Temple of Literature - Vietnam's First National University (1000 Year-Old)

Duc - October 26, 2018

Temple of Literature Hanoi is especially noted for one of the must-see tourist destinations in Hanoi since it is one of the iconic symbols of Hanoi.

Not only does it host the first university of Vietnam but it also boasts a temple of Confucius in Hanoi, Vietnam.

  • Opening hours
    • Opening days: All days except national events
      • In November to March: 8.00a.m to 5.00p.m
      • The rest months: 7.30a.m to 6p.m
  • Entrance fee
    • Adult: 30,000 VND for Vietnamese and foreigners
    • Students: 15,000 VND (ID, students card required)
    • Children under the age of 15: Free
  • Local Tips
  • Dress code: Visitors should pay attention to formal outfits, specifically no hat, shorts or mini skirt when visiting worshipping/sanctuary parts.
  • Attraction nearby Temple of Literature

    Adjacent to Literature of Temple, visitors can visit other stunning places such as Vietnam Fine Art Museum occupying the most fundamental position in maintaining and promoting the treasures of Vietnamese cultural and artistic heritage.

 

 When was the temple constructed?

  • Located in the south of Imperial Citadel of Thang Long, the temple was built in 1070 during the period of Ly Thanh Tong’s dynasty.
  • Its original purpose is to honor Confucius, known as a Chinese teacher, editor, politician, and philosopher of the Spring and Autumn period of Chinese history and nowadays is to laud high- ranking scholars of Vietnam.

Temple of Literature - Confucius

Confucius Statue

In 1076, King Ly Nhan Tong continued establishing the Imperial Academy or “Quoc Tu Giam”, originally to serve solely the sons of the Kings and royal relatives. After that, the academy is opened for gifted scholars all over the country.

How is the structure of Temple of Literature like?

Similar to the structure of the temple at Qufu, Shandong, the birthplace of Confucius, Temple of Literature is divided into five courtyards surrounded by brick walls and connected by gateways.

Qufu Confucius Temple

The number of courtyards, five, denotes five basic elements forming the world:

                             Metal – Wood – Fire – Water – The earth

Below are five fundamental parts of Temple of Literature:

The Great Middle Gate - Đại Trung Môn

  • Following to the Great Portico, tourists can set their foot on the Great Middle Gate with two smaller gates on the left and right side:
    • Accomplished Virtue (Thanh Duc)
    • Attained Talent (Dat Tai)

The Great Middle Gate

  • The name of two gates is the symbol of Confucius viewpoints with a view to educating people with both virtue and talent. , From Confucius point of view, left side takes a more vital role than right one, therefore, Virtue is more important than Talent.
  • Thee Middle Gate consists of three areas with two images of koi located in the middle of the main gate. The symbol of carp is related to the Chinese legend: “Fish jump out the water” (Cá vượt vũ môn), thus, local residents annually celebrate a competition called “Kén rồng”(Dragon carp) in Vu gate. Based on this legend, ancestors long to teach their descendants a valuable lesson: Only great diligence to enhance knowledge leads to success.

The Pavilion of Constellation - Khuê Văn Các

  • Regarded as a pearl of Temple of Literature, the pavilion was constructed in 1805 under Gia Long’s dynasty with eight floors forming its square shape.
  • It possesses an outstanding and harmonious architecture with four pillars, a symbol for four directions: West, East, South and North.

Temple of Literature - Money print

You might notice that the 100,000 VND Paper note has the Pavilion of Constellation printed on it

  • Circle-shaped windows on a square wood frame present for the sky and the earth as well as the yin-yang harmony of our ancestors.
  • Khuê Văn is also a name of a constellation, Venus which concludes 16 stars shaping ‘literature’ word, hence, the Pavilion of Constellation displays its symbol for knowledge of Hanoi people.

Thiên Quang well and Doctor Steles

  • Thiên Quang well or Van Tri is the meaning of Well of Heavenly Clarity.

The name of the well expresses the desire of capturing the essence of the sky to enhance knowledge and virtue.

  • Steles of Doctors include 116 steles of carved blue stone turtles erected in 1484 to honor talented scholars. The special feature of these steles is that all of them were carved with sophisticated decorative motifs.
  • At present, the Temple has remained only 82 turtle steles of imperial examination left due to the damage of wars and natural disasters.

Temple of Literature - Steles of Doctors

Steles of Doctors

According to Vietnamese culture, the turtle is a symbol of longevity and wisdom.

C.2.4. The Fourth Courtyard

When entering the Fourth Courtyard, visitors can see Đại Thành Môn or The Gate to the Great Success

The Gate to the Great Success

  • In the center of the fourth courtyard is the House of Ceremonies (Đại Bái Đường), where doctors can come to kneel and bow to express their respects to ancestors and Kings.
  • The next buildings are Thượng Điện, the place to worship Confucius, his four closest disciples Yanhui, Zengshen, Zisi and Mencius.
  • Chu Van An (The first principal of the Imperial Academy) is worshipped in Đại Thành Sanctuary.

Nowadays, it has been converted into souvenir shops and drinks stalls.

C.2.5. The Fifth Courtyard

  • In 1076, King Ly Nhan Tong ordered the construction of an imperial academy as a fifth courtyard.
  • In 1946, French colonialists destroyed the courtyard.
  • In 2000, it was reconstructed on the ground from the original “Imperial Academy” to a temple.
  • It honors the talents, the national traditions and the culture and education of Vietnam

The Fifth Courtyard

  • Some buildings owns a drum and a bronze bell.
  • The drum: + 2.01 metres wide

                 + 2.65 metres high

                 + Volume of 10 m3

                 + Weight of 700 kilograms.

  • The bell was cast in 2000 including

                 + Height of 2.1 meters

                 + Width of 0.99 meters

  • Unique patterns can be found on the bell:
  • A phoenix is a symbol of beauty as well as Queen.
  • A dragon is a symbol of power and King, as well.