The very first stop-over of any foreign tourist in Hanoi is always Van Mieu-Quoc Tu Giam (Vietnam Temple of Literature), which reveals the Hanoians’ spirit of study in the past.
The Temple of Literature is about 10 minutes away from Hoan Kiem lake. It was constructed in 1070 under Ly Thanh Tong’s dynasty, first to honor Confucius and nowadays to celebrate the doctorates and high rank scholars of Vietnam. In 1076, King Ly Nhan Tong continued the work and built Quoc Tu Giam as the first university of Vietnam.
Structure of Temple of Literature
The temple is divided into five court yard, each with its own significance and history. The first courtyard stretches from the main gate to Dai Trung gate; the second stands out with Khue Van Cac pavilion. The first two courtyards are peaceful havens of ancient trees and well-trimmed lawns where the scholars could relax away from the bustle of the city outside the thick stone walls.
Entrance to the third courtyard is through the dominating Khue Van Cac (constellation of literature), a large pavilion built in 1802. There are a total of 82 tombstones, with names and origins of 1307 doctors, corresponding to 82 examination courses from 1442 to 1779.
The fourth courtyard is dedicated for Confucius and his 72 honoured students, as well as Chu Van An- a famous teachers known for his devotion to teaching.This is also where local authorities choose to cherish brilliant students in Hanoi, like those with top entrance results to university or top graduation outcomes.
The last and also furthest courtyard is Thai Hoc house, which used to be Quoc Tu Giam- the first university of Vietnam. Thai Hoc house holds a small collection of old time costumes for students and mandarins, as well as explaining the process of taking and passing the national examination.
The entrance fee is about 30,000 VND (50% discount for disabled people or students). Opening hours: 8:30 to 11:30 and 13:30 to 16:30 everyday except Monday and national holidays.