Under the 1070 Ly Thanh Tong dynasty, the Temple of Literature was built with the purpose of honoring Confucius until today, it is used to celebrate the Vietnamese high rank scholars and doctorates. In 1076, the Emperor Ly Nhan Tong went on turning this place into the first Vietnamese university.
It is situated on Van Mieu Street and distant Hoan Kiem Lake about ten minutes that means 2 km of the western Hoan Kiem Lake.
The architecture and history
The courtyard of temple of literature is divided into five parts and each of them has their own historical meaning. The first one is from Dai Trung gate long to the main gate long. The Khue Van Cac pavilion is the second courtyard. If your note is well, it is very easy for you to see the signs with the different symbols of pavilion all over the streets in Hanoi. The tombstone on tortoise back with the listed doctor names is the third courtyard. The name of 1307 doctors in 82 examination courses 1442 – 1779 are listed on the whole 82 tombstones.
It will be very easy for you to see a large number of students rubbing the head of tortoise in May – the time of many important examinations or the starting of year. They consider this act as the lucky thing for passing their exam.
The fourth one is spent for Confucius, his 72 honoured students and the famous and devoted Chu Van An teacher especially according to the local authorities, the brilliant students in Hanoi are also cherished there like the top students with the best entrance results to universities or graduation. Thai Hoc house is the last and furthest one which still keeps a small time costumes collection of both students and mandarins. At this place, you will also be explained how to take and pass the national examinations.
The general architecture of temple of literature is the most typical style during many centuries in Vietnam thanks to its wood and tiles materials. What is more, you will be enjoyed the trees hundred year old witnessing the history’s ups and downs along the pass way.
The whole architectural Temple of literature has an area of 54331m² including Literature lake, the Van Mieu – Quoc Tu Giam and Giam garden.
Van Lake (Giam lake): It is situated on opposite the Temple of literature’s main gate where is separated by Quoc Tu Giam Street. This is a very limpid lake which is surrounded by the shady trees especially in the middle of Lake, there is a Kim Chau mound. Formerly, this mound has Phan Thuy house where was used to recite poems of the ancient Confucians. Today, on the Kim Chau mound, there is a stele built in the 18th Tu Duc dynasty (1865). It is written about remodeling the Literature Lake and building the Phan Thuy house.
Along the length of the Western Temple of literature is the Giam garden. This place has an octagonal house, bonsai, rockery and so on. Now, the Giam garden has also been embellished and remodeled to turn it into a place for walking and relaxing of visitors and organize cultural and traditional activities of nation.
Some notes when visiting the Temple of literature
Respect monument and the executive regulations of the relics management units without harming relic, relic landscape; rubbing the head of turtle; writing, painting, sitting and standing on the doctor stele.
Wear the clean and tidy clothing in place of wearing skirts, too short trousers, revealing dresses or sleep wear. Don’t smoke, wear hats in the areas of sanctuary and galleries.
Perform the civilized lifestyle in places of worship without having any the lack of cultural behavior like saying profanity, causing the disorderly security. You have to have a proper attitude in ceremony especially each individual is just allowed to light a joss-stick. In a word, you must sacrifice and incense to the right place.
Prohibit the abuse of freedom of religion to perform the superstitious activities, gambling and fraud.
Keep and protect the clean environment without climbing walls, trees as well as breaking stems, picking flowers, trampling on the grass, fishing, swimming, littering
Don’t carry weapons, explosives, flammable substances into the temple
Parking in right place and keeping property carefully to avoid the occurrence of loss.
The filming activities at temple are just allowed to performe when there is consent of relic’s leaders.
How to get there
You can use the personal or public transportation (bus, taxi) to visit the temple of literature from the center of Hanoi city
With the personal means, let you derive from the Sword Lake along to the Le Thai To street then turn right on Trang Thi street going on driving Cua Nam and Nguyen Khuyen street. Finally, you just need turn left on the Van Mieu street. While moving, you have to pay attention the one way street around.
With bus, the following buses will carry you to the bus stops around Temple of literature: 02, 23, 38, 25, 41.
Fee for entrance: With the complex area, the entrance fee is 10,000 VND that means about 50 US cents.
The opening hours: 8:30 – 11:30 and 13:30 – 16:30 daily excepting Monday and other national holidays.