Latvia’s very own version of Alcatraz, but without the water, the sharks and the view of the Golden Gate bridge. The ominous brick building has however been witness to some ghastly crimes over the past century. Originally built as an infirmary in 1900, it was used as a military prison by a long succession of regimes including the Soviets, Nazis and most recently, the Latvians. Indeed, the last prisoner was detained here as recently as 1997, a disturbing thought once you’ve seen the frightening scenes inside. Although the Nazis sentenced ‘criminals’ such as Latvian deserters to death here and executed them outside in the yard, the post-independence Latvian military mostly imprisoned barroom brawlers, drunks and seamen who went AWOL and then usually only for a few days. A tour of the building will reveal the horrible life lived by the inmates and the graffiti they left behind. Above the door in the solitary confinement cell is a cryptic message: ‘izeja no elles’ or ‘exit from hell.’ Guides are also happy to tell you the tale of the ghost that haunts the prison and how doors often swing open by themselves, how light bulbs screw out of their sockets and how visitors and staff have felt the disturbing cold of a presence not of this earth. The hauntings were even investigated in an episode of the SciFi Channel's Ghost Hunters International. They claimed it was one of the most active locations they had ever visited. Visitors can take a simple tour with a guide or audio guide, participate in a reality show (in English or German), spend the night in a cell or do the ultimate and become a prisoner for the night including regular bed checks, verbal abuse by guards in period uniforms and experience the horrors of using the latrine (see website for details). For participatory events you must call ahead and reserve a time.