Location: 1 Hoa Lo Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, Vietnam.
Hoa Lo prison opening hours: 8am - 11.30 am, 1.30 pm-5pm Tue-Sun (except Mon).
Hoa Lo prison entrance fee: 20.000 VND/ adult. Free for children under 15 years old.
In addition to the rudeness of offender torture, the barbarous guillotine makes Hoa lo prison Hanoi, Vietnam become one of Vietnam destinations and among the top 5 most creepy places in Southeast Asia.
Hoa Lo prison’s view from high position (Zing)
So now, read about Hoa Lo prison’s history to feel the courage of patriotic heroes of Vietnam in the past.
Hoa lo hanoi prison, also known as Hoa lo prison museum nowadays, is located in Hoa Lo Street, Hoan Kiem district. It was built by French colony in 1896, just four years after "The hell on earth" had been started to construct in Con Dao.
Hoa lo prison, Vietnam with total area of over 12.000 m2 became one of the largest and firmest prison in Indochina region at that time.
The entrance door with the name in French carved above (Zing)
French name of this prison at that time was Maison Centrale, which means Central Prison (De Lao Trung Uong) or Hanoi prison (Nguc that Ha Noi).
This is the central prison for both Central and South region of Vietnam, containing many dens for prisoners including political ones and the patriots against French Colonial Power from 1896 to 1954. The remaining area of 2.434 m2 now is planned as a relic conservation area.
After 1954, Hoa Lo prison, Vietnam became the prison of Democratic Republic of Vietnam.
All prisoners here who are mostly Vietnamese soldiers had to incurr many savage types of torture (Zing)
This prison was designed to be enough for around 500 prisons interned and interrogated extremely barbarously.
Besides, the most awful facility is the giant guillotine making Hoa Lo prison known as one of the 10 most infamous prisons all over the world or ranked at top 5 of awful destinations in Southeast region.
A steel cangues inside the prison (Zing)
Since the early stage when its construction had not been finished, in January of 1899, Hoa Lo prison had function of jailing offenders, and its image going with all prisoners from the first to the last ones were steel cangues.
Cell rooms are small and lack of fresh air (Zing)
The detention rooms were dark and breathless with narrowed ironwood beam. The infamous and experienced jailers were willing to suppress, or even killed prisoners.
It is hard to escape when prisoners have to break these solid locks! (Zing)
French colonialist specially focused on building and choosing construction materials for this prison. The metal doors, windows and locks brought from Parris were strictly inspected before construction.
Cachot takes all spirit and hope of prisoner (Zing)
Cachot (dark detention rooms) was used to jail prisoners punished for violation of the prison's regulations or opposed behavior (organized struggle, jailbreak, or revolution propaganda).
Cachot in Hoa Lo Prison was called as "the hell of the hell" for narrow and dark detention room. The prisoners here were isolated and chained in the dark, they had to eat, sleep and relieve themselves there. Besides, prisoners weren’t able to lie due to the inclined floors.
The prisoner jailed in Cachot became puffed with oedema, blurred eyes, and got scabies due to lack of hygiene, the light, and oxygen.
Hoa Lo prison is certainly the hell in the earth (Zing)
Hoa Lo prison was so-called "hell on earth" in the central of Hanoi for prisons. They had to suffer the very fierce beats from the time going through the ironwood gate, then they were chained and barbarous torture in isolated detention rooms or cells with death sentence.
There were countless torture which Vietnamese soldiers had to incurr during the war (Zing)
This picture is hanged on Hoa Lo prison. Besides the ruse of savage torture and beats, jailers also forced prisoners to work heavily: repairing house, pounding rice, making domestic chore in living area of jailers, or going to battlefield for drudgery.
Hoa Lo political prisoners were arrested to work as slaves and beaten callously.
This corner of Hoa Lo prison is the place for prisoners under the death penalty (Zing)
The death area for prisoners under death sentence was situated at the end of this prison which must go through 3 iron gates to arrive.
The most horrible things is a guillotine – a killer coming from the middle ages (Zing)
The most awful thing in Hoa Lo is the guillotine in the middle ages. It was designed by two timber poles with the height of 4 meters and the blade hold by a bolt. Below is another girder and a narrow rest for prisoner's head.
Let’s take a closer look at thisguillotine (Zing)
Two timber panels were cut semicircles which shall shape a circle to fix the above and under half of neck for waiting the blade falling down. Inside of the cylinder were two slots for vertical falling of blades.
This sharp blade has taken many life of prisoners (Zing)
In January, 1930, the guillotine was moved to Yen Bai to execute 13 soldiers of Vietnamese Nationalist Party, who had arrested in Yen Bai revolutionary (the leader was Nguyen Thai Hoc). This savage weapon was used continuously in the prison from this prison to another prison over North Vietnam.
Hoa Lo prison also has the detention rooms for female prisoners (Zing)
Detention rooms for woman were more comfortable when the legs of female prisoners weren’t blocked, so they could take care of baby.
Tools of torture are used to maltreat the prisoners (Zing)
However, the colonial prison had extremely cruel tortures for female prisoners such as electric shock by electric motors at the Department of the police in Hanoi or walking sticks to apply into pudenda of political female prisoners.
The wall is made of steel and stone (Zing)
Surrounding this prison was the reinforcing stone walls with the height of 4m and thickness of 0.5m that remains stable after a decade.
The upper edge of the wall is covered with various pieces of glass which will scared any prisoner who wants to escape (Zing)
The fence with broken glass and electric screen made any prisoners hesitate when coming up with a jailbreak plans.
With these strict regulations, the French colonists were assured and self-satisfied with the thought of Hoa Lo Prison as a stay which “event an ant would not get through it”.
However, some prisoners had chance to break through this “hard door” (Zing)
However, there were many successful jailbreaks thanks to sawing iron bars of sewer system under the yard of the death area to escape. Some of them were rearrested; some others came back to the military base, and continued to combat.