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.
The Temple of Literature is an amazing place and a must see place if you like history and are a scholar. It is the first university in Vietnam and its wonderful that much of it was not damaged by the Vietnamese War. Being a physician, I've been in school for many years so this place for me was special to imagine what it must have been like many centuries ago to train to be a scholar. You will find these large turtles there that have listed all the names of the students who attended the university. Also in a building in the back of the compound you will find a traditional Vietnamese band that plays beautiful classical Vietnamese music on ancient traditional instruments that you can buy if you like. Furthermore they also have a building that sells artwork from modern day students. The other thing that is so amazing about this place is that it supports the teachings of a new generation. As you walk around the compound, you will find many modern day art students sketching pictures of the many buildings in the compound. Also make sure to check out the awesome ancient trees that are all over the compound. By the way it cost 5000 dong per person to enter. Furthermore there is a shrine to Confucius in the compound too.
This nice beautiful temple is an oasis in the traffic chaotic Hanoi streets.
Founded in 1070, it was dedicated to Confucious and literature famous men. It housed Vietnam's 1st University in 1076.
It has several buildings and patios, all of them beautiful, but I can't tell U what's inside, as I arrived late and couldn't visit it :-((
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…
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 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.