Temple of Literature in Hanoi
- Location: 58 Quoc Tu Giam St., Dong Da District, Hanoi, Vietnam
- Recommended reason: the first national university in Vietnam
- Entrance ticket: 30000 VND
- Opening hours: 7:30-18:00 from April to September, 8:30-17:00 from October to March
Temple of Literature in Hanoi is a well-preserved traditional 11th-century building in Vietnam. It is also the country's first national university and a must-see attraction in Hanoi.
Why there is Temple of Literature?
The Temple of Literature was built in 1070 during Ly dynasty to honor Confucius(551-479BC) who was a Chinese teacher, Politician, Philosopher and Founder of Confucianism. Since Confucianism played an important role in social stability and progress, in order to commemorate and sacrifice Confucius and spread Confucian culture, more than 2,000 Confucian temples were established in China successively. Confucianism is centered on China and gradually radiates to Southeast Asian countries. The Hanoi Confucian Temple in Vietnam is the product of Confucianism and has become the link and window of Sino-Vietnamese cultural exchanges. Today, it has become a national treasure-level scenic spot in Vietnam.
Function of Temple of Literature
The Temple of Literature is a typical Chinese-style building, which has the same functions as the Confucian Temple in many places in China. It is also the earliest national university in Vietnam. The Imperial Academy originally reserved only for sons of the Kings. Finally, it was opened for all talented students. Today, the temple honors Vietnam’s finest scholars and signifies the beginning of a uniform educational system in Vietnam. Vietnamese students, regardless of primary school students, middle school students, and college students, will take photos here when they graduate.
Structure of Temple of Literature
Most of the existing buildings in the Temple of Literature were built in the 17th century Ly Dynasty, covering an area of over 26,000 square meters and facing south. The layout of the temple is based on the birthplace of Confucius, with a magnificent main entrance and a path through the center, which was reserved for the king. The entire complex consists of five groups of courtyards with a monument to the outside and a mirror-like pool in the front yard. Five courtyards are the symbolic number of five basic elements forming the world: Metal, Wood, Fire, Water, The earth.
The first courtyard spreads from main gate to the Dai Trung gate, which is flanked by two smaller gates on the left and right side the Dai Tai gate and the Thanh Duc gate. A unique architectural work Khue Van Pavilion can be found in the second courtyard, which was built in 1805 under Nguyen Dynasty and was recognized as the symbol of Hanoi in the present time. The mahogany pavilion is built on four white stone pillars with an exquisite roof and two round windows and a bronze bell. Incredible 12 zodiac animal shape of topiaries are also standing in the first and second courtyards.
The third courtyard is where 82 treasured doctor steles are placed above tortoise backs. The Stelae are turtle statues, carved out of blue stone, that have the names and birthplaces of all 1307 graduates from 82 separate Royal examinations. Lots of students come here and touch the tortoise head so as to bring them luck to pass the test.
The fourth courtyard is where you find altars to Confucius and his 72 honored students, as well as a rector of the Imperial Academy Chu Van An. The fifth courtyard was the imperial academy but destroyed in 1946 by the French. In 2000, it was reconstructed on the ground of the original “Imperial Academy” as a temple.
Activities in the Temple of Literature
During the Spring Festival every year, the Hanoi Cultural Bureau will hold a grand memorial ceremony for Confucius at the Temple of Literature, including rituals, calligraphy and painting exhibitions, chess competitions and other cultural activities. If you want to experience the traditional Vietnamese festivals, the Temple of Literature is definitely the first choice.