Image: National Park Service

For three decades, California’s Alcatraz Island was home to America’s most feared prison. Set more than a mile from land in San Francisco Bay, the jail was considered inescapable. Anyone who tried would face a long, cold swim through the chill waters of the bay, assailed by harsh currents. Not everyone was deterred, though, but officially none succeeded.

Image: Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images

Ten years after it closed, the prison opened up to visitors. These days, close to a million people come to Alcatraz annually – just for the day or evening. The lure of the jail is strong, making it an attraction for tourists from around the globe, seeking a taste of its grim history.

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