Temple of Literature is a Temple of Confucius in Hanoi, Vietnam, known as “Imperial Academy” (or Van Mieu in Vietnamese). It is in the list of top 10 things to see for Hanoi tourists.
Being an ancient school of Thang Long and the first university in Vietnam, the Temple of Literature is acknowledged as an ancient historical-cultural heritage which gives tourists deeper understanding about Hanoi’s old years of culture and education.
History of Temple of Literature Hanoi
The temple was built in 1070 at the time of King Ly Thanh Tong to dedicate to Confucius, sages and scholars. Later, in 1076, King Ly Nhan Tong continued the work and built it to be the Quoc Tu Giam. This Hanoi’s must-see is also considered as the first university of Vietnam.
Structure of Temple of Literature Hanoi
The temple is divided into five court yards, each with its own significance and history.
The first courtyard stretches from the main gate to Dai Trung gate.
The second stands out with Khue Van Cac pavilion – Constellation of Literature pavilion, a symbol of Hanoi today.
The third courtyard is for Stelae of Doctors – where 116 steles of carved blue stone turtles with elaborate motifs to honor talent and encourage study. If you visit the temple at the beginning of the year or in May when many important examinations take place, you will catch sights of numerous students who come and rub the tortoise head. Such an act is believed to bring them luck to pass the examinations or get good results in study.
The fourth courtyard is dedicated for Confucius with his 72 honored students and Chu Van An- a famous teachers known for his devotion to teaching. This is also where local authorities choose to cherish brilliant students in Hanoi, like those with top entrance results to university or top graduates.
The last and also furthest courtyard is Thai Hoc house, which used to be Quoc Tu Giam – the first university of Vietnam. Thai Hoc house holds a small collection of old time costumes for students and mandarins, as well as explaining the process of taking and passing the national examinations.
As one of must-see in Hanoi, the visitor can see the old-style and specialized architecture for centuries of Vietnam with the Temple of literature (or Van Mieu – Quoc Tu Giam) – houses made of wood and tiles. Along the pass way are hundred-year-old trees that have witnessed ups and downs of history.
Though under lots of restoration work, the temple still retains its very first original shape to be one of worthy sightseeing in Hanoi, captivating to a huge number of tourists elsewhere.
A space of peace, green trees and solemnity covers wholly this temple – a temple of historical and traditional love for study, giving the visitors live feeling about the Confucianism.