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The Temple of Literature

Hanoi Travel Blog

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The temple of Literature (Hanoi, Vietnam)

I had decided there were a couple of things I HAD to see in Hanoi: Hoan Kiem Lake with the Ngoc Son Temple, the Old Quarter and the Waterpuppet theatre Thang Long. Since I usually do all the preparations before and most of the arrangements during a trip, this was how it was going to be.

However, at breakfast that morning my husband Rens was flipping through one of our travel guides and stopped at the pictures of the Temple of Literature. He instantly said it might be worth seeing, even if we were also visiting the Temple at Hoan Kiem Lake. Thinking we would have enough time for an extra sight, I agreed and we decided to make it our first stop that day.

The temple of Literature (Hanoi, Vietnam)

We hired a taxi, and within a few minutes we arrived at the entrance of the temple. Passing the beautiful Van Mieugate, we immediately felt as if we had entered a beautiful Asian fairytale. We both love China and its original temple architecture, and at The Temple of Literature it was clear that these buildings all had huge Chinese influences. Of course, this isn’t surprising since the Temple was founded in the year 1070, when Vietnam was occupied by China. Secondly, the temple is dedicated to the Chinese philosopher Confusius.

The temple is the oldest building in Hanoi and for seven centuries it was used as an educational institute for future Mandarins. The temple complex consists of five courtyards, all of which have perfect symmetry. The highlight is the Khue Van Cac Gate, that separates the second and third courtyard. The reflection of this gate in the Pool of Heavenly Clarity is breathtaking.

The temple of Literature (Hanoi, Vietnam)

At the right and left side of the third courtyard there are 82 stone turtles who all have a large stone sign that show the names of the graduates of the educational institute.

The actual temple of Confusius is another ‘must see’. It is very atmospheric, covered in red lacquer work and has a statue of Confusius and his four most important students.

Since we were quite early (around nine in the morning), there was hardly anybody there and we had all the time in the world to soak up the striking environment. The Temple of Literature may have been a last minute addition to our wishlist of sights, but we wouldn’t have missed it for the world!    

Liselore_Verschuren says:
Thanks for the info!
Posted on: Apr 27, 2010
levu says:
Hello. Im so happy to read your blog and This Temple of Literature is always my favourite place in Hanoi.
I still remember everytime i waas doing any important exams i went there and pray...

Just one little mistake i really want to correct: Vietnam was independent in the year Van Mieu was built.

This Temple was firsly a place where Nation extreme difficulty of the doctor laureate tests were taken place, the names of who passed were written in the 82 stones and secondly it's out first Imperial Academy educate Vietnam's bureaucrats

How happy i am to see these photos

Thank you very much
Posted on: Apr 27, 2010
Koralifix says:
Congrats on having this travel blog featured today! Good on you!
Posted on: Jan 30, 2010
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