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Top 10 Most Heavily Guarded Places in the World

VO: Rebecca Brayton

Script written by George Pacheco.

Ever wonder why some of the most secure locations on Earth are also some of the most mysterious places on Earth? Whether they’re supposedly concealing the existence of aliens at Area 51, protecting the President at the White House or setting up a failsafe in case of a global catastrophe at the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, there are many locations that can be considered the safest places in the world. WatchMojo counts down ten of secured spots on the planet.

Special thanks to our user Daniel Fong for suggesting this idea! Check out the voting page at http://WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top%2010%20most%20guarded%20places%20in%20the%20world


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Script written by George Pacheco.

Top 10 Most Heavily Guarded Places in the World

Don’t even think about trying to break into these spots. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Most Guarded Places on Earth.

For this list, we’ll be ranking the most heavily guarded and secured spots in the world. We’ll be excluding prisons, however, as these places are purposely designed to keep certain people in and the rest of the world out.

#10: Cheyenne Mountain Complex

Formidable granite walls house the Cheyenne Mountain Complex, located on the grounds of the Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The Complex has housed a number of government organizations over the years, and was previously the home of the US-Canadian aerospace protection project NORAD and the military organization United States Northern Command until the mid-2000s. In fact, the NORAD/USNORTHCOM Alternate Command Center continues to operate out of the Complex, which is built under 2000 feet of solid granite. As if that’s not enough to thwart unwanted visitors, the blast doors are 25-tons and can withstand nuclear explosions of over thirty megatons. In other words... it’s pretty freakin’ safe.

#9: Bold Lane Car Park

If you think that a parking garage doesn’t deserve to be on our list of most guarded places, you haven’t heard of Bold Lane Car Park. Built in the 1970s, this car park in Derby, England had developed a reputation as a haven for crime, drug abuse and panhandling by the 1990s. It was in response to these accusations that local security experts decided to rebrand Bold Lane as a state of the art car park. Barcoded tickets are needed to get in and out, while all cars are monitored by motion cameras and alarms that lock down the entire complex, should even one of them be disturbed.

#8: Granite Mountain Records Vault

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints owns a humungous archive of records and history, all housed hundreds of feet inside Granite Mountain in Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah. The Granite Mountain Records Vault possesses a climate-controlled atmosphere, designed to preserve all of the sensitive paper documents and microfilm detailing years and years of genealogical information. Its protection is pretty much guaranteed by its location beneath 600 feet of stone. But if that’s not enough, there are a series of doors weighing between nine and fourteen tons as well. And yes, they’re designed to survive a nuclear blast. Should that ever occur.

#7: Tumen River

Just as the Korean Demilitarized Zone tightly guards its small border area between North and South Korea, so too does the Tumen River serve as an intensely scrutinized gateway between China, North Korea and Russia. The reason for the heightened security along the Tumen River is due to the fact that many North Koreans have been caught attempting to enter China through the river’s rather shallow waters. There are border patrol guards placed by all three countries along the Tumen, while the river waters themselves also happen to be highly polluted. This fact goes ignored, however, by the desperate few who watch and wait for a perfect opportunity to make it across.

#6: Svalbard Global Seed Vault

Have you ever wondered whether or not there’s a failsafe set in place, should a worldwide famine or humanitarian disaster occur? If so, then count your lucky stars for the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. The purpose of this vault is to house spare samples of seeds, for the purpose of growing food, should the need arise. Svalbard is located on the remote Norwegian island of Spitsbergen, and is protected by airlocks, motion sensors and blast-resistant doors. It’s built high above sea level, so rising sea levels won’t impact it, and there’s no known tectonic activity in the area. All of these security measures are designed to protect the precious, environmentally controlled cargo within its walls.

#5: Federal Reserve Bank of New York

There are twelve Federal Reserve Banks located within the United States, all of which feature some of the most heightened levels of security. The New York branch of the Federal Reserve is considered to be “first among equals” with regards to its contemporaries, and oversees financial policies and payment systems for the United States. Robotics are utilized within the Reserve’s vaults, while the outside security force is expertly trained in both hand to hand combat, as well as sharpshooting. Oh, and it’s located 80 feet underground. Nothing goes in or out of the Federal Reserve without prior knowledge and proper authority.

#4: Vatican Secret Archives

If conspiracy theories or Dan Brown novels have taught us anything, it’s that Vatican City holds more than its fair share of secrets. Much of this information is housed within the Vatican Secret Archives, a storage facility that maintains a veritable cornucopia of forms, ledgers, and official documents from the Catholic Church. These archives are set apart from the Vatican Library, and its ownership is passed down from Pope to Pope. Access to the archives was once completely forbidden to the public, but is now open to researchers who can apply for special permission to enter and study its contents. However, according to the Catholic website Crux, “journalists, students and amateur historians aren’t welcome.” Plus, those scholars with the proper credentials that are admitted must first pass Swiss Guards and only have access to the specific documents that they had to have asked for in advance.

#3: The White House

Sure, critics of White House security may point to the history of occasional breaches that have dealt a black eye to those guarding the home of America’s Commander-in-Chief. This doesn’t change the fact that the White House remains one of the most heavily guarded areas in the world. An iron fence surrounds the property, which is fitted with bulletproof windows and a Secret Service detail devoted to protecting the First Family at all costs. The air above the White House is considered permanently prohibited airspace, while roof snipers and undercover agents are located at points around the grounds, making the President’s home a heavily protected structure at all times.

#2: Fort Knox

There’s a reason the old saying goes, “locked up tighter than Fort Knox.” Maybe it’s because the massively thick and blast-resistant inner vault of Fort Knox has been said to contain an insanely complicated locking system that depends upon a ten-person team. Or maybe it’s the fact that the Kentucky location of Fort Knox has housed both precious documents, as well as the bullion reserve of the United States. Fort Knox is heavily protected at all times by armed guards, making it the sort of party no one else can crash without a proper invitation.

Before we open the gates to our number one guarded place, here are a few highly classified honorable mentions.
- The Pentagon
- Swiss Bank Vaults
- Iron Mountain Storage Facility

#1: Area 51

Well documented by conspiracy nuts and outer space aficionados alike, Area 51 is without a doubt one of the most guarded places on earth. This sub-section of Edwards Air Force Base in Nevada has special use airspace, and possesses an air of mystery that has captivated people around the world. Motion-triggered sensors surround the perimeter. Patrols of armed guards are constantly surveying the grounds and protecting it from outsiders, many of whom are desperate to grab a glimpse of the mythological alien technology that conspiracy theorists believe are contained inside. Experimental weapons testing has also been rumored to be one of the top secret programs existing within Area 51: a heavily protected mystery of U.S. security and information about which we may never learn the whole truth.

Do you agree with our list? Which area do you feel is the most guarded in the world? For more top-secret top 10s, published every day, please subscribe to!

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