Alcatraz is a famous island located in the Bay of San Francisco, California. Translated from Spanish, Alcatraz means “pelican”. The island also has another name – The Rock, which it received thanks to the 1996 film of the same name by Michael Bay.
Alcatraz is one of the top tourist attractions in this port city. Perhaps this place is so attractive due to its interesting, but rather dark history. Alcatraz is never empty. Travelers from all over the world come to the island to see firsthand the place, “sung” in many films, television programs, literature and even music.
The history of the island
The first to enter the San Francisco Bay was a Spaniard named Juan Manuel de Ayala. It happened in 1775, and then he and his team drew up a map of the bay. One of the three islands, which today has the name Yerba Buena, was named La Isla de los Alcatraces. It may have meant “Pelican Island”, but this is just a guess. The fact is that birds of this species were not found nearby at all.
Later, in 1828, the English geographer Frederick Beachy made a mistake, transferring the names of the islands from the Spanish maps. Thus, the name Island Alcatrazes was given to the neighboring island. Subsequently, by the decision of the topographic service of the US Coast Guard, the name was shortened to what we know today – Alcatraz.
The Gold Rush caused a number of changes in the island. For example, in 1853 a lighthouse was installed on Alcatraz, and three years later – a bell, which was used in the fog. Then the need arose to protect the bay. For this, in 1850, construction began on a fort with more than 110 long-range guns.
Prisons in Alcatraz
Due to its location, the island was in a real natural isolation. The icy water, the middle of the bay and strong sea currents were the reasons that pushed the US Army to look at Alcatraz from a new perspective. This place was ideal for keeping prisoners of war, and from 1861 to 1898 their number increased to 450 people.
In 1934, the Ministry of Defense decided to close the prison – too much money was spent on its maintenance.
However, the history of the prisons on the island did not end there. The Great Depression spawned a new wave of crime, and the government decided to reopen Alcatraz, this time as a federal prison. Now dangerous criminals are housed here. Later, reconstruction was carried out, and the prison turned into an absolutely inaccessible place with containers for tear gas in the dining room and other means for “taming” the prisoners.
Interestingly, the courts were not sentenced to serving time in Alcatraz. The walls of the world-famous prison included inmates who managed to especially “distinguish themselves” in their former place. So the myth that Alcatraz was filled entirely with the most dangerous criminals is not entirely true – there were also those who showed willfulness and disobedience. Of course, well-known and dangerous criminals also managed to visit Alcatraz – which is just the name of Al Capone or Machine Gun Kelly.
Nowadays, the prison has long been disbanded, and the entire island is a museum. You can get there by ferry from pier number 33 in San Francisco.
Tours to Alcatraz
Departure times: 8:45, 9:10, 9:30, 10:00, 10:30, 11:00, 11:30, 12:00, 12:30, 13:05, 13:35.
Tour price : for adults – $ 46.35; for children – $ 31.50.
Night tour: 3:50 am, 4:45 am.
Price : for adults – $ 53.50; for children – $ 35.05.
Do not miss the chance to see the famous Alcatraz with your own eyes, and therefore, if you are in San Francisco, visit this famous island. In this city you can see a lot of interesting things, you should definitely visit the beloved by many Pier 39 , once the home of fur seals.
Last updated: 20/12/2022