Guidebook Visit the torture-filled Hanoi Hilton

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Visit the torture-filled Hanoi Hilton

The French called it Maison Central, a generic name for a colonial prison, explains Atlas Obscura The Vietnamese knew it as Hỏa Lò (which translates to “fiery furnace” after the wood stove shops common in the surrounding neighborhood) and westerners know it best as the “Hanoi Hilton.” But whatever its name, “the notorious prison housed a century of torture within its walls.”

Today, the American POW experience is made up to look like comfortable barracks, explains Trip Savvy. But “back in the day, this area was the dreaded "blue room", where “new prisoners were interrogated and tortured if they didn't comply.” As one can imagine from pictures on display at Hỏa Lò, “life as a political prisoner in Hoa Lo was no picnic.” US senator and 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain was one such prisoner -- he was shot down in 1967 and confined to Hoa Lo up until 1973 -- “his crash and torture injuries were so bad, he had not been expected to live, but was nursed back to health by his fellow POWs.”

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