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An experience we will never forget
March 24, 2012

Temple of Literature

Temple of Literature is a historical complex at the corner of Nguyen Thai Hoc St, Ton Duc Thang St and Quoc Tu Giam St. It is just a short walk from Hang Bong St of the Old Quarter. Built in 1070, Temple of Literature is dedicated to Confucius, in 1076 it became the first university of Vietnam by establishing Quoc Tu Giam or Imperial Academy within the temple to educate bureaucrats, nobles, royalty and other members of the elite. In 1253 it was renamed to "National College". This must see temple is not only a place to discover Vietnamese ancient architecture but also an oasis of tranquility amidst Hanoi's neverending traffic chaos.


A brief history ...

The Literature Temple (Van Mieu) was constructed in 1070 during the reign of King Ly Thanh Tong to worship Confucius. This is also the first national university of Vietnam, a Confucian academy, first for the princes and mandarin only, but later distinction students of ordinary families also being accepted. This place also honored 82 doctorates who had passed through a number of rigid exams held here in feudal ages. Their names, birthdays and birthplaces are engraved in 82 headstones perched on crafted tortoises. It is well believed that touching the heads of these tortoises will bring luck.


Temple of Literature is a historical complex, consisting of five main courtyards. The best feature of the site is perhaps its peaceful and gorgeous settings with nicely maintained lawns, gardens and lotus ponds. There are 3 gates at the entrance: according to Confucian thought, the main gate was used by the King, the other  two smaller ones used by mandarins, candidates and lower ranking people. This shows respect for the King and humility and patience the other side.

This is a must see in Hanoi. Opening hours are from 8am to 5pm daily and entrance fee is VND 5,000 at the time of writing.


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