Features of Van Mieu and Quoc Tu Giam in Hanoi

Hanoi has emerged as a fascinating and unconventional tourist destination over the years. People, weary of visiting the clichéd and over crowded places, now prefer Hanoi as a charming city unique in its own beauty and culture. Hanoi with its distinctive French influence, has a lot to offer to its visitors. Visit the West Lake, Water Puppet Theater, Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, the Presidential Palace, One Pillar Pagoda and the Fine Arts Museum.

The Temple of Literature (Vietnamese: Văn Miếu, Hán tự: 文廟) is a temple of Confucius in Hanoi, northern Vietnam. The temple hosts the “Imperial Academy” (Quốc Tử Giám, 國子監), Vietnam’s first national university. The temple was built in 1070 at the time of King Lý Nhân Tông. It is one of several temples in Vietnam which are dedicated to Confucius, sages and scholars. The Temple is located to the south of Thang Long Citadel. The various pavilions, halls, statues and stelae of doctors are places where offering ceremonies, study sessions and the strict exams of the Dai Viet took place. The temple is featured on the back of the 100000 Vietnamese đồng banknote. Just before the Vietnamese New Year celebration Tết, calligraphists will assemble outside the temple and write wishes in Hán tự. The art works are given as gifts or are used as home decorations for special occasions.


Features of Van Mieu and Quoc Tu Giam in Hanoi

–   The Temple of Literature is Vietnam’s historical seat of learning and became the site of the country’s first university in 1076.
–   The temple is based on Confucius’ birthplace at Qufu in the Chinese province of Shandong.
–   The temple consisted of a complex of small buildings and five walled courtyards and was an exclusive establishment teaching the precepts of Confucius.
–   It is one of the few remaining buildings from the original city founded by Emperor Ly Thanth Tong in the 11th c and is a fine example of Vietnamese architecture.
–   The entrance to the first courtyard via the impressive twin tiered Van Mieu gate, leads to three pathways that run through the length of the complex.
–   The center path was reserved for the king. The path to its left was reserved for the administrative Mandarins and the one to its right, for military Mandarins.
–   The first two courtyards exude an air of tranquility with ancient trees and well trimmed lawns.
–   Entrance to the third courtyard is through the imposing Khue Van Cac, a large pavilion built in 1802.
–   The Thienh Quang Tinh or the Well of Heavenly Clarity is at the center of the courtyard.
–   There are two great halls to its both sides housing the real treasures of the temple.
–   These are 82 stone stelas upon stone tortoises and are inscribed with names and birth places of the 1306 men who were awarded doctorates from the triennial examinations held here at the Quoc Tu Giam between 1484 and 1780.
–   There were 34 more stone stelas which are believed to have been lost over the years,
–   In 1484, Emperor Lê Thánh Tông started the tradition hi of printing the names of the laureates of the university on stone stelas which were placed on top of stone turtles.
–   The fourth courtyard is bordered on either side by great pavilions which once contained altars to the 72 of Confucius’ greatest students.
–   The pavilions now contain offices, a gift shop and a small museum which contains ink wells, pens, books and personal artifacts belonging to some of the students who have studied here through the years.
–   At the far end of the courtyard is the altar with statues of Confucius and his four closest disciples.
–   The fifth courtyard contained the Quoc Tu Giam, Vietnam’s first university founded in 1076 King Ly Can Duc.
–   This was destroyed by French bombing in 1947.
–   The complex has undergone a lot of restoration work, most recently in 1920 and again in 1954.
–   But, it is still one of the few remaining examples of later Ly Dynasty (1009-1225) architecture.

Clip Van Mieu and Quoc Tu Giam in Hanoi

Galery of Van Mieu and Quoc Tu Giam in Hanoi

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Altar to the founder King Lý Nhân Tông

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Well of Heavenly Clarity

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The main gate to the temple

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The first courtyard and the gate leading to the second

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Second Courtyard and Constellation of Literature pavilion

File:Van Mieu Hanoi 5.jpgThird Courtyard of the temple with the Well of Heavenly Clarity and the red Constellation of Literature pavilion

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Turtle Steles with the names of those successful at the royal exams

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Fourth Courtyard

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Altars to Confucius and his disciples

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Fifth Courtyard, grounds of the imperial academy

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Orchestra performing traditional music in honour of the royal founders and Confucius

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Altar to Chu Văn An, rector of the imperial academy

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Uniforms of students of the imperial academy

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