The Temple of Literature (Van Mieu) is one of the oldest sights in Hanoi. It was founded in 1070 by Emperor Ly Tranh Tong, and is a shrine to the Chinese philosopher Confucius. A very beautiful and tranquil place, and without doubt the most impressive temple we visited in Hanoi.
The Temple of Literature consists of five courtyards. The first two are basically gardens; the third courtyard has a large pond (the Well of Heavenly Clarity) and it is also here you find the stele honouring the university's candidates; the fourth courtyard is home of the Great House of Ceremonies and a large statue of Confucius; finally - the last courtyard is the Thai Hoc, holding the large two stories main hall, and a drum and bell tower.
The fifth courtyard also contained the buildings of the former Quoc Tu Giam (School for the Sons of the Nation), but they were destroyed by a French bombing in 1947. Quoc Tu Giam opened in 1076 as the first university in Vietnam. In the beginning it was only for mandarins, but later for all people. The university was closed in the late 18th century when Emperor Gia Long transferred it functions to the new capital at Hue.
The temple of literature is dated back to 1070 and is the oldest university in Hanoi and was for centuries the place where the emperor recruited his mandarins for his goverment.
It's dedicated to confucius and his ideas were taught there.
These days it's a national monument and open to the public and very interesting to see.
It's pretty much in the center of Hanoi and quite easy to get to.
It consists of four courtyards with the last one having a temple dedicated to Confucius and there is a statue of him in there.
This is such an amazing place to visit in Hanoi. This is not a temple but a huge compound with beautiful gates, lakes, courtyard, museum, and etc. It was the first Vietnam University back in 1070 built by King Ling Ly Nha Tong to dedicate Confucius, Sages, and Scholars. It had been reconstructed by several dynasties due to war and other disasters. Until now, it is still one of the most important venues for people of Vietnam to host cultural and educational events.
Several attraction including Turtle Steles, Well of Heavenly Clarity, Lake of Literature, and Constellation of Literature Pavilion.
Opening hours: 8am-5pm everyday.
Don't miss this place!!
This is History!
The Temple of Literature was founded in the year 1070, and was dedicated to the Chinese Philosopher, CONFUCIOUS.
In 1076, it became Vietnam's 1st University. An archeological study has found that the majority of the site belongs to Ly (1010-1225) and Tran (1225 - 1400), it really is very old.
There are side passages between the five courtyards, and these were used by Royalty who entered through the main gate, and students had to enter via the side passage ways.
The open pavillions in the courtyards were used for students to study. The 1st two courtyards are mainly gardens and trees, with the third courtyard being taken up by a large pond called 'The Well of heavenly clarity"
On either sides, there are pavillions with steles which are sitting on top of a large Tortoise. These steles honour the schools successful doctorate candidates.
The next courtyard is the Sage courtyard which is paved and has buildings on three sides. Here, is the "great house of ceremonies " and inside is a large lacquered statue of Confucious.
The last courtyard is Thai Hoc, and here you find the large Drum and Bell Tower.
We visited here on a city tour, and this made it all the more interesting as we were told the details of all we were looking at.
ADMISSION IN 2011.....12,000 DONG
CHILDREN UNDER 15 years of age are allowed in for free.
It is open Tuesday to Sunday from 7.30 to 6 pm (8 am to 5 pm from November to March
The Temple of Literature, built in 1070, was a temple to Confucius. It was also Viet Nam’s first university and functioned for more than 700 years, from 1076 to 1779, educating the country's nobles, royalty, mandarins and other elite. Those who graduated had their names engrave on the stone stele that sit on large stone turtles in the temple.
The temple consists of a series of 5 landscaped courtyards. The first two are primarily gardens. The third one has a lotus pond and the stellae. The final courtyard holds the shrine to Confucius.
The Temple of Literature was for me, the single most enjoyable “sight” that I was able to spend time at during my brief stay in Ha Noi.
I thoroughly enjoyed the few hours that I took to walk the grounds here. Van Mieu or the Temple of Literature as it is commonly known as offers a small sanctuary in the heart of the city, its peaceful, beautiful, and in my mind screams “Serenity”.
I spent time here wandering around, taking photos and just soaking up as much of the ambiance that I could. I didn’t rush this at all. I spent time talking with a man that had shared our train berth North to Lao Cai…he recognized me amidst the small crowd and we connected again here and swapped stories about our travels in the Sa Pa region of Vietnam. I sat and wrote some postcards in the Courtyard of the Sage Sanctuary and explored some more.
Van Mieu is one of, if not , the oldest surviving structures of Ha Noi, having been established in the year 1070,orignaly built to honor Confucius, as a place of worship.
Within a few years this revered place took on a different role, that being a place of education for the growing numbers of mandarins involved in civil service, essentially becoming Vietnam's first university.
The temple design is modeled after The Temple of Confucius in the Chinese city of Qufu and is designed to include five different courtyards. Each courtyard is separated by walls and ornamental gateways (each gateway possessing its own elaborate name) and pathways that lead you successively through each gate, and into the next courtyard.
The main elements of this site are the Khue Van Cac Pavillion and the Well of Heavenly Clarity where you will see the remaining steale that line the sides of the pond that are inscribed with the names and birth places, and accomplishments of some of the “graduates” of the school. The Great House of Ceremonies and the Dai Thanh sanctuary are also main features as well as two smaller structures that house a large drum and in the other, a large brass bell.
The entrance fee for the complex is a staggering 10 000 Dong…about a half dollar USA…
Access hours are Tuesday to Sunday from 8:30 to 11:30 and 13:30 to 16:30…
Clearly one of Hanoi's highlights, the expansive and leafy Temple of Literature is a complex of ancient Vietnamese temples dating back as far as 11th century. It is THE temple to visit, if you have limited time in Hanoi.
Consisting of five courtyards, the temple compound is expansive, easily occupying a few hectares. Highlights include the ancient stelae that sit atop stone turtles (picture 2) where the names of successful candidates in the imperial exams are etched for eternity; the magnificent main housing several artefacts and statues of Confucius and his four best disciples; and the hall itself an outstanding example of Vietnamese architecture with very intricate details (picture 4).
While I thoroughly enjoyed the temple, I did have a great time exploring the temple's gardens and taking snaps of beautiful flowers and hardworking bees along the way.
Please visit my travelogue _____.
Still present are 82 tortoise-carrying stele, (there were originally 117), which list the names, places of birth and achievements of 1,306 graduate students who accomplished exceptional results during the Le Dynasty, between 1484 and 1780.
This large Confucian temple complex dates back nearly 1,000 years to 1070 when it was built by Emperor Ly Thanh Tong. It was the sight of Vietnam’s first university and became known as a temple due to the close link between learning and religion. It was the Chinese Mandarins who brought Confucianism to the country when they ruled, here, between 179 B.C. and A.D. 938.
Architecturally, it is a fine example of classic Chinese with Vietnamese influences. Still present are 82 tortoise-carrying stele, (there were originally 117), which list the names, places of birth and achievements of 1,306 graduate students who accomplished exceptional results during the Le Dynasty, between 1484 and 1780.
Beyond the final building, known as the sanctuary, the real university began. In 1076 Vietnam's first university, the Quoc Tu Giam (meaning “"Temple of the King Who Distinguished Literature,") or Imperial Academy, was established within the temple to educate Vietnam's bureaucrats, nobles, royalty and other members of the elite. The university functioned for more than 700 years, from 1076 to 1779.
This ancient Confucian sanctuary is now considered one of Hanoi's finest historical sites. The temple is based on Confucius' birthplace at Qufu in the Chinese province of Shandong, which I’ve visited (see my Qufu page). It consists of five courtyards lined out in order, entrance to the first, via the impressive twin-tiered Van Mieu gate, leads to three pathways that run the length of the complex. The centre path was reserved for the king, the one to its left for administrative Mandarins and the one to its right for military Mandarins.
Entrance to the third courtyard is through the dominating Khue Van Cac (constellation of literature), a large pavilion built in 1802. The fourth courtyard is bordered on either side by great pavilions which once contained altars of 72 of Confucius' greatest students but now contain offices, a gift shop and a small museum displaying ink wells, pens, books and personal artefacts belonging to some of the students that studied here through the years.
Open: 7.30am-5.30pm. Admission: 5,000 VND.
The Temple of Literature was probably my favorite place to go in Hanoi. It is an old university/temple. It is in a beautiful setting and great to just people watch, get outside relax and stroll. Several local university students are always there and love to practice English. Always fun to chat with and get tips on things to do in the city. Probably the number one must see thing in Hanoi.
This beautiful temple was established in 1070 in honor of Confucious and was modelled on the original temple of Confiucious in China. It was the first Vietnamese University (established in 1076) and was to educate the sons of mandarins. The most important artefacts in the temple are the 'stelae' , stone tortoise pedestals, which list the names and birthplaces of scholars who recieved doctorates.
We enjoyed walking around the grounds. It is very tranquil (even with the crowds) and a nice respite from the traffic. It is very leafy and green, and I imagine that it would be a wonderfully cool and pleasant place to be during the heat of summer.
Open 7.30am-6pm April-September
Open 8am-5pm October-March
A must see on any visit to Hanoi is the Temple of Literature, which was actually founded as Hanoi's first University nearly a thousand years ago. In fact, the temple/university itself is actually only ten years younger than the city of Hanoi itself. It's a verdant, peaceful park in the middle of the bustling city, with classic Vietnamese architectural features. I loved all the nooks and crannies of the temples, including the stones containing the names of graduating students. Don't miss the pond in the middle of the complex or the true temple area in the back. In fact, the temple area contained a Vietnamese band playing traditional music while wearing old-time costumes.
Van Mieu, the Temple of Literature, is Hanoi's oldest university. Or better: It was a university. Built in 1070 (!) and dedicated to Confucius, Vietnamese mandarins were educated there for several centuries. In the 15th century, Emperor Le Thanh Tong declared that stelae should be placed for everybody being conferred a doctorate. Therefore you now see 82 stelae with the inscriptions of 1304 doctor laureates in the temple, all of which are placed on the back of a tortoise. In Vietnamese mythology, the tortoise, the unicorn, the dragon and the phoenix are holy animals. It is said that the placement of stelae signifies "everlasting respect to talent".
Nowadays, Van Mieu is above all an oasis of tranquility amidst Hanoi's neverending traffic chaos. Although it is surrounded by three highly frequented main roads, you can enjoy a break at Van Mieu without even noticing that there are thousands of motorbikes rushing by just behind the walls of the temple.
Furthermore, Van Mieu is architecturally very interesting. In the five yards of Van Mieu you can experience different stages of Vietnamese architecture. There are for instance the two horse dismounting stelae in front of the temple where those who wanted to enter the temple had to dismount their horse. Between the first and the second yard, you can marvel at the beautiful Great Middle Gate. In the third yard, the 82 stelae surround the Well of Heavenly Clarity. The fourth yard comes up with the Courtyard ot the Sage - it is here where Confucius and other sages are worshipped. In the fifth yard you can see what was back some centuries the study room. A model of the temple and several old photographs are displayed in the building at the very end of the yards.
For more information, don't miss my Local Customs tip.
The Temple of Literature or Confucious Temple is one of the oldest sights in Hanoi and was founded by Emperor Ly Thanh Tong in 1070. It is dedicated to Confucious - the Chinese philosopher. The children of royalty and the aristocracy were taught here , as it was Vietnam's first university, which was later transferred to Hue. The temple consists of 5 narrow divided courtyards; the third one containing the pond or the "well of heavenly clarity" and has on each side stele which honour the successful doctorate candidates of the university. Each slab sits on a tortoise's back and you will find many locals rubbing the tortoises' heads for good luck. You will find the Great House of Ceremonies housing a giant red statue of Confucious, a room of scriptures, a bell tower and a giant drum. Also check out the calligraphers outside the Temple!
Open 8.30-11.30am and 1.30-4.30pm Tuesday to Sunday. Closed Mondays. Entrance fee is 5,000 dong approx. (may have risen). Guide booklet costs 3,000 dong.
If you have limited time to do some sight-seeing in Hanoi, Temple of Literature should top your list. I totally recommend to see this interesting spot. The temple contains 5 courtyards and there is also some cute looking tortise on the side. 5000 dongs for entrance fees and 3000 dongs for the brochure.