The British-inspired colonial Lubiri Palace sits on top of Mengo Hill and has long served as the residence of the Buganda King. The sprawling grounds are most famously home to the underground prisons and torture chambers used by the dictator Idi Amin during the 1970s and later by President Obote for the same purpose.
The dark cement tunnels and chambers, originally built for weapons storage, once held political prisoners—sometimes in the hundreds—crammed into small cells raised up on platforms. The channel outside the cells was filled with electrified water to prevent escape attempts. While the water is gone, but the walls still display handprints and messages of despair scrawled in charcoal and mud across the cement—a testament to the atrocities committed by Amin and his secret police.
Visitors aren’t allowed into the palace itself, but they can roam the grounds and visit the infamous torture chambers. Guided tours offer added insight into the royal history of Uganda.