Doftana (dubbed the Romanian Bastille) is an abandoned prison just off of Calea Doftanei (100 E), the village of Doftana, in the commune of Telega, Prahova County, Romania.
This large structure was built in 1895 under order of Carol I of Romania, due to the nearby mines. Established to house miners and workers in the area. In 1907, it became a prison for suspected communists due to a peasant uprising. Known for its extreme ways inmates were tortured, kept without warmth, not fed, held in solitary confinement and more. It became a beacon of remembrance for the Communist Party.
The Mârzescu Law was set in place in 1924, thus banning the Romanian Communist Party. Communist agitation then became punishable by death citing ‘disloyalty to the state’.
The Bolsheviks Handcuffed aka The Doftana Red was a newspaper written by prisoners starting in 1924. They did so with smuggled pencils on paper slips of cigarette foils. Once edited by multiple prisoners the papers were then set out with the local blacksmith. He would take them out rolled up in his carts after fitting prisoners with chains. Some were bottled up and sent through the storm drains down stream.
These were uncovered after the prison was closed and became a museum for a short while. Sometimes, the warden would try and control the large group of radical thinkers by banning them from communicating. When this happened they just adopted there own forms of sign language and Morse code to liaise with one another.
Some notable politicians that were jailed here include : Gheorghe Apostol, Emil Bodnăraș, Nicolae Ceaușescu, Corneliu Zelea Codreanu, Alexandru Drăghici, Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej, Alexandru Moghioroș, Grigore Preoteasa, Horia Sima and Chivu Stoica.
Other communist activists and revolutionaries imprisoned here are : Ștefan Foriș, Mihail Gheorghiu Bujor, Max Goldstein, Gheorghe Pintilie.
The minister Richard Wurmbrand was tortured and held here as well, for saying publicly that Christianity and Communism were not compatible.
An earthquake devastated the prison in 1940, after 2 had previously shaken its foundation. In 1949, the prison closed and turned into a prison. The Destruction of Doftanas, a symphonic poem by Alfred Medelssohn, was dedicated to this place. By 1977, another great earthquake led to instability of the building. In 1990, it became a historic monument.
There were thoughts for renovations through-out some of its abandonment however, none has come to pass. Come 2019, exposure to the elements has caused the majority of the roof to collapse, the inside is overgrown and nature will reclaim.
Where are the ruined grounds of the historic Doftana Prison located? You can find it with these coordinates. 45.136667, 25.773333.