For all of you crime junkies out there, Musement takes a look at seven different former prisons around the world that you can visit.
Netflix recently released “A conversation with Ted Bundy”, a documentary about the ruthless American serial killer who killed more than 30 women in the 1970s. Netflix is on a Bundy role as the streaming service is slated to release Extremely Wicked, a biopic about said notorious killer starring Zac Efron. Orange is the New Black, set in Litchfield Women’s Prison, is approaching its end after six seasons of enormous success and a shower of awards on all fronts. Law & Order, Criminal Minds, and Murder She Wrote and all the other crime series are cult immortals of which we never grow tired.
One thing is certain, in short: we like to come into contact with the murky, dig into the darkest folds of the human mind, maybe sympathize with certain criminals (more with Piper Chapman than with Ted Bundy, hopefully), knowing that everything will be solved by incredible investigators like Jessica Fletcher and Detective Stabler.
Thanks to the big and small screen, prisons fascinate and are often top travel destinations. Here are six prisons all crime enthusiasts must visit.
1. Alcatraz, San Francisco
The prison par excellence, the maximum security incarceration center near San Francisco is a household name and has inspired many films and books (does Azkaban mean anything to you?). Alcatraz is located in San Francisco Bay and you can visit it on a guided tour.
2. Devil’s Island, French Guiana
The most remote of the Islands du Salut, Devil’s Island is home to an equally remote penitentiary that housed political prisoners. The most illustrious: the French captain Alfred Dreyfus, unjustly accused of high treason. The prison is now a museum with a tourist route that winds through the different buildings of the island
3. Pentridge Prison, Melbourne
Head to Australia to follow in the footsteps of Mark Brandon “Chopper” Read, the most dangerous man in the country, as well as to discover the remains of the notorious outlaw Ned Kelly. Not only is Pentridge Prison in Melbourne one of the toughest prisons in the world, but it is also the one with the greatest presence of spirits: there are 44 interred criminals whose ghosts cannot wait to disconcert visitors.
4. Sultanahmet Four Seasons, Istanbul
Want to spend a night in a former prison? In Istanbul, you can. The Sultanhamet Four Seasons was built where a prison once stood. Of course, luxury and comfort are typical of the elegant hotel chain, but the watchtowers remain as do wall engravings made by the prisoners.
5. Bodmin Jail, Cornwall
Inaugurated in 1779, Bodmin Jail has seen several criminals and has as many to tell. It is spread over six floors, all fascinating both in structure and history. Visiting this prison means is like time traveling through the methods of detention that have been in Cornwall over the centuries. All six floors are open to visitors.
6. Tower of London
With its many secrets, the Tower of London is one of the most visited attractions in the English capital, but at one point during its long life, it had also been the most crowded prison in England. Among the ranks of its prisoners were Anne Boleyn, Thomas More, and Guy Fawkes. The torture room was a convenient option that proved useful with the most difficult prisoners.
7. Robben Island, Cape Town
A maximum security prison for political prisoners during apartheid, Robben Island–a short ferry ride from Cape Town–is the infamous lockup site of one of the world’s most famous (and admired!) figures: Nelson Mandela. In addition to Mandela, who served 18 years of his 27-year sentence here, two other South African presidents were confined here as well: Kgalema Motlanthe and Jacob Zuma. Tour the facility, which includes a glimpse into Mandela’s former cell on a guided tour, all of which are led by former inmates.