The world has many treasures. Some lay deep under the sea; some are buried under the earth. But, there are those places that actually hold some of the most treasured, antique, and controversial items, and sometimes, even the most dangerous people, that require the strictest security. We may have read about such places in a novel or seen the heroic act of someone breaking into them in the movies, but there are a few places where it is impossible to get to. They have taken the meaning of security to the next level. Let’s look at some of those most heavily guarded and secured places on Earth today.
1. Area 51, the United States Air Force facility in Nevada, is one of the most heavily guarded places. The base is so well secured that no layman can get in. Even flying over it is forbidden. Its primary purpose is still unknown to the public.
The primary purpose of the base is publicly unknown, but evidence shows that it may be used for the development and testing of experimental aircraft and weapon systems deemed top secret. The area is patrolled by guards and surveilled by CCTV cameras and motion detectors. Also, signages warning trespassers that deadly force will be authorized surround the base’s perimeter. During a litigation, a Presidential Determination was issued by President Bill Clinton that exempted Area 51 from environmental disclosure laws to safeguard their secret work. Also, it has been a part of many conspiracy theories including the unidentified flying objects (UFO) myth.(source)
2. Fort Knox in Kentucky is an army post housing the US Bullion Depository which stores most of the country’s gold It also once held the Magna Carta and the Declaration of Independence. A host of 30,000 troops, 300 tanks, and attack helicopters protect the site. The structure is fireproof and the door weighs 20 tons.
The vault is believed to hold around 5,000 tons of gold bullion, the Crown Jewels, the Magna Carta, and other important federal documents. It has the highest level of security The structure is built with thick granite lined with cement, steel, and a fireproof material able to withstand a nuclear attack. The door weighs 20 tons and requires a combination code from several staff members that are changed many times daily to open. The area is protected by electric fences, sentinel stations with armed men, heavy military back-up, and attack helicopters. However, not all is known about its security systems since much of it is still a secret unrevealed by the US army. (source)
3. The Deltalis Data Center in Switzerland is a 10,000-square-foot data center. It has an anti-nuclear steel door, an electronic system to keep hackers away, and can protect information through earthquakes and nuclear attacks. The Xapo, a bitcoin wallet, has the highest security there.
The Deltalis RadixCloud data center uses the underground bunkers built during World War II. Now, the 10,000-square-foot data center is buried 500 feet on the Swiss Alps inside Granite Mountain. To gain access, you have to go through a biometric scan, a man trap, a hyper-security portal, and through anti-nuclear steel doors that weigh 30 tons. It has racks of data storage systems, and secure, electronic systems that can protect the data from power-cuts, hackers, earthquake, and even terrorist attacks. Within it, Xapo company data is the most secured stored in a cold room, where no one can enter, not even through the Internet. It is surrounded with steel slabs to ensure that the electromagnetic pulse does not wipe out the encrypted data on the hardware. (source)
4. The Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) is a strip serving as a buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea. The area is completely off-limits to the public, is fortified by both sides with tens of thousands of landmines, razor and electric fences, tanks, and thousands of armed soldiers.
It was created at the end of the Korean War in 1953 by the United Nation. The 160-mile-long and 2.5-mile-wide DMZ is still covered with landmines, electric fences, tall walls, and more than 100 guard posts with 1.000 armed troops on both sides. The Joint Security Area is the meeting point to hold discussions and negotiations. About two million troops have been deployed from both sides. It is known that North Korea has 1.17 million soldiers and more than 10,000 artillery pieces to face-off against South Korea who only have 690,000 troops. (source)
5. The Vatican Secret Archives is a central repository for all of the acts published by the Holy See. The 50 miles of shelving can be accessed only by qualified clergy and scholars and not all material is available to the public, creating a sense of mystery.
Here, “secret” means “private,” as the Pope is the sole owner of the archives until his death or resignation. The miles of shelves hold parchments, rare Bible texts, state papers, correspondence, papal books of accounts, and other documents that the church has accumulated over the centuries. Only qualified clergy and scholars with microchip tracking device ID cards are allowed inside. An introductory letter from a recognized institute or qualified person in historical research is required. One has to pass through the Swiss guards to access the archives. Still, not all materials are available to the public, like no documents dated after 1939 are accessible, and the section dedicated to the personal affairs of cardinals from 1922 onwards are off-limits. (source)
6. The ADX Florence Prison is a supermax prison in Fremont, Colorado housing the most dangerous of male convicts including those involved in the September 11 attacks. They have a multitude of motion detectors, Z-units, and 1,400 remote-controlled steel doors with an immediate lockdown capability.
Also known as the “Alcatraz of the Rockies,” this prison is for male inmates who require the highest level of security. It is spread over a thirty-seven-acre area which has motion detectors, 24-hour monitoring, and the capability to activate a “panic button” that will lead to an immediate lockdown. It is surrounded by 12-foot-tall razor wire fences and pressure pads. The Z-Unit includes a full set of body restraints that is built into the beds. The furniture is made of poured concrete. Many are serving life sentences who have been a part of national terror activities such as September 11, US Embassy bombings, and the Boston Marathon bombing. (source)
7. Iron Mountain in Boston is a high-security storage facility maintaining records, people property, and information for more than 220,000 customers across the globe. The vaults are protected by armed men, temperature controlled systems, and industrial-strength dehumidifiers.
It was founded in 1951 as an information management services company. Once a missile storage space built underground during World War II, today it is a high-security storage facility for the most demanding clients that stores vital records, objects, and secrets. Data center areas are protected using mantraps, biometric access, CCTV cameras, and security officers. It contains 1.7 million square feet of vaults that are surrounded by natural limestone and the temperature is controlled with industrial-strength, dehumidifiers that help to dry out the dampness. Some of the notable valuables include the wills of Princess Diana, Charles Dickens, and Charles Darwin, and original recordings of Frank Sinatra. (source)
8. The Cheyenne Mountain Complex was an underground city built as a command center for the North American Aerospace Defense. The bunker was built to deflect a 30-megaton nuclear explosion, and the buildings can survive any natural disaster.
Formerly, the complex was used as a defense bunker and monitored the airspace for the United States and Canada. It is built under 2,000 feet of granite, and the fifteen-story buildings within can absorb the shock of a blast or any natural disaster because of the giant springs on which they stand. The more than 1,000 springs help to prevent any of the buildings from shifting less than an inch. It has inbuilt, 25-ton blast doors and a network of unique filters to keep out any chemical or nuclear contamination. It was the only high-altitude defense facility to be able to withstand an attack by an electromagnetic pulse. Today, it is used for training the flight crew and as a backup center. (source)
9. Svalbard International Seed Vault is a unique facility in the Arctic preserving 930,000 varieties of seeds. It has three refrigerated chambers with airlocks at both ends and five levels of locked doors to access the seeds, keeping them safe for centuries to come.
It is also called the “Doomsday Vault” when constructed in 2008 with a mission to act as a backup storage unit to maintain the seed diversity in the world’s gene banks. The seeds are stored 390 feet inside an icy mountain on Spitsbergen Island with robust security systems. It has a 400-foot long tunnel with airlocks at both ends leading to three refrigerated chambers of which only one is in use today. A thick layer of ice covers the door indicating the subzero temperatures inside. The seeds are placed in vacuum-packed silver packets and test tubes in large boxes. It has five levels of locked doors between the entrance and the seeds. (source)
10. The Bold Lane Car Park in England harbored anti-social activities which lead to its high surveillance. Access is allowed only using a unique barcoded ticket indicating the exact parking spot. It is protected with motion detectors, alarms with total lockdown mode, and 190 CCTV cameras across the entire structure.
The Derby city council in association with Parksafe Systems designed the parking lot that eventually made its way to being the most secure parking lot in the world. Each car is assigned a barcoded ticket which is linked to a specific parking space. It uses motion sensors on the ground beneath the car to ensure that if the parked car moves even a little when it should be still, there will be a lockdown. It has a sophisticated surveillance system including CCTV cameras, a “panic button,” a computerized map of the building, and an operator. (source)
11. The Mormon Church Secret Vaults is located under 700 feet of solid mountain stone in Utah. It preserves 2.4 million rolls of microfilm having 3.5 billion images of family history records. The doors to the vault weigh about fourteen tons and are able to withstand a nuclear blast.
It is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) and is excavated 600 feet north of Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah. The main function of the vault is the storage, preservation, and reproduction of genealogical records. It provides a dry, environment-controlled facility, and a restoration laboratory for microfilm. It is spread over 65,000 square feet having three long tunnels and four cross-tunnels inside. Steel and concrete line the tunnels with banks of metal storage cabinets reaching 10 feet high. Two major advantages of this vault are its protected environment that can withstand an intruder, earthquake, fire, and any disaster, and its ability to act as a stable, storage environment. It also stores a myriad of church materials. Public entry is restricted