Text by Florentina Welley
Not all secret places are places that people yearn to visit. But «an enchantment dwells within every beginning» and that is what drives Harry Haller to open a secret door in the wall in Hermann Hesse’s «Steppenwolf» – a door that then disappears at that very moment.
Some places are right in front of our eyes but we don’t see them Others appear unreachable and remain that way for most – and that is a good thing.
Because they all tell stories that fascinate and inspire our fantasy.
ACCESS ONLY FOR THE SECURITY PERSONNEL:
Global Seed Vault, Spitzbergen, Norway
The name conceals a Global Crop Diversity Trust. The future of the world is located on the island of Spitzbergen belonging to the Svalbard island group – in the form of 850,000 types of plant seeds. But the Noah’s Ark in the Arctic region is threatening to thaw due to climate change. Only the security personnel can gain access.
VISIT ON REQUEST:
Objekt 6, Stiftskaserne Military Barracks, Vienna 7
Grown over with ivy in an almost romantic manner, the enormous former flak tower, which is not particularly noteworthy from the outside, houses a government crisis room, its own television studio which can broadcast in case of emergency and emergency accommodation. In Objekt 6, the mining law prevails – the important rooms face up. Behind 3.5 metres of thick concrete walls, there are 400 workstations that you are allowed to visit on request.
Mount Weather Emergency Operations Center, Virginia, USA
If the end of the world is nigh, the American elite have taken care of their retreat. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) operates this secret facility, which looks like a small village from above. In case of a nuclear war, the elite will be evacuated and protected in the nuclear shelter. Access is impossible! Wire fencing and security personnel.
ACCESS ONLY FOR EMPLOYEES:
Royal Air Force Menwith Hill, North Yorkshire, England
This military base is said to be the headquarters of ECHELON, the spy network of the USA, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. In 1954, the base was set up to spy on the Soviet’s communication during the Cold War – the world is still listened in on from here today. Only employees of ECHELON and NSA have access here.
ACCESS TO THE BEACH ONLY:
Anyone who loves the films of Andrei Tarkovsky should make a pilgrimage to Varosha. But you can only get as far as the beach. Behind the fence in front of the restricted military zone in Famagusta, a fantastic ghost town stretches out as far as the eye can see. Since 1974, the former tourist stronghold has been off-limits – and is said to have been retained almost as collateral to solve the Cyprus issue ever since.
ACCESS WITH INVITATION ONLY:
Ni’ihau, Hawaii, USA
Sold to plantation owners in 1863, practically no one else has been able to set foot on the small island since 1915. Only those who get an invitation from an islander are allowed to visit Ni’ihau. The official reason: The language, a Hawaiian dialect, culture, flora and fauna must be preserved in their origins.
Jewish Cemetery, Seegasse, Vienna 9
Is it a coincidence that the view from a retirement home falls onto the oldest cemetery in Vienna? No, as the Jewish cemetery from the 16th century is located in the 2,000 m2 grounds of the retirement home, where a Jewish infirmary once stood. In 1984, the cemetery was reconstructed after it had been destroyed in the Nazi era. Secret access through the retirement home.
ENTRY ONLY FOR AUTHORISED PERSONNEL:
Area 51, Nevada, USA
UFO crashes? Alien abductions? Area 51 in Nevada is one of the most secret places in the world if you believe that the United States Air Force and American Department of Defense store UFOs and land secret jets here in the military exclusion zone. Entry only for authorised personnel – illegal routes in are perilous.
ACCESS WITH WRITTEN REQUEST ONLY:
Vatican Library, Rome, Italy
Legends surround this secret library and many an Illuminati film has been shot here. But only those who submit a written request or a letter of recommendation in advance have the chance to enter the secret archive of the Pope to look at the 1,200 year old documents. If you were to put the files about the Order of the Temple, Marie Antoinette and the rest end to end, you would have a snake of books that was 85 kilometres long. In 2020, the last, as yet unopened, part of the archive about Pius XII (1939 to 1958) is meant to be opened.
Pharmaceutical & Chemist Museum, Vienna 9
The small rooms on the first floor exude a flair of Sigmund Freud. There is even a «Resorbiteur», a strange powder puff which was used for contraception around 1900, here in the glass cabinet. As well as herbarium specimens, dragon’s blood and mummies dust, an Egyptian mummy’s head is also stored here. Collected previously for research purposes, over 10,000 exhibits now wait to be discovered. Almost unnoticed in the centre of Vienna, Währinger Straße 14, Wien 9
Mag. Florentina Welley
mainly writes about her favourite subjects for the KURIER Freizeit: Fashion and travel mixed with a pinch of lifestyle in the web 2.0 era and social responsibility.