vatican Library. They comprise of various documentations of the church and many more stores of knowledge pertaining to the church. Pope Paul V in the 17th century divided the Vatican Library from the Archives keeping it closed to outsiders, save for limited access to scholars, untill the 18th Century when they were opened to researchers by Pope Lepo XIII.
The ownership of the archives is in the hands of the pope and remains so untill the next one is appointed. They're not exactly secret archives but more belong to the pope and special permission in the form of an application needs to be handed in to be able to access them. The archives have 84 km of shelving in only the selective category and the indexes must be checked in the Index Room and restored to their original place after use. Publication of the archives in any form is prohibited.

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The Jiangsu National Security Education Museum, China

Stories of espionage have plagued the general population for a long time with no real proof of activity but in China there is a museum dedicated to it which holds records and gizmos from the founding of the Communist Party's Central Committee espionage department to the 1980s. Rules for entry certify that you have to be a Chinese national because the government doesn't want any foreigners having access to the spying tactics of China. You can find a crazy collection of gadgets here used in espionage like miniature cameras, guns cloaked as lipstick, maps concealed in decks of cards and much more. Photography is forbidden in the museum even by Chinese nationals.


Niihau, Hawaii

Niihau, the 7th largest inhabited island of Hawaii, was bought by a Scottish homemaker in 1864 from the Kingdom of Hawaii and was passed on to her heirs. This island has no paved roads or stores, restaurants, electricity and indoor plumbing but has the only entirely solar-powered school in the country.
The island was shut off to public to conserve the native wildlife and culture. Even local inhabitants or natives need special permission for their relatives to visit. The island actually has the nickname "The Forbidden Isle".




Pine Gap, Australia

Pine Gap is a satellite tracking station managed by the governments of both Australia and the United States. The place has about 800 employees and is located in Central Australia, southwest of Alice Springs.
The location is key due to the fact that it controls America's spy satellites that go over areas like Russia, China and the Middle-Eastern Oil Fields. The destination was meant as a strategic move to avoid detection(interception of signals) by spy ships passing.

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The Negev Nuclear Research Center, Israel

Located on the Southeast of Dimona, the Negev Nuclear Research Center, as the name suggests is a Nuclear facility that is highly classified. While Israel accepts the place exists, the purpose of the place is ambiguous. There has been a lot of speculation surrounding the place for a long time and the place has had strong defences protecting it from any kind of destruction as much as possible. After much debate about the safety of the reactor, estimated to have been able to produce 100 to 200 nuclear bombs by the year 2000, it was shut down in 2012. The reason cited for this was that the government feared it sensitive to attack from Iran.



Ise Grand Shrine, Japan

A Shinto shrine dedicated to goddess Amaterasu-┼Źmikami, the Ise Grand Shrine, comprises of two main shrines and close to 125 more. The site is only accessible to the priest or priestess who is chosen from the Japanese Imperial family. An interesting part about the place is that every 20 years the two main buildings - Naiku (Inner Shrine) and Geku (Outer Shrine) - in the Ise Jingu Shrine are rebuilt as a practice of passing on age-old building ways from one generation to another. Another reason for this practice is the Shinto belief of the shortness of life and the revival that happens in death. The blueprints that are used to rebuild the place are almost 1,000 years old.

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Poveglia, Italy

A small island situated between Venice and Lido, Poveglia, became the island of the damned. In the 13th century, all inhabitants were moved due to foreign attack, at which time a fortification called the Octagon was built on the island that is still visible. The island remained uninhabited untill the 17th century when it became a check point for things going to and from Venice. The island was quarantined when some ships brought in the plague and then became a dumping group for the diseased and deceased.
In the 19th century there buildings were converted into an asylum but was closed in 1968 and remained uninhabited again untill recently when there was an attempt to restore the place but construction was stopped mid-way without reason. The place is said to be haunted by the ghosts of the plague victims and a doctor who apparently abused and mutilated his insane victims.






Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion, Ethiopia

Known to house the original Ark of the Covenant, The Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion, is said to be closed off to everybody except one monk who can enter the temple. This is due to the sacred nature of the Ark of the Covenant, because of which nobody else is allowed to lay eyes on it.

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Metro-2, Russia

Metro-2 is the name given to a secret underground metro system, supposedly started during the time of Joseph Stalin, that exceeds the public metro. The legend is said to be perpetuated and started by people who have claimed to help build the place. However, all the information is disparaged due to there being no pictures or documentation to support the theory. The metro is said to connect places of national importance and managed by the Main Directorate of Special Programs and the Ministry of Defense.


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