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Descopeririea insulei

Cercetătorul spaniol Juan Manuel de Ayala a navigat în golf 1775 descoperind insula. Numele provine de
la Isla de los Alcatraces (Insula pelicanilor), păsări care populau insula.
Clădirea fortăreţei şi închisorii
In 1847 cumpără de la Mexic cu 5000 de dolari insula Alcatraz pentru SUA, lordul John Charles Fremont,
guvernator militar al Californiei. In 1854 este clădit farul, iar în 1859 este fortăreţa terminată. Din anul
1861 Alcatraz a fost folosit ca închisoare pentru prinzionerii de război, din Războiul civil american. In
1903 închisoarea este închisă, starea clădirii fiind foarte proastă. În anul 1906 au început pregătirile de
reînoire, însă în acelaşi an cutremurul distruge din nou clădirea. Astfel reconstruirea fortului durează din
1906 până în 1911. Fortul este definitiv transformat în 1933 în închisoare federala.
Închisoare cu o securitate deosebită
La 12 octombrie 1933 au început lucrările de transformare a fortăreţei în închisoare, fiind dat în la 1
ianuarie 1934 în funcţiune ca închisoare federală a SUA.
Din cauza apei reci şi curenţilor puternici din golf, devine „The Rock“ (Stânca) din punct de vedere a
securităţii o închisoare ideală. Primii aduşi aici (1934) sunt 53 de deţinuţi din Atlanta. Alcatraz rămâne 29
de ani cu 302 (în total 1.576) de deţinuţi, închisoare cu toate protestele şi demonstraţiile pentru drepturile
omului până la 21 martie 1963 când va fi definitiv închisă. Aici au fost în detenţie gangsteri renumiţi ca:
Al Capone (1934-39), Robert Franklin Stroud (1942-59), George "Machine Gun" Kelly (1934-51) şi Alvin
"Creepy" Karpis (1936-62).
Situaţia deţinuţilor
Pe insulă se găsesc 302 deţinuţi, paznici cu familiile lor fiind la fel 300 de persoane civile, din care 80 de
copii. In 29 de ani au fost 36 de încercări de evadare, dintre care nici una reuşită. Celulele deţinuţilor
aveau suprafaţa de 1,5 x 2,7 m, cu lavoar, toaletă şi pat. Timpul petrecut în celulă era între 18 şi 23 de ore
pe zi, excepţii se făceau (prin care se înţelege şi dreptul la muncă) celor care dovedeau o purtare
excepţională. In cantină erau montate deschideri, prevăzute în caz de nevoie, pentru gaze lacrimogene.
Alcatraz fiind unica închisoare din SUA cu duşuri cu apă caldă, pentru a nu permite deţinuţilor în cazul
evadării de a se obişnui cu apa rece din golf.
Încercări de evadare
In 29 de ani n-a reuşit conform statisticilor, nici un deţinut să evadeze, evadaţii au murit împuşcaţi, înecaţi
în apa rece, sau mâncaţi de rechini. Se presupune că i-ar fi reuşit unui singur deţinut evadarea, fiind dus
de curentul puternic la nord de Golden Gate..Iar inca 55 detinuti sunt dati disparuti dar despre care se
spune ca sunt morti!
Vizitarea Alcatrazului este partial o experiente ghidata pe care o poti realiza in ritmul propriu.Personalul
parcului ofera numeroase programe gratis in timpul zilei pe diferite teme:evadari,istorie militara,ocupatii
americano-indiene, istorie naturala,etc.
Odata ce ai ajuns pe insula poti sta cat de mult sau de putin doresti- este un feribot care pleaca la fiecare
jumatate de ora spre San Francisco. In general se recomanda o vizita de cel putin 2-3 ore pentru a vedea
intreaga insula.
La sosirea pe docul Alcatrazului vei fi primit de un reprezentat al Serviciului Parcului National care iti va
oferi informatii legate de activitatile speciale disponibile in acea zi cat si informatii de orientare.
Turul de seara difera de cel de zi in cateva moduri.Feribotul de seara face inconjorul Alcatrazului in timp
ce se prezinta istoria Alcatrazului.La ajungearea pe doc, vizitatorii primesc un ghid de la doc pana la
celule si deasemenea au oportunitatea de a participa la alte tururi, activitati si demonstratii oferite de a
lungul serii.Unele zone care sunt deschise ziua sunt inchise seara din cauza sigurantei.In general, daca
preferi sa explorezi de unul singur s ar putea sa preferi turul organizat ziua, daca preferi o experienta
„ghidata” vei prefera programul de seara(in general disponibil de Joi pana Luni).
De multe ori biletele pentru Alcatraz se cand cu o saptamana inainte vara si in perioada
sarbatorilor.Este recomandat sa iti cumperi biletul dinainte.
Vremea pe insula poate fi imprevizibila si se poate schimba foarte repede-poate fi cald si soare in oras si
foarte frig pe insula.Uneori zilele de vara se aseamana cu cele de iarna datorita vantului puternic si cetii
dense. There is no food service available on the island - only water is available on site. Eating, drinking
and smoking is only allowed at the dock level.
Be aware that Alcatraz is a sanctuary for thousands of seabirds - feeding or disturbing any wildlife is not
permitted.
As Alcatraz has no entrance fee park passes do not apply - charge is for the private ferry service to and
from the island only.

Did You Know?
Every year thousands of American Indians return to Alcatraz Island to honor the veterans of the 1969
occupation by Indians of All Tribes and to continue their political struggle for self determination.

ALCATRAZ CRUISES - PIER 33
The only way to get to Alcatraz is by a ferry operated by Alcatraz Cruises, LLC. They are located on
The Embarcadero near the intersection of Bay Street - just a bit south east of Fisherman's Wharf. There
is no parking at Pier 33. See map below.
PARKING
On street parking in the area can be difficult to find, especially during peak summer visitation season,
and nearly every street space has a parking meter with a time limit insufficient for an Alcatraz visit. An
"Accessibility Drop Off Zone" is located at the entrance to Alcatraz Cruises - Pier 33 for visitors with
special needs arriving by automobile. There are fifteen commercial lots within a five-block radius of the
Alcatraz Cruises - Pier 33, with a total of more than 3,000 parking spaces. However we recommend
public transportation if at all possible. Be aware that prices for parking in this area can vary greatly, as
little as $8-10 for all day, to as high as $6 an hour. As a visit to Alcatraz can easily take 2 to 3 hours (or
more) it can be worth while to shop around for parking. It is even better to take public transportation
when possible.
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION
When in San Francisco public transportation is the best way to get around. The Muni F Line runs along
Market Street (east) then turns north on The Embarcadero, and runs right past the ferry terminal (on
your right) and then on through Fisherman's Wharf. For detailed information on mass transit in San
Francisco please visit the San Francisco Municipal Railway web site.
Q. How long did the penitentiary on Alcatraz operate?
A. 28 years and eight months. Officially titled "U.S. Penitentiary, Alcatraz", the institution opened on
July 1, 1934 and closed on March 21, 1963.
Q. How many cells were there?
A. There are 336 "main line" cells and 42 "solitary confinement" cells in the cellhouse. The prison was
never filled, though, and the average population was about 260 men. The highest occupancy was 302
convicts.
Q. What was the average convict's stay?
A. About eight years. Men were never sentenced directly to Alcatraz, but rather had to earn their way
onto the island through bad behavior at another federal institution. Alcatraz was sometimes called "the
prison within the prison system." Good behavior could earn a convict a transfer to another federal
institution, but almost never a direct release from prison.
Q. Did anyone ever escape from Alcatraz?
A. Not according to the government. During the period the Federal penitentiary operated, 36 prisoners
were involved in 14 separate escape attempts. 23 were caught, six were shot and killed, and two drowned.
Five men disappeared and were never seen again, but the overwhelming odds are that they drowned and
that their bodies were never recovered. One prisoner made it as far as the rocks beneath the Golden
Gate Bridge, where he was found unconscious and near death. He was returned to the island within 24
hours.
However, when Alcatraz operated as a military prison between 1861 and 1933, an unknown number of
men escaped directly from the island or from work parties on the mainland.
Q. How many prisoners were executed at Alcatraz?
A. None. Alcatraz had no facilities for capital punishment, and no one was ever sent to the island with a
death sentence. Alcatraz inmates who committed capital offenses while on the island were tried in federal
court, sentenced to death, and transferred to San Quentin State Penitentiary for execution in the gas
chamber.
Q. Are there man-eating sharks in the bay?
A. No. Although San Francisco Bay is teeming with sharks, the majority are small species such as Brown
Smooth Hound sharks and Leopard sharks that average only a few feet in length and have no interest in
attacking people. Great white sharks (unfairly made infamous by the movie "Jaws") rarely venture
inside the bay, even though they are numerous in Pacific Ocean waters just outside the Golden Gate.
Q. Is the island honeycombed with tunnels and dungeons?
A. Sort of. The extensive network of tunnel shown in the movie "The Rock" are fictional and only existed
on a Hollywood soundstage. The tunnels on the island are much less impressive.
The prison building sits atop the remains of a 19th century soldier barracks built in 1857 by the military
as part of the original fort on Alcatraz. When the army completed the prison in 1912, they converted
several of these old rooms into underground solitary confinement cells officially designated "dungeons."
The army continued to use these underground cells until they closed the Disciplinary Barracks in 1934.
The Bureau of Prisons continued using them as late as 1938. Warden James Johnston ordered the
dungeons abandoned when the modern solitary confinement unit ("D Block") was completed in 1941.
Q. How long was Al Capone on Alcatraz?
A. 4½ years. Capone arrived on the island on August 22, 1934 along with 52 other convicts from Atlanta
Federal Penitentiary, Georgia. He had several jobs on the island including sweeping the cellhouse and
working in the laundry. Capone was not popular on Alcatraz; he received no special privileges, but his
notoriety made him a target for other cons. Capone got into a fight with another inmate in the recreation
yard and was placed in isolation for eight days. While Capone was working in the prison basement, an
inmate standing in line waiting for a haircut stabbed him with a pair of shears. Capone eventually
became symptomatic from syphilis, a disease he had been carrying for years but had avoided treating. In
early 1939 the authorities transferred him to Federal Correction Institute Terminal Island in Southern
California to serve out the remainder of his 11-year sentence.
Q. Did the Birdman really have birds on Alcatraz?
A. No. Robert Stroud, the so-called "Birdman of Alcatraz" actually carried out all of his bird breeding
activities and avian research while at the U.S. Penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kansas, where he was
imprisoned from 1914 to 1942. The prison authorities actually sent him to Alcatraz to get him away from
his birds and out of the public’s attention. While at Alcatraz, Stroud spent six years in solitary
confinement in D Block and an additional eleven years in the prison hospital. He had no birds on
Alcatraz, but spent most of his time reading and writing. Declining health led to his transfer in 1959 to
the Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Missouri, where he died on November 21, 1963.
Q. Was Alcatraz really as bad as it was portrayed in the movies?
A. No. Hollywood produced many movies that over-dramatized Alcatraz, especially during the 1930s and
1940s, often depicting brutal guards and violent episodes that had no basis in reality. Alcatraz was a
tough prison but it was a fair one; most former convicts will grudgingly admit the island was safer and
better run than many other prisons where they spent time.
For more information on how the island has been portrayed (and misrepresented) in the movies visit the
Golden Gate National Park Conservancy’s special exhibit "Alcatraz and Hollywood: Escape from
Reality!".
Q. Is Alcatraz haunted?
A. Spiritualists and people who want to believe in ghosts often claim to pick up haunted auras and
ghostly feelings when visiting Alcatraz. However, there are no authenticated cases of ghost sightings by
any of Alcatraz’s residents over the years, whether they were soldiers, prisoners, correctional officers,
family members or park rangers.
In mijlocul unui golf rece si cenusiu, inconjurata de ape adanci si tumultoase sta o insula stancoasa pe
care celebra insula Alcatraz a fost construita pentru a tine inchisi cei mai temuti criminali ai Americii.
Alcatraz nu a fost construita cu gandul la reabilitarea detinutilor. Din 1934 si pana in 1963, cand a fost
inchisa, inchisoarea a fost un loc care inspira frica si un loc in care detinutii erau pedepsiti. Aici, foarte
multi detinuti dificili erau trimisi pentru a marturisi crimele comise si erau chinuiti, dezbracati si baturi,
privati de lumina si mancare; multi sfarseau morti sau ramaneau cu sechele psihice.
Nu este de mirare ca celulele si peretii inchisorii Alcatraz au absorbit toata energia negativa a acestor
atrocitati care s-au petrecut aici. Parapsihologii sugereaza ca acest gen de torturi si decese traumatizante
isi lasa amprenta pe locurile unde se petrec si cauzeaza efecte ciudate, pe care oamenii le atribuie
fantomelor sau spiritelor malefice.

Alcatraz
Inainte de a fi inchisoare federala, insula a gazduit detinuti militari care erau tinuti legati in lanturi si
dormeau direct pe piatra in frig si ploaie. Acestia erau lasati sa isi duca zilele inconjurati de boli si de
propria mizerie. La sfarsitul razboiului civil, capeteniile indiene care refuzau sa isi cedeze pamanturile si
sa renunte la titlurile lor, au fost aduse aici – multa lume crede ca acesti indieni sunt responsabili pentru
cele mai vechi activitati paranormale. Indienii credeau inca dinainte de fi deportati aici ca Alcatraz era
locul unde se intalneau spritele rele. La inceputul secolului 20, numarul de condamnati a crescut foarte
mult si acestia au fost pusi la munca pentru a extinde inchisoarea.
In anii 20 si 30 Alcatraz era deja o fortareata unde puteau fi inchise nume mari cum ar fi Al Capone,
Robert Stroud, Machine Gun Kelly, Doc Barker si Alvin Karpis. Capone a fost inchis in carcerele din
Alcatraz de mai multe ori si in ciuda faptului ca avea impresia ca este o celebritate, a sfarsit ca un om cu
probleme psihice puternice. Mai multi oameni si-au luat viata si au suferit caderi nervoase la Alcatraz
decat in orice alta inchisoare. In Alcatraz au existat detinuti care si-au sfasiat maruntaiele, si-au taiat
singuri gatul sau au stat in izolare completa luni la rand. Alcatraz este un loc in care activitatile
paranormale sunt raportate de foarte multe persoane.
Pe timpul zilei, turistii in cautare de senzatii tari viziteaza inchisoarea. Noaptea insa lucrurile se
schimba: se aud zgomote ciudate de pe coridoarele blocate iar paznicii au raportat ca se aud zgomote de
oameni ce alearga in zona ruinata a inchisorii. Se aud soapte din fostul spital si tipete din celulele
inchisorii care sunt reci chiar si cand afara e canicula, unde capeteniile indiene erau incarcerate. Celula
14D, una dintre carceri, era temuta si de detinuti; acestia spuneau ca vedeau aici o pereche de ochi rosii –
un detinut care s-a strangulat in aceasta celula a fost vazut apoi la apel intre ceilalti detinuti. De
asemenea au fost raportate o multime de focuri de arma fantomatice, inainte si dupa ce a fost scoasa din
uz inchisoarea.
Capone si-a petrecut mult timp spre sfarsitul sederii sale in Alcatraz cantand la banjo si mai multi
oameni au auzit sunete ciudate de banjo de la dusuri, locul unde Capone era lasat sa repete pentru ca ii
era frica sa nu fie asasinat daca iesea in curte. Chiar daca Al Capone a fost transferat, si-a servit sentinta
si a fost eliberat, se crede ca sufletul sau dezorientat si-a lasat amprenta asupra locului impreuna cu alte
suflete torturate.
Peste un milion de turisti viziteaza in fiecare an inchisoarea Alcatraz, iar printe ei se numara multi
vanatori de fantome si spiritisti care sunt deseori dezamagiti. Printre vizitatori sunt multi insa care
resimt o serie de efecte care pot fi puse pe seama energiilor negative acumulate aici. Daca exista locuri pe
pamant unde raul este inradinat adanc atunci probabil acest loc este Alcatraz!

Did You Know?
Some birds such as gulls, cormorants, and other seabirds can drink salt water.
Excess salt is then excreted through a “salt gland” located near their eyes.

Visiting Information (See Below) It is imperative that you visit the official NATIONAL PARKS SERVICE
website (listed below) to check on availability, terms and conditions and any changes which may not be
reflected on this website. Here is a quick summary of the most frequently asked visitor questions and these
details are provided in greater depth on the NPS website. The National Parks Service maintains an
excellent website and must be considered required reading prior to making any travel arrangements to
Alcatraz. Their website also includes an excellent collection of audio & visual media materials for
researchers and visitors.

OPERATING HOURS & SEASONS

The hours of operation vary with the season - departures are available about every half hour throughout
the day beginning at 9:00am. Evening tours and combined Angel Island - Alcatraz Island tours are also
available depending on the season. Alcatraz is open every day except Christmas and New Year's Day.

TICKETS

Alcatraz Island frequently sells out - up to a week in advance in summer and near holidays, and
sometimes even several weeks in advance. It is strongly recommended that you purchase your tickets in
advance. Please see the Fees & Reservations section on the National Parks Service under PLAN YOUR
VISIT for additional information including links to purchase tickets online.

WEATHER

The weather on Alcatraz can be some what unpredictable and can change quickly - it may be warm and
sunny in the city and very windy and cool on the island. Summer days can sometimes be as cool as winter
due to thick fog and strong winds. We recommend dressing in layers.

FOOD

There is no food service available on the island - only water is available on site. Eating, drinking and
smoking are only allowed at the dock level.

FEES & RESERVATIONS

There is no entrance fee to visit Alcatraz Island. However there is a charge for the ferry service to and
from the island which is supplied by a private company under contract with the National Park Service.
For additional information on schedules, prices, and to purchase tickets in advance (tickets are made
available about 60 days in advance) please visit the Alcatraz Cruises website.

The price includes the cellhouse audio tour, which is available in English, German, French, Italian,
Japanese, Mandarin and Dutch.