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Hoa Lo Prison, Hanoi

1 Hoa Lo Street
Hoan Kiem District
Tel: 84 4 824 6358's insider take:

About two thirds of the infamous "Hanoi Hilton" was demolished in the early 1990s for the construction of a high-rise apartment complex, but the penitentiary's remaining cells and dungeons were turned into a small, fascinating museum. The bulk of the exhibits (iron fetters, razor-sharp guillotine) recount the cruelty of French jailers during the colonial era, but a few rooms are devoted to the Vietnam War, when the jail held and tortured American prisoners of war. There are propaganda photographs of Hanoi residents "saving" an American pilot and of POWs preparing a Christmas dinner, as well as the flight suit and crash helmet of John McCain, who survived five long, brutal years after being shot down over Hanoi in 1967.

Open Tuesdays through Sundays 8 to 11:30 am and 1:30 to 4:30 pm.

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