Constructed by the French in 1896; mainly to house political prisoners it was taken over by the Vietnamese in 1954. From 1964 to 1973 it was a major POW detention facility with some of the famous inmates including U.S. Sen. John McCain, Pete Peterson, the ambassador to Vietnam, and Lt. Everett Alvarez, officially the first American pilot to be shot down over Vietnam. To the west of the main complex is the guillotine room, still with its original equipment, and the female and Vietnamese political prisoners' quarters. The courtyard linking the two has parts of original tunnels once used by a hundred Vietnamese revolutionaries who escaped the jail in 1945. Visiting hours are from 8am – 5pm, and an admission fee has to be paid.
Address: 1 Hoa Lo St, Hanoi