Hanoi Temple of Literature - Vietnam's first university (Hanoi, Vietnam)



The Temple of Literature in Hanoi was Vietnam's first university, and held the central place in higher education in Vietnam for 700 years, from 1076 to 1779. Six years after the temple was founded, the Imperial Academy was founded within it. Designed to educate the Vietnamese nobility, the Imperial Academy was a rigorous institution.

Hanoi Temple of Literature (Van Mieu Quoc Tu Giam) consists of two main monuments. The first one is a temple of Confucius and Confucian sages. The second one is Imperial Academy - the first national university of Vietnam. With more than 700 years of operation, the Temple of Literature trained thousands of talents for the country. Today, this is a place where educational events regularly happened such as award ceremonies for excellent students, poetry festivals, and so on. With regard to history, in the autumn of 1070, Ly Thanh Tong King started the construction of the Temple which is dedicated to Confucius, sages and scholars. Six years later, the King decided to build Imperial Academy, the highest level of education at that time. This is a significant event marking the first choice of Vietnam feudal dynasty in terms of education and training.

The size of Van Mieu - Quoc Tu Giam is 54,331m2 including: Van Lake, Giam garden, inner self surrounded by brick walls. The inner self is divided into 5 zones. The first zone begins with the main entrance to the Great Chinese ports. The port gate has unique architecture of two storeys with stylized double dragon Le; inside it has a double dragon of the Nguyen dynasty. The second zone features with Khue Van Cac - a unique architecture built in 1085 (Nguyen dynasty), including 2 floors, 8 roots. Khue Van Cac usually organizes the poetic competition. Today, Khue Van Cac is taken as the symbol of Hanoi capital. The third zone has a square lake called Thien Quang Tinh. Two sides along the lake is two stele garden which store 82 stelae established from 1484 to 1780 in which name, hometown of the doctorate of 82 examination were sculpted. Step through the door into the Great to the Fourth named Bai Duong Van Mieu which has name of outstanding pupils of Confucius along with other famous culture of VietNam.  The fifth zone is the old Temple of Literature - the location for the talent selection competitions in the past.

According to history, the Temple of Literature was built in May 10-1070 of the reign of King Ly Thanh Tong. By 1076, King Ly Nhan Tong established Quoc Tu Giam, initially; it is the only place used for the prince and then expanding to receive students in the whole country.

The temple is divided into five court yard, 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. If you notice well, you will find the pavilion symbol on all street signs of Hanoi. The third courtyard is where doctor names was listed on a tombstone above tortoise backs.

There are a total of 82 tombstones, with names and origins of 1307 doctors, corresponding to 82 examination courses from 1442 to 1779. 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 test.

Nowadays, Hanoi Temple of Literature opens daily from 8 AM to 17 PM and cameras are allowed.

Location: Hanoi, Vietnam
Address: 58 Quoc Tu Giam, Dong Da
More information: Best for: Family, solo
Opening hours: 8am - 5pm
Entrance fee: 20.000vnd

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