Karosta Prison is the only military prison in Europe open to tourists. It is recognized as the most unusual and surprising hotel in the world.
The building was originally intended as a military hospital but was never used for this purpose. It was adapted to function as a detention centre for short term disciplinary action. The building retained this function until 1997 when the last prisoners left their cells. During this whole time, nobody had ever escaped from the prison.
Even though the government changed, the purpose of this establishment remained – a place to break people and suppress their free spirit. Those imprisoned were revolutionaries, sailors of the Tsar’s Navy and non-commissioned officers, German deserters, ‘enemies of the state’ during the Stalin era, soldiers of the Soviet army and the Latvian army.
Karosta Prison can currently be seen only on a guided tour. During the tour, visitors will see the prison that practically has not changed since the time of the Tsar, find out about its history, see the prison cells and the solitary confinement cell, as well as hear interesting and spooky stories about prison life.
Those looking for adrenaline can experience the reality show “Behind Bars” and try to escape from the “Escape Room”. For completely fearless types a night in a prison cell is just the thing to experience.
The Karosta visitor centre, a Soviet era buffet and a souvenir shop are all open in the prison from May through September. Those wishing to explore the surrounding area and experience the allure of Karosta can rent a bicycle and go on a guided tour.