Hoa Lo prison: symbol of indomitable spirit of the Vietnamese people
The Hanoitimes - Standing at the heart of Hanoi city, Hoa Loa prison was proof of a revolutionary fighting period, a symbol of fearless determination and the resilient spirit of the Vietnamese patriots who were imprisoned here by the French colonists.
The structure is a symbol of the nation’s fearless determination in struggle and the resilient spirit of the Vietnamese patriots
The facility was so strongly fortified that it earned the fame of being unbreakable. Next to the prison is the Criminal Court and the Secret Police headquarters, forming a tripod to suppress the revolutionary movements. A wall with steel bars of 4m high and 0.5m thick surrounded the facility, reinforced by a high-voltage electric barbwire system. Watchtowers were set up at the four corners of the prison to observe every move of prisoners. Its iron doors, locks were imported from France. The cells, the stifling solitary confinement and the merciless wardens who killed inmates without hesitation earned the prison the alias “hell on earth” of Hoa Lo prison.
Hoa Lo prison was once considered as “hell on earth”
After the liberation of the North, the prison remained as a penitentiary facility. Between August 5, 1964 to March 31, 1973 Hoa Lo was where American pilots shot down while bombing North Vietnam were incarcerated. The US prisoners sarcastically called Hoa Lo as “Hanoi Hilton”. Among the imprisoned American pilots included Douglas Peter Peterson, who later became the first US ambassador to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, and John Mc Cain, a US Senator.
Nowadays, Hoa Lo prison is one of the most attractive tourist destinations in Hanoi.
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