Locate in city center, Hoa Lo Prison is also known as the “Hanoi Hilton” that was used by French colonists in Vietnam to keep Vietnamese political prisoners during Vietnam War. The prison was built by the French in 1896 with huge-scale prison camp holding around 450 prisoners and the number increased up to 2000 people. Most of them were political prisons.
The prison also has other name “Hanoi Hilton” because become the place keeping dowed US pilots, who ironically nick-named it the Hanoi Hilton. It was named Maison Centrale during the French rule –it still hangs over the entrance of the prison – almost the parts of the prison complex were demolished in 1997 to make way for the Hanoi Central Tower building. The Hoa Lo Prison Museum was created on the basis of preserved old prison. The museum exhibits many instruments of torture and other horrifying objects solitary confinement cells dating from the French-colonial period.