The Hoa Lo Prison, sarcastically coined the Hanoi Hilton by American POWs, was originally built by the French to house Vietnamese political prisoners.
The history of Hanoi Hilton (Hoa Lo Prison)
Hoa Lo Prison used to take up the whole block. In 1993, the Vietnamese government decided that this prime real estate in downtown Hanoi could be put to better use. Most of the original jail has gone, a modern skyscraper with high-end Western restaurants and boutique stores now takes up much of the space. But one corner of the original jail has been preserved as a museum. Visitors can now walk through the cells that has been the scene of so much suffering.
What to see
The North Vietnamese Army later used the prison to house prisoners of war during the Vietnam War. Well known figures such as Senator John McCain, James Stockdale and Bud Day were just a few of the many prisoners of war that spent time in this prison. Two thirds of the prison was torn down to make way for the Hanoi Towers; the rest was turned into a museum and is now a popular tourist attraction in Hanoi. In 1999 a Hilton Hotel opened in Hanoi and was carefully named the Hilton Hanoi Opera Hotel.