Explore The Temple of Literature and Imperial Academy in Hanoi


The Temple of Literature and Imperial Academy is one of the most famous and favorite tourist sites in Hanoi. This is a must-see destination that you should drop in and explore in your Hanoi cycling tours. Remember to visit this cultural and historical site to explore the very first college in Vietnam.

1. Overview

The Temple of Literature and Imperial Academy is the first university of Vietnam. It is not only a famous cultural tourist destination in Hanoi but also a favorite site where a great number of students in Vietnam wish to visit and pray for luck in their study and exams. Visiting there, you will feel the ancient beauty of this college remaining throughout many feudal dynasties of Vietnam.


[The Temple of Literature and Imperial Academy]

2. Location

This site is located at 58 Quoc Tu Giam, Dong Da District, in the intersection of four main streets including Nguyen Trai, Nguyen Thai Hoc, Ton Duc Thang, and The Temple of Literature and Imperial Academy Street. This is a famous attraction you must explore in your Hanoi day tours.


[The symbol of Hanoi]

If you start in Guom Lake, follow Le Thai To Street, turn right to Trang Thi Street and go toward the South Gate Street and Nguyen Khuyen Street, then turn left to Van Mieu (Temple of Literature) Street, you will reach this site. If you go by bus, you can catch the bus number 02, 23, 38, 25, or 41, they will all take you to The Temple of Literature and Imperial Academy. Also, you can hold some Hanoi biking tours to visit this site.


[Visit the Temple of Literature in Hanoi]

Ticket price: 20.000 VND for adult and 10.000 VND for children, applying for both Vietnamese and foreign visitors.

3. History

The Temple of Literature was constructed in 1070 under the reign of Ly Thanh Tong as the place of worship of Confucius, Duke of Zhou, and Four best disciples of Confucius, including Yan Hui, Zengzi, Zisi, and Mencius. In 1076, the King Ly Nhan Tong built the Imperial Academy next to the Temple of Literature. That is the university for the descendants of royal and noble families. Under the reign of the king Tran Thai Tong, the Imperial Academy was remained as the National University and opened for excellent children of the civilian.


[The Temple of Literature in the pass]

In the later Le dynasty, under the reign of the King Le Thanh Tong, he set up Temple steles of students who passed the national exam as Doctors. Under the Nguyen dynasty, the Imperial Academy was rebuilt in Hue, the Temple of Literature in Thang Long remained as the Temple of Literature of the North Citadel District, then the Temple of Literature of Hanoi. Remember to visit and explore these interesting stories in your Hanoi tours.


[The Great Middle Gate]

4. Structure

The Temple of Literature and Imperial Academy was constructed in an area of 54331 square meters, including many small structures. A brick wall surrounds this architectural complex. Throughout many years of restoration, this complex includes the Literature Lake, the Gate of the Temple of Literature, the Great Middle Gate, Constellation of Literature Pavilion, Stele of Doctors, Attained Talent Gate and Thai Hoc House.


[Khue Van Pavilion]

5. Courtyards in the Temple of Literature

The main gate of the Temple of Literature was built in the manner of the three-door temple gate, with three scripts “Van, Mieu, Mon” in archaic Han script. There are 5 courtyards divided by brick walls. Each courtyard links with the others by gates.

The first courtyard is from the Gate of the Temple of Literature to the Great Middle Gate, There are two smaller gates called Thanh Duc Gate and Dat Tai Gate.


[Van Mieu Gate]

In the second courtyard, you go through the Great Middle Gate to reach Constellation of Literature Pavilion or Khue Van Pavilion. Khue Van Pavilion is not a bulky structure but it was built at a perfect and spectacular scale. This structure has 4 square brick pillars propping up the upper floor. It has a lot of stunning wooden compositions. The upper floor has 4 round doors. The attic is a square floor with eight roofs. On the two side of Khue Van Pavilion are Bi Van Gate and Suc Van Gate leading to two area of Steles of Doctors.

The third courtyard has Thien Quang Tinh Lake. On the two side of this lake is the area of Steles of Doctors. Each stele is made from stone, on which the names of the First Doctoral Candidates, the Second Laureates, the Third Titles, the Second-rank doctors, and Doctors are carved. Each stele is put on the back of a stone turtle. Nowadays, there are 82 remained steles of the examinations from 1442 to 1779.


[Houses of Doctor Steles]

The fourth courtyard is the central area and the major architecture of the Temple of Literature, including two large parallel and serial structures. The outer building is House of Ceremonies (Dai Bai Duong), the inner house is Thuong Cung where Confucius and his four closest disciples are worshipped.


[Dai Bai Duong]

The fifth courtyard is Thai Hoc House, including Minh Luan House, East and West classrooms, two sets of three 25 room dormitories, and a storehouse for wooden printing blocks.

With cultural and historical meanings, the Temple of Literature has been a symbol of Hanoi, where you should visit in your Hanoi cycling tours.

Author Since: Jan 16, 2019

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