Considering the staggering rates of global expansion and technology development, it’s impossible to imagine that there is even a sliver of this planet that remains undiscovered or unexplored.

Ise Grand Shrine, Japan

This ancient shrine is a cultural wonder...that only the Japanese imperial family can access.

Japan has shrine culture down pat. The shrine is rebuilt every 20 years (at a million-dollar price tag), in order to symbolize the Shinto tradition of death and renewal of nature.

Heard Island, Australia

Satellites capture volcanic activity on remote Heard Island.

The island is known for its two active volcanoes, but for the most part, it’s thoroughly blanketed in ice. Inhabitants include seals, birds and four types of penguins.

Poveglia, Italy

A haunting history defines this small Italian island.

For centuries the small island has been a prime real estate for, well, dumping of the dead. The island became a quarantine colony in the 14th century for victims of the Bubonic Plague.

Vatican Secret Archives, Vatican City

What church secrets like in these archives? Only a select few can ever know.

Centuries of secrets remain a mystery within the vaults of the Vatican, from state papers to accounting to letters. Speculation on what lies beneath include evidence of demons, extraterrestrials and even the Church’s alleged contribution to the fascism of the mid-20th century.

Tomb of Qin Shi Huang, China

Some Terra-Cotta warriors are visible to the public — but the vast majority remain off limits.

The Terra-Cotta Warriors at Xi’an is one of the most important discoveries of all time. Thousands of unique, one-of-a-kind lifelike statues depicting ancient Chinese warriors filled underground caverns of the burial complex of China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang. But while the site is one of China’s most prominent tourist attractions, the tomb itself still remains a guarded mystery.

 

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