Alcatraz island | The Infamous prison of Alcatraz

Alcatraz island | Rahhala |

Alcatraz island in San Francisco, converted from a military installation to a federal prison in 1934, Alcatraz is one of America’s major infamous prisons.

Even with the fact it was only used as a prison for only 29 years (1934-1963), it’s probably the most famous prison in the USA.


Alcatraz island
Alcatraz prison

There are two main reasons for its being so famous

1. the type of prisoner which were prisoned there.

2. its image recorded by Hollywood’s movie makers.

Alcatraz island
Alcatraz island

Alcatraz island from Hollywood point of view

The prison on Alcatraz island isn’t that big it only houses only 250 prisoners, but because of its island location, there were never any escapes recorded from it, and that’s what induce the entertainment industry to create many movies.

  • “Escape from Alcatraz” staring by Clint Eastwood (1979).
  • “The Rock” starring by Sean Connery and Nicolas Cage.
  • TV’s “MythBusters” have proved that escape was in fact a possibility, in spite of Alcatraz’s main reputation.

Today Alcatraz, known also as the Rock, is supervised by the National Parks Service who have representatives on the Alcatraz island.

Alcatraz island
The Rock movie

Visitors will be able to ask the National Park Service staff any questions they have, but there are no guided tours around the prison.

How to spent good time at Alcatraz island

There are self-guided tours including the Cellhouse audio tour which is available in many languages, videos and exhibits make for an interesting trip around the Alcatraz island.

Alcatraz island
Cellaudio tours

The evening ferry ride out to Alcatraz offers a greater insight into the island than the daytime ones as it circles the island, and has many stories about the island’s history.

This should be balanced against the fact that there are some places of the island that not open at night because of some safety issues.


There’s no fee for visiting Alcatraz, but the ferry companies responsible for transporting visitors across the Bay do charge for their services.

Whether you are curious about the Alcatraz myth, the celebrity prisoners such as Al Capone, and Alvin Karpis, movie locations, or the historical past of San Francisco,  you’ll find Alcatraz island an interesting way to spend a few hours.