Spaç prison was operational from 1968 to 1991. A place that housed mostly political prisoners, it stands as a grim reminder of the brutal treatment prisoners endured while incarcerated under the dictatorship of Enver Hoxha. Prisoners were subjected to forced labor in nearby mines and were held in small cells that still bear their memories—names, words, and drawings are etched into the concrete walls of the cells.
The prison is so notorious that it has become a metaphor. Sometimes if an Albanian refers to being held in Spaç, they don’t necessarily mean the prison, it’s a term used for anyone who endured punishment from the judicial system.
Currently, the prison stands in ruin. In 2013, plans were drafted to convert the site into a museum, however, no progress was ever made. However, in 2019, the Albanian organization Cultural Heritage Without Borders, with the assistance of a team from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, captured 3D images of the site and made a freely accessible digital reconstruction of the prison.
Know Before You Go
Reaching Spaç prison can be difficult, any visitors should be prepared for rough terrain and harsh conditions.