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Antarctica’s Pole of Inaccessibility / Photo: Cookson69

You’ve walked the Great Wall, gazed upon the Pyramids of Giza, and scaled the Andes to Machu Picchu. What’s next?

Earth is a mighty big place, and if you’re willing to strap on some snowshoes or trek through barren deserts there’s a whole lot of strangeness left out there.

1. The Southern Pole of Inaccessibility

Location: Antarctica

Antarctica’s Pole of Inaccessibility — the point farthest from the sea in all directions — is probably the most remote spot on the planet. It’s also the coldest, with an average year-round temperature of -58.2C (-72F).

The exact location is always in dispute, but the best marker lies at 82°06′S 54°58′E, where a creepy plastic bust of Vladimir Lenin sits atop a cabin built by the Soviets in 1958. The cabin is completely buried in ice, but should you manage to dig it up there’s a golden visitor’s book left for intrepid souls to sign their name.

2. Derweze – the Door to Hell

Location: Turkmenistan

While drilling for gas near Derweze in 1971, a team of geologists in Turkmenistan accidentally collapsed an underground natural gas cavern. Rather than have the poisonous gas escape and kill the local semi-nomadic Teke people, the team lit it on fire.

It’s been burning ever since.

3. The Principality of Sealand

Location: English Channel

Nice place to visit but… / Photo: Source

After WWII, several British gun platforms were abandoned in the English Channel.

In 1967, a pirate radio broadcaster took up residence in one of them and declared the fort an independent nation, and after a run-in with the Royal Navy a court ruled that Sealand was outside British jurisdiction.

It’s been operating more or less as its own country ever since, issuing passports, currency, and tourist visas. There was even an attempted coup that involved helicopters, a shotgun, and several hostages, resulting in a German diplomat being sent to the nation.

Freedom from legal restrictions has made Sealand an attractive base for online casinos and filesharers, so “custodianship” of the principality is currently on sale for the low, low price of 750 million euros.

4. Bouvet Island

Location: South Atlantic Ocean

Technically a part of Norway, the nearest landmass to Bouvet Island is an empty chunk of Antarctica over 1750km (1090 miles) away.

Inhabited only by lichens, penguins and seals, Bouvet nonetheless has its own internet domain (.bv).

The most remote island in the world has only been visited a handful of times by various research expeditions and explorers attempting to claim it for their homeland, and in 1964 a mysterious boat loaded with supplies was discovered without any trace of its passengers.

Though in reality the most interesting thing on the island is probably a ruined weather station, the film Alien vs. Predator took place mostly on Bouvet.

5. Bir Tawil

Location: The Egyptian-Sudanese border

Bir Tawil is a barren trapezoid of land between Egypt and Sudan that is so useless neither country will admit they own it. Both states claim its much more attractive sister territory, the Hala’ib Triangle, but due to treaty terms neither state can claim both.

It’s little more than sand, rocks, and a well in the middle, but it has the distinction of being the only unclaimed piece of Earth outside of Antarctica.

Photo: Austin Vince

6. The Zilov Gap

Location: Central Siberia

The Trans-Siberian railway was completed in 1916, but its builders made sure to avoid the Zilov Gap. It’s a 640km (400 mile) stretch of wilderness so inaccessible that it wasn’t crossed until 2000.

If you’ve seen The Long Way Round, this was the impassable section that forced Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman to hop the train.

As of 2005 a road through the Gap was under construction, but given the condition of the average Russian highway, my guess is it will still make for an adventure.

7. Mount Thor

Location: Baffin Island, Nunavut, Canada

Photo: Ansgar Walk

Although not a particularly tall mountain, Mount Thor is home to the greatest purely vertical drop in the world.

At 1250m (4101ft), the drop is over one and a half times higher than the tallest man-made structure ever built — currently the Burj Dubai.

An American team set the world record for longest rappel in 2006 on Mount Thor; another attempt by a Canadian park ranger ended tragically when his equipment failed and he dropped to his death.

8. Mir Mine

Location: Mirny, Siberia

The Mir diamond mine in Mirny, Eastern Siberia is one of the biggest manmade holes in the world. At 525m (1720ft) deep and 1200m (3900ft) wide, it’s so huge it can suck in helicopters flying over it due to the downward air flow (the air space above is off limits because of this).

Its sister mine, Udachnaya pipe, is equally gigantic, and both can easily be seen on Google Maps:

Mir Mine
Udachnaya pipe

COMMUNITY CONNECTION

Mount Thor isn’t among our 11 Most Dangerous Mountains in the World for Climbers, but perhaps it should be.

For more straight-up weirdness, check out Liberoachi, Voodoos, and Condiments: The World’s 10 Wackiest Museums.

 

 

About The Author

Ross Tabak

Ross Tabak is a freelance writer and photographer based in Southeast Asia. He runs the adventure blog We're Lost and Everything is Dirty.

  • http://www.candicedoestheworld.com Candice

    These are freaking cool. I’m particularly interested in the Zilov Gap…why is it so inaccessible, exactly?

  • http://carlo-alcos.com Carlo

    I can’t imagine myself going to any of these places, but just knowing they’re out there is cool.

  • http://TheExpeditioner.com Matt

    For some reason I really want to go visit the frozen Lenin head. Weird.

    • craig z

      I wanna go setu p my own country on an empty oilrig and declare war on The Principality of Sealand…. I’ll need three people to join my army first!

  • http://www.theaussienomad.com Chris

    I so want to be a Lord at Sealand. Amazing some of the places out there really.

  • Sarah

    The site Atlas Obscura (atlasobscura.com) is fantastic for this kind of thing. They have pages on geological oddities, and crazy islands and all sorts of this kind of thing! A really neat site, if you are into this sort of thing!

  • http://joelrunyon.com Joel

    I have some strange urge to go to all of these places now..

  • Ian

    I am making a claim on Bir Tawil. It is Mine now! Ha!

    • http://wheretherebedragons.com Tim Patterson

      darn, you beat me to it!

  • http://www.sophiesworld.net Sophie

    What an exciting list!

    I’m looking to find a way to visit Tristan da Cunha. Not as remote as some of these, but enticingly distant all the same.

  • Mohini

    This is the craziest list ever! I hope someday…

  • http://www.best-backpack-guide.com Rick

    Excellent places to explore. Sometimes it’s best to lose that Lonely Planet guidebook and find your own way off the mainstream and into the slipstream of global life. Just take a roll of TP and be ready to take on anything with a shaken head smile.

    Strange Places Rule!

  • http://matadornetwork.com brucechan60

    these places are awesome! i’d luv to visit em wan d@y.

  • freydoon

    hi for all i want tell you good place at will

  • http://www.dewabharataubud.com Dewa Bharata Ubud

    Very good article, but it’s better to put more photos in each number.

  • Adam Roy

    Add on one more: Centralia, Pennsylvania http://www.imdb.com/video/wab/vi3385393945/

  • Angela

    Official website of Bir Tawil http://www.birtawil.com WELCOME!

  • http://www.homewealthmoney.com/ Mario

    #3 looks like one of those offshore houses that I’ve seen in florida were people actually live,pretty cool!

  • http://www.escapenormal.com Jacqueline Boss

    I wish there were pictures for all of them!

    There is a place called the blue lagoon in iceland that seems really cool, its a hot springs kind of spa place with a really beautiful view.

    I’ve put together a list of interesting bodies of water if you want to take a look: http://www.escapenormal.com/2011/04/12/fun-things-to-dip-yourself-in/

  • http://www.farawayeyes.org darmabum

    Jacqueline – Google the Little Colorado River. A tributary of the Colorado River, comes into the Colorado about 60 miles down on a raft trip. Best views are from the air, and it’s at it’s turqoise-best when there’s been nor rain. Several miles up the Little Colorado is a place called the Sipapu, a Hopi place of Emergence. Powerful place :)

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