“Welcome to Karosta Prison! Enjoy your stay!”
Even though this blog covers museums dedicated to brains and wax and other spooky stuff on a regular basis, October brings you more scary posts like stuff about skeletons, witches, medical oddities and a religious attraction or two (I don’t know about you, but that last one scares the bejesus out of me).
,This next one is not your typical museum, but more like “living history” gone horribly wrong. If your dream is to have a unique hotel experience, kind of like that film Hostel, then I found the place for you. On this blog’s first trip to Latvia we visit the former Karosta Prison.
Between 1900 and 1990, military criminals, captives of war and political prisoners were held here by both Tsarist Russia and the Soviet Union during their control of the country. But now it’s a place to stay and rest your head, if you don’t mind the guards walking the halls and yelling at you in Latvian. Since 1997, brave tourists, looking for a bizarre experience replicating that of a Latvian prisoner, are given prison garb, spend the night in a locked cold, barren cell and are regularly interrogated by guards. American visitors are often surprised to find no one speaks English (WHAT?) and day-long exercises and toilet cleaning are typically part of the physical punishment. And if that’s not enough torture, the prison is considered to be the most haunted site in Europe. Hundreds died within its walls and now haunt the paying prisoners at night sitting in the corner of a dark, dank prison cell wondering why the hell they signed up for this so-called “holiday”? And don’t even ask me what this is, maybe something to guarantee at least one nightmare per cell.