The world's 10 best hiding places

Discover how humans safeguard their most valuable treasures in these highly secure destinations.

  (photo credit: REUTERS/STRINGER)
(photo credit: REUTERS/STRINGER)

Humans have always sought ingenious ways to protect their most precious assets. Across the globe, several places exemplify the lengths to which people go to secure their secrets.

Advanced technological sensors, impenetrable steel doors, armed security personnel, and isolated locations combine to make these destinations among the most fortified in the world, ensuring that their enigmatic contents remain hidden from prying eyes.

RAF Menwith Hill

Located in North Yorkshire, England, this base, belonging to Britain's Royal Air Force, may appear ordinary, but it is, in fact, one of the world's most secretive places. It serves as a communication and intelligence hub jointly operated by the United States and Great Britain. Due to its sensitive intelligence role, it remains tightly guarded, hidden from the public eye.

Bank of England Gold Vault

While the United Kingdom offers numerous attractions, a visit to the Bank of England gold vault isn't on the list (although it would be fascinating, if possible). Holding over 400,000 gold bars, the Bank of England boasts the largest gold reserves in the UK and one of the largest worldwide. Its vault is secured by a voice recognition locking system, explosion-proof doors, and keys the size of meters. Additional undisclosed security measures further safeguard the vault's contents.

Tumen River

Serving as a border between North Korea, China, and Russia, the Tumen River marks a one-square-kilometer no-go area, granting access to all three countries. Armed military guards patrol the area around the clock to prevent defectors from escaping North Korea, where no living creature has successfully crossed the border via the shallow river.

Credit: REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
Credit: REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Granite Mountain's Secret Vault

Located in a remote Utah canyon, this secure facility houses all historical information and documents vital to the Church of the Latter-day Saints. Armed guards maintain constant vigilance, aided by advanced technology like motion sensors, temperature control, and heat sensors.

Federal Reserve Bank of New York

This bank may seem like any other grand financial institution, but its central vault lies five stories underground, holding over 490,000 gold bars. Armed security personnel, extensively trained over years, stand guard to thwart any potential breach.

Credit: REUTERS/Keith Bedford
Credit: REUTERS/Keith Bedford

The Depths of Iron Mountain

Once a limestone mining site in Massachusetts, this mountain now houses critical records from around the world. Covering an area of 550 square kilometers, it serves over 2,300 companies. The underground vault safeguards invaluable information through advanced security measures.

The Doomsday Seed Vault

Situated in the Svalbard, this renowned vault stores seeds of various plants to ensure food production in the event of global disaster or plant extinction. Access is strictly controlled, with advanced security including guards, motion sensors, and reinforced concrete walls.

Credit: Reuters
Credit: Reuters

Vatican Secrets Archive

Hidden from public view in Rome, the Vatican's secret archives hold ancient documents, forms, and notebooks belonging to the Catholic Church. Only the highest-ranking Vatican clerics and the Pope possess access to these enigmatic archives, fueling numerous conspiracy theories.

Area 51

No list of secretive places would be complete without mentioning Area 51, part of the Edwards Air Force Base in Nevada. Primarily a testing and development site for aerospace vehicles, it has garnered notoriety due to its association with UFO stories. Security here is rigorous, featuring advanced motion sensors and round-the-clock patrols by armed guards. Access is restricted to select senior officials, American soldiers, and limited government personnel.

Fort Knox

This military base in Kentucky stands apart due to its storage of thousands of tons of gold and classified documents belonging to the United States Army. An impregnable entrance, a 22-ton main "door," an abundance of security cameras, and armed military personnel in every corner ensure its formidable protection.