Prison Castle, Coimbra

The San Sebastian aqueduct rests against a blank stone wall that surrounds an entire block. Behind the fence, you can see a snow-white building similar to a church. However, this is not a religious institution, it houses the prison of the province of Coimbra (Estabelecimento Prisional de Coimbra), built as a result of the reform of the criminal code and the regime of detention of prisoners in 1867. The new Code replaced all previous types of punishments: the death penalty, hard labor and deprivation of civil rights with solitary confinement, which completely excluded communication between prisoners. I must say that complete isolation did not mean constant stay in the cell, prisoners could attend church and library, play sports, and also do some work. To fulfill these conditions, in 1875, engineer Ricardo Julio Ferraz (Ricardo Júlio Ferraz) developed a standard design of a correctional institution, which were implemented in Lisbon, Santarem and Coimbra. The English prison layout was taken as a basis, using neo-Renaissance architecture with elements of the Victorian era, which gave rise to the widespread use of metal structures - columns, stairs, galleries.