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Temple of Literature – Hanoi – Vietnam

Van Mieu – Quoc Tu Giam (known as Temple of Literature) is on top of the historical and wonderful sites of the beautiful capital Hanoi. The attraction mainly draws tourists’ interest for its being a Temple of Confucius and hosting the Imperial Academy – Vietnam’s first national university.

History of Temple of Literature

Back to the history, Van Mieu or Temple of Literature was built in 1070 during the Ly Dynasty with the first intention to be a Confucius temple. At that time, the entrance granted to those of noble birth. Not until 1706 did the Temple became Vietnam’s first university, and until 1442 talented students all over the country could join in. Date to 1484, steles were erected here to record the names, places of birth and achievements of exceptional scholars at the time of Ly Thanh Tong. Of all 116 historical steles, 82 remain standing today for visitors to closely witness. The university functioned for more than 700 years, from 1076 to 1779, during that time 2,313 doctors graduated. Therefore, the complex has been borne the name Van Mieu – Quoc Tu Giam (Temple of Literature) up to the present.

Temple of Literature

The unique architecture of the Temple of Literature

Temple of Literature is a beautiful tourist destination in Hanoi, located in the south of Thang Long royal citadel, in an area of 55.027m 2 , divided into 5 separate areas according to each zone. The Van Mieu Temple of Literature archaeological complex from the entrance is the Temple of Literature, the Great Wall, the Khue Van Cac, Dai Thanh, and the Thai Temple.

The first area:

From the main temple gate to the Great Gate. The two right-hand sides of the Great Gate has two small doors, the door is called Thanh Duc (became a virtuous person), on the right called Dat Tai (become talented).

Temple of Literature

Dai Trung Mon Gate was built in 3-storey architecture on the high brick, tile roof, the middle of which hung a small sign of the three words Dai Trung Mon.

The second area:

From Greater Japan to Khue Van Cac – an architectural representation of Vietnamese literature and education. Khue Van Cau was built in 1805 with wooden architecture taking the image of Shining star.

In order to portray the image of the star, the four sides of the Khue Van Vien shaped four circular windows with their beams radiating from the sides of the sun.

Temple of Literature

The third area:

Consists of large square-shaped wells of Thien Quang, creating harmonious harmony for the whole Van Mieu Temple of Literature relic and two rows of doctoral beer.

Each row has 41 beers, a stone inscription on a turtle symbolizes immortality. 82 stone steles symbolize the people who have ever achieved the title in Temple of Literature, the most valuable artifact symbolizes the fondness of the Vietnamese people through 82 examinations.

Temple of Literature opening hours

Opening days: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday
Opening time:

  • In summer ( From April to October): 07:30-17:30
  • In winter (From October to April): 08:00-17:00

Entrance fee

Entrance ticket price (2017): 

  • Adult: 30,000 VND (~US$ 1.3) for Vietnamese and foreigners
  • Students: 15,000 VND (~US$ 0.7) (ID, students card required)
  • Children under 15: Free

Dress code

As Temple of Literature is a formal historical site, visitors should pay serious attention to the dress code as visitors need to be respectable.

In detail, no hat, shorts, mini skirt or tank-top…when being in worshipping/sanctuary area.

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