These are real places, but chances are that you can go there. Military surveillance, intelligence gathering and general all-round spy stuff — these are ten of the most highly top secret places in the world, some known and some rumoured, but none even remotely accessible to the general public. Some so secret that we could just barely publish this list.
There is a town in Russia, called Mezhgorye, which is barred to anyone, except for those believed to work at the highly secretive Mount Yamantaw site. Founded in 1979, the town is at the foot of the highest mountain in the Urals, where US satellites have recorded excavation projects on a huge scale. Inquiries about the nature of operations have been met by bland responses, such as it being a mine or a repository for Russian treasures, but nobody knows for sure.
The most popular rumor is that the Yamantau Mountain project was associated with the so-called ‘Dead Hand’ nuclear retaliatory command and control system for strategic missiles.
9. Vatican Secret Archives
The Vatican Secret Archives, located in Vatican City, is the central repository for all of the acts promulgated by the Holy See. The Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, having primal incumbency until death, owns the archives until the next appointed Papal successor. The archives also contain the state papers, correspondence, papal account books, and many other documents which the church has accumulated over the centuries.
In the 17th century, under the orders of Pope Paul V, the Secret Archives were separated from the Vatican Library, where scholars had some very limited access to them, and remained absolutely closed to outsiders until 1881, when Pope Leo XIII opened them to researchers, of whom now more than a thousand examine its documents each year.
The use of the word “secret” in the title “Vatican Secret Archives” does not denote the modern meaning of confidentiality. Instead, it indicates that the archives are the Pope’s personal property, not belonging to those of any particular department of the Roman Curia or the Holy See. The word “secret” was generally used in this sense as also reflected in phrases such as “secret servants”, “secret cupbearer”, “secret carver”, much like an esteemed position of honor and regard comparable to a VIP.
8. Club 33
Since 1967 Disney’s Exclusive Club 33, Walt Disney felt that he needed a special private place where he could entertain sponsors and other guests. And so he created a private club, the only place in the park where alcohol is served, housed in Disneyland’s New Orleans Square. Club 33 did not open until several months after Disney’s death. The club’s facilities were made available to the public through limited memberships, and Club 33 has operated unobtrusively in Disneyland’s New Orleans Square ever since.
And unless you have been inside, no member of the general public will know what goes on, because what happens in Club 33 stays in Club 33. But you can bet it is not just any Mickey Mouse outfit.
7. Moscow Metro-2
In the late 1940s Stalin had the tunnels built in the event of a nuclear war. This secondary underground metro system, known as Metro-2, runs parallel to the public Metro. The existence of this phantom system has never been confirmed, nor denied, by the FSB -Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation, or indeed the Moscow Metro administration themselves. Rumored to be much longer than the public Metro. consisting of four lines running between 50 and 200m below ground, it connects the Kremlin with the FSB headquarters, Vnukovo-2 government airport, plus underground town Ramenki, as well as other undisclosed locations.
6. White’s Gentlemen’s Club
White’s is the most exclusive English gentlemen’s club. It was founded in 1693 by Italian Francesco Bianco (Francis White) to sell the newly discovered hot chocolate but eventually became a typical (but extremely private) gentlemen’s club. The club is famous for its “betting book” in which members make bizarre gambles. The most famous of which is a 3,000 pound bet on which of two raindrops would slide down the window first. So why is this club on the list? Women are excluded completely from membership, so that is half our audience out. Secondly, men who want to join this exclusive club can only do so if invited by a sitting member who has the support of two other members. Unless you are a member of royalty, or are extremely powerful in politics or the arts, you are unlikely to ever see the exclusive White’s invitation.
5. Area 51
Area 51, a phrase well known around the world, is a military base at Groom Lake, Nevada, 83 miles from Las Vegas. The large, secretive, military airfield appears to be involved in the development, and testing of experimental aircraft, as well as advanced weapons systems research. So closely guarded is this place, and so well monitored, that it has been the subject of conspiracy and UFO theories for decades. Even the U.S. government only reluctantly admits to the existence of this place, and the fact that deadly force can, and has been used against people trying to get into the Area 51 zone, really does make you wonder.
4. Room 39
North Korea infamous for Room 39, sometimes called Bureau 39, one of the most secretive of the state’s organizations. The room is allegedly dedicated to seeking methods of obtaining foreign currency for North Korea’s leader. Established in the late 1970s this spot is rumoured to be the linchpin of the dynastic Kim family dealings, but Room 39 is such a secretive institution that none are sure exactly what goes on there.
Some say that ten to twenty international bank accounts are used for money laundering, drug smuggling and illicit weapon sales. This is done through over 100 foreign trade companies that it operates under the direct control of the ruling family, who obviously deny any illegal activities. Room 39 is believed to be inside a ruling Workers’ Party building in Pyongyang, the capital city of North Korea, but nobody knows for sure.
3. Ise Grand Shrine
The Ise Grand Shrine is one of the most sacred in Japan. Dedicated to Amaterasu, the Sun goddess, this place was built in 4 BC, and it is thought that the main shrine contains the single, most important item in Japanese imperial history, the Naik. This is the mirror, from Japanese mythology, which graced the hands of the first emperors of Japan. The shrine itself is demolished to enable rebuilding every 20 years, honoring Shinto ideas of death and rebirth.
The shrine is barred to anyone but the priest or priestess, who has to a member of the Japanese imperial family. Everyone else is kept away by very alert guards.
2. Mount Weather Emergency Operations Center
Just 46 miles from Washington DC, a mysterious and secretive underground military base exists, located deep inside a mountain near the rural town of Bluemont, Virginia.
This is the real deal, as in the disaster films, where some highly classified area has been prepared to accept the lucky few destined to survive. Mount Weather Emergency Operations Center was set up during the cold war in the 1950s, and operates today as a “last hope” area, though naturally highly classified.
Said to be equipped with all amenities of life. In the event of nuclear war, declaration of martial law, or other national emergency, the President, his cabinet and the rest of the Executive Branch would be “relocated” to Mount Weather.
1. RAF Menwith Hill
The global ECHELON spy network, much employed by US and British governments, is the reason why Royal Air Force station Menwith Hill exists.
Containing extensive satellite tracking ground systems, this communications intercept, and missile warning site, has been called the largest electronic monitoring station on earth. Ground station for satellites, of the US National Reconnaissance Office, serving the US National Security Agency, the station is famous for having antennae contained in highly distinctive white radomes.
Believed by some to be part of the ECHELON system, reportedly created for the purpose of monitoring military and diplomatic communications, from Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc allies, during the Cold War, and these days i believed to search also for terrorist plots, drug dealering information, as well as political and diplomatic intelligence.
Also believed to be involved filtering all telephone and radio communications in the western world, though not proven, this is an incredibly secretive and well guarded place that the public can never get into.