Address: Ushuaia Naval Base, San Martin and Yaganes streets
Phone: Prison, (+54) 901-437481; Train to the End of the World, (+54) 901-31600
Location: Ushuaia, Tierra Del Fuego, Argentina
Highlights: The world's southernmost prison and steam-powered excursions on a convict-built railway
When Prisoners entered the southernmost prison in the world on Argentina's side of the Tierra Del Fuego, they must have felt like they hit rock bottom. The prison was opened in 1896 designed to accommodate 386 prisoners in single-occupancy six-by-nine-foot cells, but by 1913 up to 1,000 inmates were crammed four to a cell. Conditions were severe for inmates who, along with enduring extreme cold of an island situated only 625 miles from Antarctica, had to wear leg irons and heavy jailbird-style striped uniforms. Discipline was harsh. First here were imprisoned military criminals, but eventually repeat offenders and political criminals — fully participated in Ushuaia's local economy. Convicts constructed streets and bridges along with supplying the town with telephone, electricity and firefighting services. Prisoners built the world's southernmost railroad to link the prison to a timber area. Nowadays the Train to the End of the World provides daily steam-driven excursions in replicas of English passenger wagons. It was closed since 1947, the Presidio and the Maritime Museum of Ushuaia are located on the grounds of an Argentine naval base.