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The Siberian Times

Prison Break, Siberian style. Come stay with us… in jail!

By Kate Baklitskaya
05 December 2014

Notorious former prison opens hostel for guests complete with solitary confinement and mandatory gruel.

One of Russia’s most notorious former prisons has been partially transformed into tourist accommodation. Picture: Mikhail Belvedersky

Just what would Lincoln Burrows think? Next week Siberia will open its first ever jail-themed hostel, complete with guest experiences straight from the TV show Prison Break.

In a move likely to attract fans of the US drama from around the world, one of Russia’s most notorious former prisons has been partially transformed into tourist accommodation.

Located in the very heart of the historical state capital, Tobolsk, white-walled Prison Castle will welcome its first paying residents on December 5.

Strong-spirited guests can opt for the special extreme tour, which comes complete with a period of solitary confinement in a single cell – the walls of which are said to have “absorbed fear and pain” – with prison gruel served up as food.

And in a fitting tribute to the popular TV show, which starred Dominic Purcell as Burrows and Wentworth Miller as his brother Michael Schofield, residents also have the chance to play the quest game Prison Break.

Being opened by the Tobolsk Historical and Architectural Museum-Reserve, the hostel offers two, four and six bed dorm rooms, starting at 600 Roubles ($12) a night for a bed.

Room in Tobolsk prison hostel


Dinner in Tobolsk prison hostel

Hostel offers two, four and six bed dorm rooms, starting at 600 Roubles ($12) a night for a bed. Picture: NTV

What will make the accommodation even more special for guests is the sprawling complex’s own rich, and chequered, history.

Built in 1855, Tobolsk Prison had a reputation as one of the most severe jails in Russia, witnessing the rule of the Tsar, the October Revolution and the Soviet era.

It served as a brutal home for inmates for 84 years, including the likes of novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky, who later described his prison experience in his novels.

In July 1907 and in October 1918, the prisoners started two major riots that were suppressed with terrible brutality from the guards. However, in Soviet times the jail was used for this as its first purpose and between 1937 and 1938 about 2,500 people were executed.

The most dangerous prisoners from Butyrskaya Prison, in Moscow, and from Lipetsk were sent to Tobolsk in 1941, giving it an even more fearsome reputation.

Old photo of Tobolsk prison

Built in 1855, Tobolsk Prison had a reputation as one of the most severe jails in Russia, witnessing the rule of the Tsar, the October Revolution and the Soviet era. Picture: Mikhail Belvedersky

It was eventually closed and in 1989 the jail was turned into a museum, which still exists on the site.

Now, from next Friday, guests can pay to stay over and experience what it may have been like to have been an inmate.

And, you never know, television’s fictional Fox River State Penitentiary may well look like a walk in the park compared to what Tobolsk holds in store for its first visitors.

Comments (1)

I would go & stay there...but only, if when I got there, Mr Putin wouldn't keep me, & then throw away the key...?


PS. For I wouldn't like to have to outstay my stay, "There"!
Jaker, Dundalk
15/12/2014 02:16
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