Karosta Prison information
A detention facility until 1997, today grungy Karosta Prison is a must-see for tourists. Originally designed as an infirmary in 1900, the Soviets quickly turned it into a military prison even before the building was completed.
Daily tours from noon to 5pm, given in a mix of Latvian, Russian and English, detail the history of the prison, which was strictly used to punish disobedient soldiers in the Russian army. Prisoners sat in their decrepit cells for six hours a day, spending the rest of their time engaged in gruelling exercises and training.
If you’re craving some serious punishment, or just want to brag that you’ve spent the night in a Latvian jail, sign up to become a prisoner for the night. You’ll be subjected to regular bed checks, verbal abuse by guards in period garb and forced to relieve yourself in the world’s most disgusting latrine (seriously). Try booking the night in cell 26 – solitary confinement – you won’t be bothered, but the pitch-blackness will undoubtedly drive you off the edge.
For those wanting a pinch of masochism without having to spend the night, there are two-hour ‘reality shows’ available for those who book ahead. Note that all shows require a quorum of participants.