From a mountainous enclave hiding nuclear weapons to a town sprawling with genetically mutated creatures, across the globe are places that are off limits to ordinary folks like you or me. You may be curious as to what lurks beyond the boundaries. Today, we’ll be taking you on a tour inside four of the most secret places on Earth.
Perhaps all of North Korea could go on a “secret places” list. It goes without saying that the country is notorious for its governmental corruption, and the existence of Room 39 only further highlights the evils of the Kim regime. Despite the country masquerading as a “communist” utopia, the majority of its citizens live in poverty. There also exists a clear divide between the upper and lower classes, the wealthy being afforded access to quality healthcare, while the poor’s illnesses are often left untreated.
The topic of class division brings us to Room 39, a top-secret government organization directly controlled by the Kim family. To outsiders, it is still quite elusive, even the origins of its name being unknown. However, what we do know is that the goal of Room 39 is to seek illegal ways to obtain foreign currencies, essentially keeping North Korean elites living in luxury. It is rumored that the organization uses a plethora of secret bank accounts in China and Switzerland for the purposes of money laundering. Beyond this, the organization is supposedly involved in human and drug trafficking, even encouraging the production of methamphetamine to be sold abroad.
Aside from North Korean elites, no one has ever stepped foot inside Room 39, though we do know that it is located in the Workers’ Party building in Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital city.
Of all the secret places on this list, Chernobyl is without a doubt the most dangerous. Located in the province of Kyiv Oblast, Ukraine, it is a city that was abandoned after experiencing the worst nuclear disaster in history. In April of 1986, one of the reactors of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant exploded, spewing radioactive material into the atmosphere. While the true death and illness tolls are unknown, it is thought that approximately 50 people died due to the disaster, and over 6,000 children and adolescents developed thyroid cancer. The city was evacuated shortly after the explosion.
One of the most interesting results of the Chernobyl Disaster is the effect it had on the surrounding nature. If you were to explore Chernobyl today, you would likely see genetically mutated, nightmarish-looking plants and animals. (Think two-headed cows and six-legged sheep.)
If you’re planning on visiting Chernobyl, we have bad news: today, the zone surrounding the disaster remains off limits to anyone without a permit. It is primarily occupied by scientists researching the effects of nuclear activity on nature.
Located in the Ural mountain range in west-central Russia, Mount Yamantau stands at a colossal 5,380 feet. In the local Bashkir language, Yamantau refers to “evil mountain,” and you will soon see why that’s a fitting description; it is believed that hidden deep within the mountain is a massive stock of nuclear weaponry. Much of this speculation comes from observations made by U.S. spy satellites.
South of the mountain is a town called Mezhgorye, which is permanently closed to the outside world. It is speculated that the town is occupied solely by scientists whose aim is to develop nuclear weaponry. Adding more fuel to the flame of suspicion, Russia has never given a straight answer as to what the mountain and its neighboring town are hiding: over the years, they’ve claimed that Yamantau is a mining site, a food storage facility, and a bomb shelter for its leaders.
With all our talk of nuclear weaponry and radiation accidents, we thought we’d end this list on a happy note. In fact, Club 33 can be found at the so-called happiest place on Earth: Disneyland in Anaheim, California. Club 33 is a member’s only club and fine-dining restaurant located in the New Orleans Square section of the theme park; it is the only place in the park where one can legally drink alcohol.
However, becoming a member of Club 33 is an arduous process. First, you’ll need $33,000 as a down payment. Second, you’ll need to pay an annual fee of $15,000. Third, you’ll need lots of patience; the club is limited to 147 members, and there is a roughly 14-year waitlist.
The club has been frequented by billionaires, celebrities, and politicians. At the end of the day, however, it is simply a luxuriously decorated club and restaurant that is probably not worth the time and price required to enter. Still, you will always catch curious folks standing outside Club 33, hoping to sneak a peek of what’s inside.
Do you know of any other secret places that we missed? Let us know in the comments below!