Getting in, and out, from an abandoned prison


Wrong place for people who were right

This was the wrong place for people who were right. For what we saw and understood, this prison was not the right place for anyone. Political prisoners such as agitators, party leaders and even presidents were gripping the bars inside this huge facility. For us, the prison offered gloomy corridors, bars in windows and cells out of order.

We sneaked in through a hole in the wall and reached the actual prison facility, which was taken over by adolescent trees and wild bushes. Around us, the solid stone walls told us that the place was going to be here for a long time, but the floors were already gone. This is quite normal for many abandoned places because winter brings snow inside and turns everything wooden into wet matter in spring. Stone, on the other hand, has been around us from the beginning, and will be at the end.


We came across an old model of the place sitting on a large stand, partially destroyed by looters. Still, it showed us the idea behind the design. We were inside a place that seemed to be more like a fortress than a prison, but the idea was to keep dangerous people in, not out. We continued, and after walking for a while, we stumbled on tall cell block areas with steel corridors attached to the stone walls. The guards could see all the cells from here, or from the upper floors. The damaged corridors were hanging dangerously and we decided to stay on the ground floor for the time being.  

Couple hours went by taking photos and video. For some reason, we did our work in silence, we all felt comfortable not to speak. Maybe that’s why an odd repeating sound coming outside the walls made us freeze. We listened it for a while and agreed that it was getting definitely closer. We grabbed our gear and started to head out to the gate where we had entered. We sneaked through the hole in the wall and I felt like we’d just performed a successful prison break! When outside, we understood where the sound was coming from. The current inhabitants of the prison were coming home. A huge herd of cows led by a farmer where coming in for the night. What once was a terrifying prison for political dissidents, was now an overkill for an animal barn.

Later, reading about the prison, I found out that when the gates closed, the prisoners were cut off from the rest of the world. Newspapers had to be smuggled in. Prisoners were often men of ideas - philosophers, revolutionary thinkers and such. We were lucky to enter, and exit, through the gate. Many did only the first.

K/ 18.11.2017