Legendary, mystical, connected with countless stories and myths of escape, terror and gruesome scenes. Alkatraz today is a former prison turned into one of the biggest attractions of the San Francisco Bay. Like If Castle, which also stands on a separate island in the sea and is associated with The Count of Monte Cristo, the island of Alcatraz for more than a century was one of the most intriguing places in the world.
Aka The Rock, Alcatraz prison has long been considered the most terrible and tight jail across America. Alcatraz Island is located in the middle of San Francisco Bay in California, and is about 2.4 km from the city of San Francisco. The entire island covers an area of about 8 hectares, the prison was built in the highest part of it.
Over the years, Alcatraz was used as a defensive fort, a lighthouse, a military prison, and then a federal jail. Today Alcatraz has become a natural park with beautiful and rich vegetation and numerous birds. Among the tropical paradise that almost dominates the façade of the legendary prison, lived to the end of his life, the most famous criminal in history - Al Capone.
Today the prison is a museum where can be seen "authentic furnishings" of cells, where Al Capone himself was lying, along with many other notorious criminals over the past century. In the corridors can even be seen their pictures. Everyday hundreds of visitors arrive on the island of Alcatraz to see where Al Capone waited the decline of his power. Alcatraz is reached by boat, tickets for which cost about $20.
The first European to reach the island was Juan Manuel de Ayala in 1755. He called it La Isla de los Alcatraces, which translated from Spanish means island of the white fish-eating pelicans, simply because of the large population of birds here.
In the mid-19th century, the California gold rush was boiling, leading to a huge influx of ships. This requires the construction of a lighthouse on the island of Alcatraz. This was done in the summer of 1853 and was the first lighthouse on the Pacific coast of the United States. Lighthouse operates 56 years and was destroyed in 1919. In its place was built a military prison, and in it was erected a new lighthouse.
As a military prison Alcatraz works from the early 20th century until 1934, then it became a federal jail. It was during this time Alcatraz won "ruthless" glory. Over the next 29 years in the prison pass known criminals like Al Capone, Robert Franklin Stroud, James Baldzhar "the White" and Alvin Karpas.
According to official information, in this period, from Alcatraz has failed to escape a single prisoner. However, there are registered a total of 14 escape attempts involving 34 people. Statistics show that in attempts to escape were shot five prisoners, two drowned, five remain missing and the rest were captured.
In 1964 Alcatraz was closed by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General Robert Kennedy, who is the brother of President John Kennedy. The reasons highlighted were that it is too expensive to support (cost of a prisoner was $ 10 to $4 for other prisons) and the contaminated area. Then for a time Alcatraz was deserted. There were two attempts to capture the island by Indians, who believe that it belongs to them under a contract.
Alcatraz was entered in the National Register of Historic Places U.S. in 1976 and then was declared a national historic monument in 1986. It is included as a tourist attraction in the popular tourist route from the "Golden Gate" series.
Hundreds of tourists who flock daily to Alcatraz are drawn mainly from the magnetic figure of Al Capone, who spent the worst days of his life in this prison. The most influential mafia boss beyond the walls of Alcatraz was forced to wash and clean the floor here, resulting in his nickname “broom stick”.