This prison was built in 1896 by the French. It was originally used to detain Vietnamese 'dissidents'. It's holding capacity was 450, but by 1930 there were almost 2000 prisoners crammed into its cells. It was also used later by the Vietnamese to detain American POW's...it was those prisoners who gave it it's nickname, "Hanoi Hilton".
We sent a lot longer here than we intended. It was horrible...but compelling. The photo's I have here are some of the less disturbing ones. I am still amazed at how cruel people can be to eachother.
Open 8am-11.30am & 1.30pm-4.30pm. Closed Monday.
Hoa La Prison is better known to Americans as the Hanoi Hilton from the Vietnam War days, but is more famous to the Vietnamese for its role in their resistence to colonialism. Here they had a great deal of exhibition space devoted to the atrocities perpetrated by the French, who built this to be the largest prison in Indochina during the late 1800's. Of course, the theme was the depravity of the French and the heroic revolutionary spirit of the imprisoned locals, none of whom ever committed any crime except patriotism. Finally, the last few rooms were devoted to its role housing prisoners from the war, to include John McCain. Since McCain was the son of the four-star admiral at the U.S. Pacific Command when he was shot down, the Vietnamese were always aware that he was a star prisoner, so they kept photos and relics (including his flight suit) from his five years there. They have since updated the exhibit to note that he is the Republican nominee in the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election, good captalists that they now are.
Known locally as the "Hanoi Hilton", the ex-prison is an interesting place to visit. The prison used to house patriots and revolutionary fighters in awful conditions, before it became a place of detention for criminal offenders and American pilots whose planes had been shot down over Vietnam. You can see the old cells, complete with leg irons, the guillotine and many exhibits showing what the prisoners wore and ate, etc. There is also a memorial garden at the rear of the prison. Two thirds of the prison were demolished in 1993, so you are only seeing the SE corner of the original site.
Open 8am-11.30am and 1.30-4.30pm Thursday to Sunday. Closed on Monday. Small entrance fee.
I enjoyed this place quite a bit as it used to be a prison but now turned into a tourist spot where you can go in and see how the inmates used to live, survived, tourtured or executed. This prison used to house John McCain, now a Senator in the US Senate.
There is an entrance fee but I don't remember how much.
Hoa Lo Prison (also known as Maison Centrale during the French colonial period) is opened daily from 8.30-11.30am and 1.30-4.30pm. This place was opened in 1896 and it was the largest French prison in Northern Vietnam Two-thirds of it was demolished in 1993 to make way for an office and apartment and a small section now remains as a museum. The Hoa Lo Prison is located along Hoa Lo Street (in between Hai Ba Trung Street and Ly Thuong Kiet Street of the French Quarter area, south of Hoan Kiem Lake).
This is one of the more interesting museum in Hanoi. Inside this museum you will see the cells that are used to accomodate vietnamese during their fight for freedom against the french and the japanese. American POW are also kept here during world war two. However the entrance of this museum is a bit hard to find but its worth the trouble.
This prision is one of hanoi's more interesting museums and it takes you on a walk around tour (following a map, although a guide can be arranged for a few extra Dong.
Inside you can see what it was like for the american POW during the vietnamese/american war. There are also bits and bobs you can view from torture instruments used on both the vietnamese under french rule, and against the americans during the war. (Including a french guillotine- which is worth visiting just to see the magnificence of it)
Its open most days except monday, from 8am til 11am, then 1pm till 4 pm
Entry is 10,000 Dong.
(ignore the motorcycle touts trying to take you, as its a quick walk there and back and this can save you some dollars or dong)
Originally built by the French in 1896, this structute was used to imprison Vietnamese dissidents. Even though the place was designed for 450 inmates there were as many as 2,000 prisoners inside by the 1930s
During the American war Hoa Lo Prison became known as the "Hanoi Hilton" by the 300 some odd pilots that were there at any one time. This prison was famous for its gruesome conditions and legendary abuses against the POWs much as the French had done to the Vietnamese.
US Senator John McCain was probably the most famous American prisoner held here. He spent two years of confinement in leg irons at Hoa Lo.
Today there is only 1/3 of the prison remaining as a museum. The Hanoi Towers now stand where the majority of the rest of the prison was. The prison is divided into two sections. To the right of the entrance the treatment of the Vietnamese by the French is explored. They beat and abused the Vietnamese prisoners and even used the guillotine to behead Vietnamese revolutionaries
To the left of the entrance there are displays about the American POWs who were held here. The displays tell of how well the prisoners were treated. Of course no country would ever lie about the way that they treat prisoners (heavy sarcasm).
Hoa Lo Prison was known as the "Hanoi Hilton" during the Vietnam War, but it wasn't due to their great hospitality. This prison was famous for its gruesome conditions and legendary abuses against the POWs. Unfortunately, about 2/3 of the prison was demolished to make way for the Hanoi Towers Hotel (thankfully, not a Hilton!), but the area of the museum that was preserved is very interesting.
The prison was originally built by the French Colonists as a fortress, then it became a prison for Vietnamese dissidents. During the Vietnam War, up to 300 American pilots were held here at any one time. For five years, US Senator John McCain was held at Hoa Lo experiencing frequent torture and two years of solitary confinement in leg irons.
When you walk through the prison it is interesting to note that it is divided into two sections. To the right of the entrance, the museum focuses on the history while the French were in power. They beat and abused the Vietnamese prisoners remorselessly. To the left of the entrance there are displays covering the era when the American POWs were held here. The displays all talk about how great the prisoners were treated (but we know the real history!).
An interesting place. It is best if you go with a guide in oder to enjoy it to the full.wow, the Vietnamese were cruel captors back then. These are photos of the art decoration on the walls.
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