09/30/2011 08:35 am ET Updated Nov 29, 2011

10 Fascinating Forbidden Places (PHOTOS)

Shrouded in mystery, pulsing with dangers both real and imagined, forbidding places have always exerted an irresistible pull. Indeed, the same impulse that drew 16th-century explorers into uncharted oceans may compel today's intrepid travelers to ignore State Department travel warnings.

When white-sand Bermudan beaches and rooms with Eiffel Tower views no longer satisfy, becoming a war correspondent for CNN is always an option. Seriously though, while a few of the destinations on our list of Top 10 Forbidding Places are consumed in seething conflicts, most do not require Anderson Cooper's security clearance to enter.

Consider visiting Havana, more accessible to American travelers than it has been in decades, especially while Cuba still conjures up the sexiness of the "forbidden" (there's just something about that word); or take a tour of the "dead zone" around Chernobyl, Ukraine, now teeming with life and relatively safe. We don't necessarily endorse visiting many of the other places on this list now - particularly hot zones like Damascus, Mogadishu, and Tripoli -- but we highly encourage traveling by armchair.

Ten Fascinating Forbidden Places