Thai Huoc Duong is the temple dedicated to Confucius, and there are also Buddha statues. Like the other Buddhist temples, this one is very richly ornate. A beautiful dragon decorates the roof (main picture), inside, red lacquer and gold; I did not want to disturb the divinities (or mix up with the tourist group) and photographed the divinities from back (picture 2); Confucius deserves respect keeping so calm on his throne with all these visitors and photographers! (Picture 3). Buddha (picture 4) looks on.
When I left, it was already night, and I had a look at the lotus flowers which were opening with darkness, like night beauties (picture 5)
To enter the second garden you pass through the Kue Van Cac Pavilion, a beautiful little building with sun-shaped windows, fine sculptures, and a nice setting between the gardens. In the second yard, or garden is a big basin (representing the celestial light) in front of the yard bordering Dien Thanh Bai Druong, the halls with the 82 steles; in the 15th century an emperor ordered to build the steles in honour of the best students of the university; the steles are built on tortoises which represent patience, humility and longevity (pictures 3 & 4).
Look back to the Kue Van Cac Pavilion before entering the next yard and the temple itself (Thai Hoc Duong) above the celestial light (picture 5).
Van Mieu Quoc Tu Giam (the temple of literature) is one of the most famous places to visit in Hanoi, and this haven of peace in that hectic city has lots of calm and quietude to offer to the solitary visitor; the buildings, temples but also the gardens the water ponds, the trees and flowers.
The temple has been originally built by Emperor Ly Tai To, in the 1tth century; the actual lay-out it a wide rectangle, which you enter through the Van Mieu Van gate, an ornate one arch gate surmounted by a three arch building, with typical Vietnamese decorations: roof with turned up corners and complicated sculptures. The name “temple of literature” has probably its origin as it was a university for princes and children of mandarins, where they learned arts, military science and poesy; the tourists nowadays use the central alley which only the emperor used to go in and the mandarins used the side alleys (and me too!).
I do not know what the young ladies were waiting for at the entrance but they kindly posed for a photograph.
You enter a central alley with two rectangular basins on each side (Picture 3); walk around and look at the pink lotus flowers (picture 4). A wall at the end of the first garden with small ornate doors (picture 5), but you will have to go through the Kue Van Cac Pavilion to reach the second garden (next “tip”)
Entrance: 20000 VND
We walked to this place from the train station after we returned from Sapa. Just turn left and left, then continue walking straight until you see a walled compound that looks like it contains temples. About 15 mins from the station. We were too early and instead played a game of badminton and exercised with the locals in the park (beside this place).
The place is well maintained and beautiful. When I was there, groups of children came in for some educational activities. So it isn't just a museum piece but alive with use!
There are two souvenir shops. Buy your postcards, stamps (they can tell you the cost of postage) and hand them over to the people there who will post them for you. So convenient!
It also has very clean toilets and you only need to pay 500 Dongs to use, the cheapest in Vietnam!
King Ly Thanh Tong founded the Van Mieu Quoc Tu Giam the temple of Literature in 1070 to dedicate Confucius teachings and to pay tribute to education.
Six years later became the first university of Vietnam and used for training talented men for the nation. It was a place for higher learning in the Mandarin tradition.
In the temple there are number of courtyards which separated by wall and gates. In the courtyards you will see pond covered with lilies, bonzai trees. The complex is quite large. The temple is surrounded by picturesque garden, manicured lawn and large trees which provide shades. The middle footpath with low hedges in both sides will guide you to the different part of the temple.
In either side of the temple there are large tortoises engrave with list of people who graduated with their names, dates and places of birth who achieved doctorates.
The Temple of Literature with Chinese architecture is well kept considering it was built in the in the 11th century.
After the hustle, bustle and the chaotic of Hanoi traffic, it was quite relieved to visit one of the tourist attractions as it was nice, quite and relaxing.
Cost: 5,000 dong
The Temple of Literature is Vietnam’s historical seat of learning and is the most sacred place for the disciples of Confucius. It is one of the few remaining buildings from the original city founded by Emperor Ly Thanth Tong in the 11th century and is a well-preserved example of Vietnamese architecture. It became the site of the country’s first university in 1076. Consisting of a complex of small buildings and five walled courtyards, it was an exclusive establishment teaching the principles of Confucius. Over a period of 900 years thousands of Vietnamese scholars graduated from the university.
Legend has it that scholars composed poems while drinking wine at The Khuc Van Cac Pavillion pictured here.
Opening time: Open daily from 7.30am to 6pm (summer), and 8am to 5pm (winter)
Admission: 12,000d, and 20,000d for an English-speaking guide
We went to the temple of literature. To be the first university in Vietnam I found it a bit smaller than it should be. HOwever because of it size, you do not need too much time walking around. A nice walk would be to go to the mausoleum from there. Traffic is light due to the area been full of embassadors residences and officials residences, therefore you can walk without been bothered by people selling fruit, motorbike drivers offering a ride.....
Went to the Temple of Literature after visiting Museum of Ethnology and was able to do both in half a day. The place was dedicated to Confucius and was later established as a university. You'll probably be able to go around the place in 2 hours. It was interesting to see the stone tortoises with the stelaes on top.
Originally dedicated to Confucius and to Chu Cong, the Temple of Literature is one of Vietnam's most important cultural sights. Wander around the courtyards, visit the alter to Confucius and listen to a group of traditional Vietnamese musicians playing their instruments. Parts of the temple have been restored after bombing; this has been done very sympathetically.
Recently this site was restored. The elders in the city advised that it was used as a public toilet for quite some time. They laugh at the tourists that wlk in and out and take pictures. The elders remind me of the old Kosovars that have no appreciation for the historical landmarks that shaped there nation into what it is. The Universtiy was used to educate Mandarins, or the Kings advisers and governors. These were the Vietnamese people that had the power of knowlege and dicated the actions of the Kings.
Apparently up to thirty stelae have either gone missing or eroded over the years.
Upon entering the fourth courtyard you come upon the main temple buildings. There are two pavilions, one on each side which used to contain alters dedicated to the 72 disciples of Confucius. I think they now hold offices and souvenir shops. The temple's ceremonial hall is quite a low bulding with two dragons bracketing a full moon on the roof. In here the king and his mandarins would make sacrifices before the alter of Confucius. This is quite an interesting building to look at, especially the roof with the stone dragons on top.
In the fifth and final courtyard is housed the National Academy. This is regarded as Vietnam's first university, founded in 1076. Here there is a two-storey pavilion (in 1947 French bombs destroyed the academy buildings) inside of which is a museum and an alter which is on the second floor. This is dedicated to three monarchs; King Ly Thanh Tong, founder of Van Mieu; Ly Nhan Tong, who added the university and Le Thanh Tong, who instigated the stelae. I found this to be quite an interesting, though small museum.
I would, without doubt, recommend that if you are in Hanoi to visit here. As mentioned; a place to learn, admire and relax.
This was the first place i decided to visit in Hanoi. And i wasn't disappointed!!
The Temple of Literature is Hanoi's most revered temple complex; both Vietnam's principal Confucian santuary and historical centre of learning. (Cost of entrance is; 5,000 VND. Which equates to roughly £0.25!! Opening hours; April - Sept, 7.30am - 6pm; Oct - March, 8am - 5pm).
The Temple was founded by King Ly Thanh Tong in 1070 and the first National University was founded by King Ly Nhan Tong in 1076.
The ground plan is modelled on Confucius's birthplace in China, consisting of a succession of five walled courtyards. The first two have nice lawns and trees, with paths and benches placed at various points. Entry to the third courtyard is via the Khue Van Cac, a double-roofed gateway, it's upper storey ornamented with four radiating suns, quite a sight to behold! In the centre of the third courtyard is the Well of Heavenly Clarity (walled pond) to either side stand 82 stone stelae mounted on tortoises. Each one records the results of a state examination held at the National Academy between 1442 - 1779.
Continued on my next tip page due to having more photographs .....
The Temple of Literature is dedicated to Confucious. Founded in the 11th century, this is the site of Vietnam's first university, built to educate Vietnam's administrative and warrior classes. A visit here will leave you relaxed, even in the centre of Hanoi! The gardens and grounds are tranquil.
Stone stalae record the achievements of past pupils in their acquisition of doctorates from this ancient university.
Got an English speaking guide at the entrance.
This temple is a top tourist destination with Hanoi landmark bell tower of the temple of Chinese influence but distinctly Vietnamese.
There is an emphasis on the cultivation of the mind based on the righteousness and benevolence teaching of Confucius. There are engravings of names on stone steles of scholars who passed scholarly examination. This was the location of the first university of Vietnam.
The Temple of Literature has an air of tranquility about it. Cross through one courtyard to another and revel at one of the grandest examples of Vietnamese architecture. This Temple was the first univeristy in Vietnam , built and founded in 1070. It was the first school for princes and members of the royal family.
The Temple is dedicated to Confucius. It is open daily from 8-5, and admission is about $ 1.25.