Temple of Literature, Hanoi

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  • Temple of Literature
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  • Temple of Literature
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  • Temple of Literature
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  • King_Golo's Profile Photo

    An Oasis of Tranquility: Van Mieu

    by King_Golo Updated Jul 20, 2014

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    Van Mieu, the Temple of Literature, is Hanoi's oldest university. Or rather: it was a university. Founded in 1070 (!) and dedicated to Confucius, Van Mieu was the main centre of education for Vietnamese mandarins who 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 of the Sage - it is here where Confucius and other sages are worshipped. In the fifth yard you can see what was the study room some centuries ago. 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.

    Me at Van Mieu A high-school graduate at Van Mieu In the first courtyard
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    Dedicated to Confucius - Temple of Literature

    by SLLiew Written Oct 19, 2006

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    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.

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    Temple of literature

    by yuet29 Updated Nov 29, 2004

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    The entrance to Temple of Literature is 5,000Dong.

    Here, you can see the ancient chinese influence to Hanoi city. The buildings are in chinese style with courtyards separated by walls, as well as smell pools in front of the entrances.

    Some traditional performances held inside the temple using very unique vietnam music instruments. These instrument are for sold. The price of the instrument inside this temple is comparatively cheaper than in hanoi old quarter.

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    Temple of Literature

    by Rodan44 Written Jun 6, 2004

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    The temple of literature is not only impressive for its beautiful traditional Vietnamese architecture but also for the fact that it survived decades of war completely intact. A stroll through the temple's spralling gardens makes for a very peaceful retreat from the chaos of Hanoi's streets.

    The temple is open daily, with admission of US$1.

    Courtyard in Temple of Literature
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    An ancient university

    by SPW Updated Aug 4, 2003

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    The Temple of Literature dates back to the Eleveth Century and was where mandarins were trained in the Confucian manner. It has several courtyards one of which contains a number of stone tortoises bearing stelae inscribed with the names of graduates. The inner most courtyard contains the temple dedicated to Confucius.

    Temple of Literature
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    A place to learn, admire and relax.

    by bcatton Updated Jan 3, 2007

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    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 .....

    Great Portico, leading to the first courtyard. Great middle gate. Khue Van pavilion. Third courtyard, looking towards Khue Van pavilion Khue Van pavilion and the well of heavenly clarity
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    Quoc Tu Giam

    by dinhyen Written Apr 10, 2003

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    Quoc Tu Giam is actually part of the same enclosed complex with Van Mieu. Visitors who enter through the front gate would be on the grounds of Quoc Tu Giam first, then after passing through a series of gates would reach Van Mieu.

    Quoc Tu Giam is the site of Vietnam's first University, founded in the 11th century. Thousands of scholars matriculated here during its 900-year history. The names of its graduates were engraved on stone tablets. Over the years, many tablets were lost. Those remaining are mounted on the back of stone turtles and enclosed on one side of the complex.

    Stone tablets engraved with names of scholars

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    Van Mieu

    by dinhyen Updated Apr 15, 2003

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    Van Mieu is the temple of literature. In its are shrines to the saints who patronize students and scholars. One of them is Confucius. Strangely, his wife and family are also worshipped. Students of old would come here to ask for luck before exams. If a student is really smart, he'd ask the wife.

    Expansive courtyard of Van Mieu

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    A retreat from Hanoi's noisy streets

    by Tijavi Updated Jun 3, 2010

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    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 _____.

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    Temple of Literature

    by kenningst Updated Apr 13, 2008

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    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.

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    Temple of Literature

    by ValbyDK Updated Mar 2, 2013

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    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.

    Temple of Literature Temple of Literature Temple of Literature
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  • cachaseiro's Profile Photo

    The temple of literature.

    by cachaseiro Written Nov 2, 2012

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    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.

    Inside the temple of literature.
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    Văn Miêu - Quốc Tụ Giam

    by KhanhLy Updated Feb 1, 2006

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    The Temple of Literature built in the later part of the ninth part of the century, in honor of Confucius, his followers and Chu Van An, a moral figure in Vietnamese education. Six years later, Quốc Tụ Giam, the first university of Vietnam was on the premises of Van Mieu. It was the first educational school for royal family members, admitted only princes and it opened later to talented students.

    After years of study, students were allowed to take the first-degree examinations held once every three years. Those with the highest marks in this exam were named bachelors. A year later, they would travel to the capital to take part in a further set of examinations. Those with the highest marks became were awarded a doctorate. As a Ph.D., a scholar was then eligible to join the ranks of the mandarins.

    In the past, Van Mieu was held in great reverence not only as a major centre of Confucian thought and study, but also for its status as the apogee of learning in Vietnam and the only route to becoming a mandarin. Regardless of rank, those on horseback were obliged to dismount and walk their steeds when passing the in front of the complex.

    Throughout its hundreds of years of activity in the feudal, thousands of Vietnamese scholars graduated from this university.
    *** NOTE *** If you want to use the restroom here, you'll have to pay extra. There is a box there to collect money when using the restroom. While I was there, there was an attendant there, making sure you put money in the box. *****

    stele with name of scholars just inside the entrance of first university temple courtyard
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    an awesome University

    by myspices Updated Feb 7, 2006

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    This well-preserved temple is actually a "university" - it is a place to honour scholars and men of literary accomplishments. For those who received doctorates, a stelae will be erected to record the name, place of birth and achievements. A total of 82 stelae were erected and each one sits on a stone tortoise. Now, visitors who wish to have their wishes come true will rub their palms on the head of the tortoise. As such, you will noticed that the heads of the tortoises have been smoothened by this act.

    Facts about Temple of Literature
    =========================
    * Vietnam's 1st university established in 1076
    * founded in 1070 by Emperor Ly Thanh Tong and was dedicated to Confucius
    * made up of 5 courtyards
    * of traditional Vietnamese architecture
    * the 82 stelae are the most precious artifacts of the temple

    Temple of Literature - where the wise is.. Notice that the roof tiles are  beautifully carved One portion of the court yard Pillars in the Temple of Literature Stelae-notice the guy rubbing tortoise's  head
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    Temple of Literature

    by shavy Written Mar 4, 2014

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    The landmark contains numerous courtyards and pavilions, here, you will see the courtyards has good maintenance. This ancient Confucian sanctuary is now considered one of Hanoi's finest historical and cultural sites

    Though having gone through lots of restoration work, the temple still retains its very first original shape, to be one of the visit worthy sightseeings of Hanoi, captivating to a huge number of tourists elsewhere.

    A space of peace, green trees and solemnity covers the whole temple of historical and traditional love for study, making tourists feel like they were lost in a land of Confucion and traditional values. If you are in Hanoi, you should really come and explore it yourself

    Coming here, you might see many Vietnamese students visiting the places as a ritual for good luck before they enter an important exam such as the entrance exam into college.

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