Mamertine Prison

IMG_7823 Compared to other very famous architecture monuments in Rome, Mamertain Prison was very unfamiliar for me at the first time I heard it. I guess it’s same to most of the people. I went there around 10 in the morning, and I was the first person who visited there. A woman who worked in there said she will turn on the light, and after 10 minutes of waiting, I could get in. Even it was relatively sunny day, after I went into the basement, it was very dark that I needed to turn on my phone flash light. I was by myself, in the dark prison, honestly I was scared. I almost heard ancient prisoner’s scream. About 10 minutes later, a woman came in and said the light was off and she turned on it for me. Anyways, it was very ‘prison’ experience for me. Close look at the Mamertine sign, on top of it proclaims ‘prison of the Saints and Apostles Peter and Paul’ 11072354_757767234338710_1925002541_n 11063087_757767291005371_1516755418_n This stairs bring people to the lower room of the prison, where prisoners were actually imprisoned. 11072200_757767304338703_2105681074_n Yes, it was this dark. In the basement, the manhole is the only natural light source. Back in the time, food was provided from this hole. In fact, in the old Roman time, the stairway did not exist. This hole was the only link between two chambers up and down. Prisoners were thrown to die slowly in the lower chamber. Prisoners were high offenders that 99% of them were going to surely executed. However they were already died before since the Mamertine’s original use was cistern. Cold water was filled in the cold rock prison, and there were no exits, no one for saving them. The filled water killed them and the bodies were emitted to the water. A tomb was such a luxury for them. 11041366_757767314338702_170142583_n These two people are Apostles Peter and Paul. They were keep the door locked.11040068_757767261005374_1461494658_n

This is the view from came out from the upper chamber. It is interesting to see the contrast between the prison space and outer Roman forum that represents Roman prosper.

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One thought on “Mamertine Prison

  1. How fascinating to read of your experience at the Mamertine Prison. It sounds so foreboding and forbidding. Were you the only visitor there? I have been there three times and I don’t remember it as dark, but definitely claustrophobic. The last time, there was a class of young French boys. Just as we arrived they started singing a Capella. The acoustics were splendid It had quite the opposite effect of what you describe.

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