Prison is a place where government keeps the criminals by separating them from the rest of the society. Criminals are those who defy the laws and goes against the political regime. From the ancient times these prisons holds the special place in the history.

Kings used to keep the criminals in those worst prisons for the time being until they are either executed or given a penalty. Now, the governments around the world are using prisons to keep the criminals either serving their time or those who are still waiting charges and sentence. Many famous figures have served into these toughest prisons like Nelson Mandela & John McCain. These prison’s not only housed notorious criminals but also served as House Of Slaves.

Few prisons came to limelight due to daring escapes, barbaric treatments or even cruelty towards the inmates. Few of those prisons are now a tourist spots. Following is a list of top 10 such infamous prisons around the world.

1. Tower of London, London

Tower of London Prison

Tower of London is a famous prison in London where few of the very famous person were kept like Thomas More, Anne Boleyn, King Henry VI, Rudolph Hess and even Catherine Howard who was the wife of King Henry VI. Ironical isn’t it. Now, it has become the home to British crown Jewels with a status of most haunted building in entire England.

2. Alcatraz, California, USA

Alcatraz Prison

Alcatraz was very famous Military & Federal prison which has now become a famous tourist spot. Alcatraz was the the first maximum security minimum privilege prison of the country. This prison is also know as The Rock which was the title of Nicholas Cage The Rock Movie.

3. Chateau d’If Prison, France

Chateau d'If prison France

Mentioned in the Book “The Count of Monte Cristo” by Alexander Dumas, Chateau served as a prison to hold the political and religious prison. Wealthy people used to get the better treatment than the poor. This is the most famous prison of entire France.

4. Robben Island, South Africa

Robben Island Prision in South Africa

Robben Island is very famous prison in South Africa which housed famous persons like Nelson Mandela and Kgalema Motlanthe. It has become a famous tourist spots which you can see by taking a ferry from Cape Town. Even president Obama didn’t forgot to pay his homage and visit this prison along with his wife.

5. Tuol Sleng Genocide Prison, Cambodia

Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum Phnom Penh, Combodia

One of the most horrifying prisons in the world where more than 17,000 people were tortured, executed during the rise of Rouge Regime. Now, Tuol Sleng Genocide Prison is turned into a historical museum to remember the actions & cruelty of Khmer Rouge regime.

6. Goree Island, Senegal

Goree Island Prison, Senegal

Once house of slaves, Goree Island have seen people turned into slaves which will later sent to other countries. This prison is now turned into a museum to serves as a pilgrimage site for many African-Americans tracing their roots.

7. Elmina Castle, Ghana

Elmina Castle Prison, Ghana

Being the oldest European building, it served to house slaves who are captured to be sold to other countries. The rooms where more than 200 people were kept, there were not enough space to even lie down. History tells us that more than 30,000 slaves were kept here and later sold to other countries.

8. Hanoi Hilton, Hanoi

Hanoi Hilton Prison, Hanoi

This prison was built to keep Vietnamese prisoners who defied the French Law. The prisoners passes through extreme torture, murder and starvation. Famous figures like Senator John McCain (later ran for US presidential bid) and James Stockdale have served here as a prisoner of war.

9. Four Seasons Hotel (Sultanahmet Jail), Istanbul

Four Seasons Hotel Sultanahmet Jail, Istanbul

Sultanahmet Jail was built to keep intellectual dissidents and writers who defied or didn’t agreed to Ottoman Empire. Later the prisoners were transferred to Sagmalcilar prison which used to keep the military offenders. Later Sultanahmet Jail was purchased by Four Seasons and now its a Five star Hotel in Istanbul.

10. Devil’s Island, French Guiana

This is one of the infamous prison where hardened criminals and political criminals were kept in Napolean III’s reign. Many prisoners planned an escape but in vain. This prison is very well described in the movie Papillon by Dustin Hoffman.

Devils Island French Guine

Please leave me a comment and let me know what do you think about these horrifying prisons. Don’t forget to subscribe to our RSS for free.

  • I have visited Tower of London and people say that there are ghosts of the past. People do not enter the tower after dark as they fear of the ghost.

  • I have visited Tower of London and people say that there are ghosts of the past. People do not enter the tower after dark as they fear of the ghost.

  • Really interesting topic! I wouldn’t want to have to stay in any of them.

    If the descriptions of old prisons were accurate in Papillon (love that movie), I’m sure it was Hell to be put away in these places.

  • Really interesting topic! I wouldn’t want to have to stay in any of them.

    If the descriptions of old prisons were accurate in Papillon (love that movie), I’m sure it was Hell to be put away in these places.

  • add one more.. CELLULAR JAIL.. Andaman… for more information visit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cellular_Jail this jali also deserves to be come in the list of most Horrifying Prisons Of The World

  • add one more.. CELLULAR JAIL.. Andaman… for more information visit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cellular_Jail this jali also deserves to be come in the list of most Horrifying Prisons Of The World

  • Eddy Goedzak
  • Goytá F. Villela Jr.

    Who wouldn’t want a stay at a Four Seasons hotel? But not the Istanbul one. I’d find it terribly wrong and disrespecting to delight myself and be pampered in a place where so many suffered in absolute despair. The infamous Carandiru prison in São Paulo, Brazil, notorious for the summary execution of 111 inmates by the Military Police during a rebellion (the officers were tried, but they all got away with it, either acquitted or with suspended sentences), was demolished and turned into a park and public library. That was very dignified. But making a five-star hotel there? No, no, no! What will they come up with next, the Ritz-Carlton Auschwitz Resort and Spa? Give me a break and have some respect for those long-gone people and what they suffered – even if, in the Turkish case, most were actual criminals.

  • Goytá F. Villela Jr.

    I’d also add small but notorious Lubyanka Prison in Moscow, for its significance in the history of the Soviet period, especially (but not only) during Stalin’s purges. It was particularly emblematic of the Soviet system because the basement was (and still is) a prison – the rest was the main offices of the KGB, where bureaucrats worked as if in any other government office (and they still do – the building now houses the HQ of the Russian Border Guard and part of the FSB administration – the post-Communist successor to the KGB). If not only standing buildings qualify, then the demolished Bastille couldn’t be omitted.