Inside a Siberian prison

Siberian Prison That Once Housed Author Dostoevsky Now Welcomes Tourists
Feb 25 2016

Inside a Siberian prison

A strict-regime penitentiary called Prison Castle located in Tobolsk town in Russia has recently opened its doors to visitors, so now everyone may see one of the cramped “sweat-box” punishment cells – and spend the night in the prison where Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Tsar Nicholas II and Stalin’s victims were at some time.

The Prison Castle in Tobolsk, Russia, was considered stricter than most (Credit: Credit: Alexander Aksakov/Getty)

The building for it was built since 1838 to 1855, and was finished in 1989. Many people – about 2,500 inmates – that were considered enemies of the state were executed at this the most strictest Siberian prison in the middle of nowhere. The most if them were put here during the Soviet Union’s political repression campaign in 1937-1938 – and as people told no one ever escaped.

The sweat-box cells which were the sparse dormitory-style rooms had not friendly design of metal bunk beds, clunky iron locks and heavy doors. They were used for prisoners who breached the conduct code. The rooms didn’t have lights; some weren’t even large enough for prisoners to stand fully upright!

A shot outside each cell helps every visitor to know men who once walked these halls. There are some photos in the Prison Castle museum that show everybody what daily life there was like – prisoners reclining in the sunlight wearing shackles and dirty prison garb, or chopping wood for the furnaces that never quite warmed the cells during February’s Russian freezing nights.

In this bastille of crime and punishment, the photographs reveal a haunting range of emotion, something Dostoevsky, who once did time inside these prison walls, knew all too well.

2,500 inmates were executed in this strict-regime penitentiary (Credit: Credit: Alexander Aksakov/Getty)

Alexander Aksakov/Getty

2,500 inmates were executed in this strict-regime penitentiary

It’s believed that no one ever escaped from the Prison Castle (Credit: Credit: Alexander Aksakov/Getty)

Alexander Aksakov/Getty

Clunky iron locks are still fixed to cell block doors (Credit: Credit: Alexander Aksakov/Getty)

Alexander Aksakov/Getty

Clunky iron locks are still fixed to cell block doors

Guests can take a tour that includes prison food and time in solitary confinement (Credit: Credit: Alexander Aksakov/Getty)

Alexander Aksakov/Getty

Guests can take a tour that includes prison food and time in solitary confinement

Prisoners were locked up tightly behind heavy doors (Credit: Credit: Alexander Aksakov/Getty)

Alexander Aksakov/Getty

An inmate mannequin has the right side of his head shaved – a practice that made it easy to identify escapees (Credit: Credit: Alexander Aksakov/Getty)

Alexander Aksakov/Getty

An inmate mannequin has the right side of his head shaved – a practice that made it easy to identify escapees

Guests can now check into sparsely decorated “sweat-box” punishment cells (Credit: Credit: Alexander Aksakov/Getty)

Alexander Aksakov/Getty

Guests can now check into sparsely decorated “sweat-box” punishment cells.

Photos in the museum offer a glimpse of daily prisoner life (Credit: Credit: Alexander Aksakov/Getty)

Alexander Aksakov/Getty

Photos in the museum offer a glimpse of daily prisoner life.

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