Since 1900, Karosta Prison held military personnel convicted of crimes, captives of war and political prisoners. Used by both Tsarist Russia and the Soviet Union during their control of Latvia, Karosta Prison was used solely to crush the spirit and free will of everyone who entered a cell on the property.
Today, guards still walk the halls, and courageous people still occupy the cells, even though the prison has been obsolete since 1997. Instead of prisoners, tourists now roam the prison grounds, looking for a bizarre experience replicating that of a Latvian prisoner in the 20th century.
On a visit to Karosta, visitors can take a quick guided tour, or spend a night in one of the cold, barren cells that broke the spirit of many soldiers in the past. For the full experience, tourists are given prisoner garb and interrogated, then harassed by prison guards wearing military uniforms. To complete the simulation, guards even lock tourists into their cells for their night in Karosta Prison.
As a note of warning, not all of the guards are completely fluent in English, and as such, American visitors are often surprised by the amount of abuse they actually receive. Before embarking on the full prison experience tour, tourists are warned that disobedience in the prison could result in insult or worse, physical punishment by means of exercise or cleaning.
Aside from a curiosity of prison life in the former Soviet Union, some visitors journey to Karosta to experience a haunting. According to Ghost Hunters, Karosta Prison is one of the most haunted sites in Europe, and allegedly, hundreds died within its walls.