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• Site Around City
 
 • Hoan Kiem Lake • West Lake • Army Museum • Fine Art Museum • History Museum • Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum • Maison Centrale • Museum of Ethnology • Old Quarter Streets • One Pillar Pagoda • Opera House • Saint Joseph Cathedral • Temple of Literature • Co Loa Historical Site • Hanoi Flag Tower • Kim Lien Pagoda • Ly Quoc Su Pagoda • Quan Su Pagoda • Revolution Museum • Vietnam Women's Museum • White Horse Temple • Water Puppet • Bat Trang Pottery Village • Co Loa Festival • Dong Da Festival • Dong Festival • Dong Nhan Festival • Festival of Five Moc Villages • Lang Festival • Le Mat Village Festival • Tay Ho Temple Festival • Tay Ho Temple Festival • Trieu Khuc Village Festival • Voi Phuc Festival • Vong Village • Yen Phu Incense Village • Friendship Cultural Palace • Hanoi Young Pioneer Palace • Hanoi Zoological Garden • Thong Nhat Park • Friendship Cultural Palace • Ho Tay Water Park
 
Maison Centrale

The Hoa Lo Prison:

(Open time: 00.08 to 11.00, and 13.00 to 16.00 daily)

Known as the ‘Maison Centrale’ by the French and as the ‘Hanoi Hilton' by US GIs, Hoa Lo is one of the three ‘must-see’ icons of the American War, on a par with China Beach and the Cu Chi tunnels. However, it is also the one most likely to lead to disappointment. Once a massive French-built prison accommodating over two thousand prisoners at its peak, it became notorious as the temporary home of large numbers of captured enemy soldiers and airmen, mostly American.

The infamous 'Hanoi Hilton'However, during the 1990s, virtually all the area was demolished to make way for a modern tower block of apartments and offices called the Hanoi Towers. On the south-east corner of the site, the entrance lobby and a few of the cells have been retained as a small museum.

Standing on the opposite side of the road, the building is dwarfed to insignificance by its huge neighbour, making it difficult to imagine its gruesome (and somewhat exaggerated!) history. It contains several interesting exhibits, including the heavily-used guillotine that was the centrepiece of the French judicial system in Vietnam, and is worth a visit. A guide is essential, though, as only Vietnamese is used throughout.

 
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