Hoa Lo prison

Built in 1896 by the French colonist, Hoa Lo prison’s original name was Maison Centrale. It used to be a place to keep prisoner who fought against the colonial, especially the communist.

Mention to Ha Noi, we talk about many amazing natural sight and historical monument like Hoan Kiem lake, Ha Noi opera house, Ha Noi old quarter or temple of literature. But if you coming to this elegant city for a whole new different experience, Hoa Lo prison is a very good choice for you. It can be called “the darkside of Ha Noi”.

Next to Ha Noi tower, located in Hoa Lo street near Ly Thuong Kiet street – one of the most beautiful street in the center of Ha Noi , Hoa Lo prison was rated by CNN as one of the scariest places in the south east asia, along with Killing fields in Cambodia, Penang war museum in Malaysia,…

Built in 1896 by the French colonist, Hoa Lo prison’s original name was Maison Centrale. It used to be a place to keep prisoner who fought against the colonial, especially the communist. There were many Communists were kept and tortured there, some of them are very famous like Nguyen Van Kien or general secretary Truong Chinh.

The torture was very savage, the prisoner not only suffered from hitting, beating by educator warden, but also be disgraced by bowing, folding thier arms, naked when checking up,… They was also forced to work very hard like fixing, grinding rice, labouring and suffered many diseases because of the harsh of the enviroment.

“The meal in this prison changed weekly by regulation, in sunday we had pork, the other day we had 3 meal of old buffalo meat which was very tough and bad tasted… The meat there were even get mould, the rice had woodeater. The prisoner usualy died by disease, sometimes there were more than 40 deaths per month” Quoted from “The days that never forget” – a reminiscences by one of the politition prisoner.

The design of this prison is very crazy and impossible to escape with 4m tall and 0.5m thick surrounded wall, covered by barbed wire. Inside, there are superviser towers which mean no action could be missed. The prison also has a “Cachot” – a special room for prisoners who brake the regulations. It has a nickname called “hell of hell” where prisoners were kept inside a dark empty room with nothing at all.

After 1954, Hoa Lo prison belonged to the north Viet Nam and became a place to keep US pilot. Nowadays, Hoa Lo prison is one of the most visited dark tourism in Ha Noi with thousands of visiter, more than 70% are foreigners. You can visit the place everyday even holiday from 8AM to 5PM, with 20000VND for an adult ticket and 10000VND for a child ticket.

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