Photos Like You Have Never Seen Before From 17 Forbidden Areas In The World Taken By Drones
American expat Trey Ratcliff learned the hard way why Beijing's imperial palace is called "The Forbidden City."
It should be no surprise that flying over the headquarters of the Chinese government and its intelligence hubs is ill-advised.
#16 Death Star...?
Thankfully, Ratcliff was able to snap some aerial footage before his drone was caught and he was arrested by Chinese authorities.
"Deciding to fly a drone over China is kind of like Luke Skywalker deciding to ride his land speeder on the Death Star," Ratcliff says
The fallout from the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster is evident to this day.Nuclear safety, quite understandably, became a large concern after the accident.
#14 Russian Woodpecker
The Chernobyl Exclusion Zone's Duga System was built to detect missile attacks with an early-warning radar network.
It emitted such a strong signal that even radio users in the United States could hear its "clicks." As such, it received the nickname "Russian Woodpecker." It has since been abandoned and suffered decay.
#13 Kazantyp, Crimea
The Crimean Atomic Energy Station had been under construction since 1976; geological instability caused the project to be abandoned.
#12 Someone bought it?
It was the site of the KaZantip electronic music festival (you know it as "Reaktor") from 1993 to 1999. An anonymous buyer purchased it in 2005.
#11 Okuma, Fukushima, Japan
The 9.0 magnitude earthquake that rattled Okuma in 2011 caused a chain reaction, triggering a tsunami that crushed the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
More than 150,000 people across the country and 11,515 residents of Okuma were forced to evacuate their homes due to the tsunami and nuclear meltdown.
#10 Ghost Town
After the nuclear meltdown caused by the tsunami, Okuma became a ghost town.
It will likely take decades until the city can be inhabited again; thankfully, life has been somewhat restored in other parts of the Fukushima area.
#9 Area 51
Tales...especially those concerning UFO sightings, have surrounded the U.S Air Force base (dubbed "Area 51") in Nevada since the 1950s.
#8 No Drones
Soon after Hans Faulkner snapped this drone footage in August 2015, "no drones" signs were promptly posted, making these images even more rare.
#7 Effects of war
When the Russian military annexed Crimea in 2014, it sparked an ongoing conflict between the Ukranian military and pro-Russian forces. These images show the remains of an encirclement of tanks.
#6 Debaltsevo Cauldron,
The area is now known as Debaltsevo Cauldron, a reference to the heated battle that took place between January and February of 2015.
The drone footage was posted online the next year, but there are still remnants of tanks and other military vehicles spread out across the area.
#5 Red River
Drone footage guided by filmmaker Mark Devries revealed the terrible practices of a pig factory farm owned by the world's biggest supplier of pork, Smithfield Foods.
Hidden in a remote part of North Carolina that was far from the public eye, the huge red lake you see above is actually filled with urine and feces from thousands of pigs.
#4 Man-made Hazard
Devries was horrified to find out that the factory farm operators were filling up an open crater of otherwise-dry terrain by draining the pig waste into it.
The makeshift "lake" is then emptied into nearby bodies of water, creating a health risk for the residents of the areas, many of whom have lower incomes.
#3 Tesla Tower
The Tesla Tower was a "lightning machine" from the Soviet period that generated so much electricity that it made an explorer's hair stand on end.
A 200-meter long lightning bolt then hit just a few yards away, proving that after all this time, the facility is still active.
#2 Active after all this time
Once the Soviet Union met its demise, it was assumed that the tower had been abandoned, but that wasn't exactly the case.
Russian media correspondents were invited to a demonstration of how the tower measures lightning resistance on industrial metal parts. Each test releases the equivalent energy of 25,000 electricity sockets.
#1 The Last Stand
On an island roughly 650 miles from the North Pole, in the Arctic Svalbard archipelago, is a vault that can help assure the continuation of our species. Inside are 860,000 "backup" seed samples, just in case we lose our crops.
Drone footage reveals the vault's remote location in all its glory. Designed in 2006 to keep out moisture, it's supposed to be so barren that the facility will remain dry even in the event that the polar ice caps melt. Temperatures are kept at -18°C (about -.4°F).
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