The 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. It will take you 10 minutes to travel here by taxi from Hanoi Old Quarter.
Not only does it host the first university of Vietnam but it also boasts a temple of Confucius in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Temple of Literature Hours
Opening 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
Temple of Literature Hanoi Map
Temple of Literature located on Van Mieu street in Hanoi
Temple of Literature Dress Code
Visitors should pay attention to formal outfits, specifically no hat, shorts or mini skirt when visiting worshipping/sanctuary parts.
Adjacent to the 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 and the Ho Chi Minh complex including so many famous attractions just in one places.
When was the Temple of Literature in Hanoi 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.
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 the Literature Temple Hanoi 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.
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 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, the left side takes a more vital role than right one, therefore, Virtue is more important than Talent.
The 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.
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.
Thien Quang well and Doctor Steles
Thien 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.
Steles of Doctors can bring you luck in the Vietnamese culture
According to Vietnamese culture, the turtle is a symbol of longevity and wisdom.
The Fourth Courtyard
When entering the Fourth Courtyard, visitors can see Đại Thành Môn or 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.