Hoa Lo Prison was built by French colonialists in 1896 to hold thousands of Vietnamese revolutionary fighters. From 1954 it was used by the Vietnamese government for holding criminals, and during the Vietnam war it earned it’s nickname of the “Hanoi Hilton” when it was used for captured American pilots. It was closed in 1993 and partly demolished, but what does remain is now a visitors centre and small museum.
It’s an interesting place, if somewhat macabre at times. There are figures chained in cells, a guillotine which was used to execute prisoners during French colonial rule, and a shrine to commemorate the revolutionary heroes (as they are referred to) that suffered and died there. Although it’s a relatively small site now there’s a lot of information if you watch the documentaries available and read every sign fully. Obviously the information regarding the sixties and seventies is very one sided but you would expect that. All in all it’s well worth spending an hour here.