Croatia may reopen its most notorious communist-era prison for tourists willing to part with their money to re-enact the life of a political prisoner -- including hard labor, stale food and nights in solitary confinement. The plan has the support of some local officials and even former inmates, who have offered to work as tour guides, though the city council has yet to make a final decision.

"If you want to experience some of the torture that political prisoners underwent ... just come along," said Josip Modric, an architect who is promoting the project.

Modric envisions tourists being issued convict uniforms, pounding large stones with a sledgehammer and hauling the pieces on their backs to quarries around the prison on Goli Otok, a barren island in the northern Adriatic Sea.

Those who sign up would be given written awards after completing their "prison sentence."

Goli Otok -- which means Naked Island -- was a miniature gulag set up by Yugoslavia's communist dictator Josip Broz Tito after World War II. It housed 3,000 inmates at its height but has been derelict since its closure in 1989.

To bring in tourists, Modric wants to build a gondola connecting the mainland to Goli Otok and a smaller neighboring island that served as a political prison for women.

Local officials have expressed interest but say they are unsure how well a vacation from hell will sell.


Full Story