The Temple of Literature
(also called Van Mieu Hue or Van Thanh) in Hue, the old capital of Vietnam, majestically lies on the bank of Perfume River, to the west of the Citadel, just 1km from prestigious Linh Mu pagoda. This temple brings a new experience for those who want to enjoy some special religious and spiritual feelings.
The Temple of Literature is a worship temple
founded by the Nguyen Dynasty and dedicated Confucius, which is a common practice in a lot of Asian countries, like Vietnam, China, Japan and Korea. In Vietnam, apart from the famous Temple of Literature in Hanoi, there are some other Temples of Literature constructed on other cities.
In 1808, Gia Long and his imperial Court decided to choose a low hill beyond the Thien Mu Pagoda, on the left bank of the Perfume River (its present location) to build a new imposing and striking Temple of Literature. The construction of the Temple of Literature started on 17 April 1808 and ended on 12 November 1808.
The Temple of Literature faces south. All main constructive works were built on the top of the hill, three meters higher than the surrounding land. In front of it was the Perfume River, in the back was villages, hills and mounts spreading from Truong Son Range. All items of Hue Temple of Literature were erected on a square surface of 160m long on each side enclosed by La Thanh (surrounding wall).
The Temple of Literature was many times renovated and many sub - constructions were built, especially in Minh Mang and Thieu Tri's reign. From Minh Mang's reign onwards, National Examinations were held so that steles bearing the names of successful candidates were erected here. These “Steles bearing doctors' names" were gradually erected on the yard of the main temple from 1831 to 1919, the year in which the last National Examinations was held in Khai Dinh's time.
As destroyed by the war and weather, the remains of the Temple of Literature are now the 34 steles of great cultural and historic value. on these steles are names, ages and places of birth of 239 successful candidates in National Examinations organized in the Nguyen Dynasty.
Steles bear doctors' names
The Temple of Literature of Hue is a valuable historic heritage showing the tradition of knowledge appreciation, scholars' administration and study encouragement of the Vietnamese culture.