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Karosta Prison celebrates with birthday candles
15 years ago, no one could have imagined that this unusual museum will be a symbol of the beautiful Liepāja.
This summer, the Karosta Prison had a big birthday celebration. The head chef of the prison buffet served small rye bread bites with sprats which were very popular in the Soviet times, also potato salad Rasols and even sparkling wine Sovetskoje šampanskoje.
However, in order to enjoy the meal, guests had to face one challenge — they had to participate in the reality show “Behind Bars”. With this show, the Museum of the Karosta Prison established itself as a tourism object.
The game or reality show “Behind Bars” is still offered to the guests and is very popular. Only now, the Karosta Prison offers also the world-famous escape room games. The first one is named “1984” and has a motto — “The Big Brother is watching you”, the second one is named “Pre-trial Detention Centre”. Both reality shows are, of course, held in the prison environment.
“The Karosta Prison is continuously developing and regularly offers something new to the tourists,” says Monta Krafte, the Chairwoman of the Board of the Prison Operator — “Karostas Glābšanas Biedrība” (Rescye Association of Karosta).
15 years ago, when history enthusiasts decided to establish the Museum of the Karosta Prison in Liepāja, they mainly wanted to protect the historical building from decay.
The Karosta Prison in Liepāja is a part of the fortification system that was built in the time of the Russian Empire. As commanded by the Emperor Alexander III, a navy base was built in Liepāja in the time from 1890 to 1906 with an outstanding defence system all around the beautiful coastal city.
The historical fortification buildings have suffered serious damage over the years, and nowadays they seem like ghosts. Thanks to “KGB” Association, the military hospital in Karosta now is saved. It was built in the 20th century and since the Russian Revolution of 1905 was used as a penal institution for disciplinary punishments for the military personnel but now for 15 years has served as the Museum of the Karosta Prison. And even more – the Museum of the Karosta Prison has become an integral part of tourism in Liepāja.
The Karosta Prison offers exciting tours in the prison and in the forts of Karosta (“Escape from the USSR”, “Labyrinth of Senses”), reality shows, a meal in a Soviet prison style and to spend the night in prison in normal as well as extreme conditions...
The guests are, of course, welcomed by knowledgeable tour guides, and the tourists can purchase peculiar souvenirs. The newest addition to the prison games is airsoft — shooting with little pellets which unlike paintball pellets are not filled with colour.
In 2016, the Karosta Prison was visited by 28 thousand tourists one third of which were foreign tourists.
Last year, the Karosta Prison received the Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor.