You have been traveling a lot and like a lot lately, you’ve been to unique hotels, beaches, picturesque landscapes and peaky mountains to quench your thirst of witnessing diversity and yet you would have never thought of going to prison, as a tourist, of course. Ferocious prisons around the world that once gave chills to the would-be criminals before executing anything against the law now rests as antique open for all visitor spot.
Here are some of the most renowned jails around the world that are no longer in operation but are open for tourists.
1. Alcatraz Prison, California, Unite States: Perhaps the most gruesome and tight security prison in the United States, once a military fortress the Alcatraz held many notorious prisoners for long and the all-time famous ‘Al Capone’. A cell has been booked for him. It is believed the ghost of Al Capone haunts the cell. The location of the prison itself is isolated from the mainland and resides on a small island amid the San Francisco bay’s water. 36 men tried breaking from the prison and only 5 of them were successful rest were either captured, shot dead or drowned in the chilling water of the bay. During the tour, you’d narrated by audio and visiting it will give you whole new perspective in life.
2. Elmina Castle, Ghana: Among the oldest structure in whole Europe, the Elmina castle was built back in 1482. This was slave trading place where people, captured from around, were against their will and later put on sale as slaves. For over 300 years this was a place of trade of captives. Now UNESCO heritage site, this castle used to put over 200 prisoners in a single cell were even lying down wasn’t possible. As many as 30k people were made a trade-off through the gates of no return and they never saw freedom again. The place now is heavily flooded with tourists.
3. Devil’s Island, French Guiana, South America: Napolean the Third had this structure built in 1852. The prison is situated off coast Atlantic in French Guiana and attracts tons of tourists every year. The penal colony remained functional for around 94 years of the period and it housed offenders of every type, may it be politicians or hardcore criminals. As the place is surrounded by water full of shark, piranha and other deadly watery creature, not many jailbreak attempts were made. The devil island prison was brought down from operation in 1952 and since its restoration, it has become a spot for picture lovers for the island’s scenic beauty.
4. Robben Island, South Africa: Outskirts of Capetown in South Africa is the place where you will find the legendary Robben island prison although it was not just a jail and functioned as a leper colony. The prison is known to hold great personalities like Nelson Mandela the man held for 18 years and Kgalema Motlanthe. In 1990 the operational era of Robben Island as prison ended. The island, UNESCO world heritage site, can be accessed via a boat from Cape Town and offers suitable habitat for African Penguins. Visiting Capetown you must plan a trip to the Robben Island also and get the moment captured.
5. Tower of London, England: Another UNESCO protected world heritage site was once a prison from 1100 and it remained operational for so long. The tower held figures like King Henry VI, Sir Thomas More, Catherine Howard who happened to the wife of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. The streets of London are filled with ghost stories or the tower of London being haunted by supernatural elements. Well, at the present it is the most visited place by tourists visiting England and is home to British Crown Jewels. The site of London tower is a delight to the eyes.
6. Port Arthur, Tasmania, Australia: Situated on Australian Island named Tasmania, Port Arthur started working as a prison in 1833 and stayed functional till 1850 or for a span of 17 years. The island held most notorious outlaws especially the British and Irish and wicked prisoners from other captivity who were impossible to keep there. Port Arthur included a Church, mental asylum, a hospital and a prison that now are in ruins. Declared UNESCO world heritage site, it is said to be influenced by paranormal activity. ‘Isle of Dead’ however, is the center of tourist attraction which can be enjoyed through a boat tour.
7. Hoa Lo Prison/Hanoi Hilton, Hanoi, Vietnam: Hanoi Hilton or Hoa Lo prison was built in late 19th century, 1886 to be precise, to the north of Vietnam. During Vietnam War, when America did what they say they did, American soldiers were captured and kept in Hoa Lo aka Hanoi Hilton. The prison can be related to the American Senator John McCain whose plane was brought down by Vietnamese army when America’s bombing campaign was on way, he was held captive for many years. The site is now open for general public, the prison turned museum sports weapon used in war, statues depicting American prisoner and French used guillotine.
8. Hostel Celica, Ljubljana, Slovenia: Austro-Hungarian army built this penitentiary in 1882 to keep prisoners (obvious) is now turned into a hostel for the youth. When Yugoslavia broke apart and Slovenia gained freedom, many officials urged higher authority not to destroy the place. Many artists and creative people turned the cells and halls of the prison into something amazing. You can spend a night into one of the 20 cells and get to feel the life and history this place beholds. Furthermore, the solitary confinement area located in the basement has been left untouched and it still doesn’t have any window and the scratch marks are also there.
9. Chateau d’If, France: Standing proudly amid the high current of Bay of Marseille and separated from the mainland, the Chateau d’if was built as a fortress that later got transformed into a prison. The place held religious and political offenders quite well. For over three centuries, people were kept in the cramped stonewalled cells, without any proper sanitation facility. The prison was originally made famous by a novel ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’ by Alexandre Dumas in 1844. It eventually was decommissioned in late 19th century and is now opened for people. Chateau d’if is now among popular tourist destination and especially for history lovers who would want to get inside sketch how prisoners would have felt there.
We gave you some more must to visit tourist destinations to add to your list and yeah when someone asks where else would you be going apart from the typical visiting places, don’t forget to say, Prison! Let them wonder until you come back. Walk inside the walls where world’s most dangerous criminals and some of the greatest people were held prisoners. Breathe in the history and get mesmerized by the spectacular beauty of the places.
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