Spaç Prison

Historic Building in

Spac Prison, Mirdite, Albania
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Pasztilla aka Attila Terbócs

Spaç Prison was an Albanian prison, close to the village of Spaç , it opened in 1968 and was built along similar lines to a Stalinist gulag in a remote and mountainous area in the center of the country. The prison combined imprisonment with forced labor in the nearby  pyrite and copper mines. It was notorious for the poor conditions of the mine and the profile of the prisoners, many of them intellectuals. The work in the mines often led to physical exhaustion and death.  The prison was so remote and unforgiving that no perimeter wall was needed to secure the complex, there was just barbed wire fencing by the occasional guard posts and by the front gate. The building complex was covered in communist slogans and quotes by Hoxha.  It housed between 1,200 and 1,400 political prisoners at any one time.

There is currently no interpretation offered of the site, though a local guide whose father worked at the prison and who lives nearby will guide you if you have a translator from Albanian. Nevertheless, walking the site alone you can still see the rooms where up to 50 prisoners slept, and – most distinctively – the political slogans and quotes from Enver Hoxha carefully painted on every wall. His works were also read aloud for hours at a time to the prisoners.

In 1973, a number of prisoners staged a rebellion where the Albanian flag without a communist star flag was raised. The rebellion was brutally suppressed two days later and its leaders executed.

In 2017, with funds donated by Tirana’s Swedish Embassy the prison underwent a preservation work in order to continue accommodating the increasing waves of visitors to the site.

The Spaç Prison appears in our Complete Guide to Visiting !

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Visiting Spaç Prison

Duration: 1 hours

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