Situated at the south of Thang Long citadel, after nearly 1000 years of history, Van Mieu – Quoc Tu Giam
(The Temple of Literature- Imperial Academy Complex) nowadays still retains the ancient appearance with the architectural features of many dynasties and becomes one of the most importance and typical historical sites of Hanoi.
Van Mieu- Quoc Tu Giam consists of two main architectures: the Temple of Literature (Van Mieu) was constructed in 1070 under Ly Thanh Tong’s dynasty, first to honor Confucius and nowadays to celebrate doctorates and high ranking scholars of Vietnam; and the Imprerial Academy (Quoc Tu Giam) was established in 1076 by King Ly Nhan Tong as the first university of Vietnam.
The Quoc Tu Giam is divided into 5 courtyards. The reason is that “5” is a sacred number when there are 5 main elements creating our world: metal, wood, water, fire and earth, 5 virtues and 5 basic relationships. After entering the Entrance Gate, you can see the Middle Gate with a variety of interesting cultural symbols. At the gate-top, the symbol “two carps with one jar” is the most attracting to all the visitors in terms of its meaning.
The entrance gate to the Temple of Literature
Besides the main gate for the King, Virtue Gate (Thanh Duc) and Talent Gate (Dat Tai) are two ways for the fellows. Virtue (Duc) and Talent (Tai) are considered to be the most important qualities under the education system for all the students.
The Khue Van Cac (Pavilion of Constellation of Literature) is seen as a bright symbol not only for this Temple but for Hanoi Capital although it was built in 18th century when the Temple was restored by Nguyen King. Going inside the Pavilion, there comes the famous Stele Garden which was first built in 15th century. Each stele represents a single examination a year, including one part for nice words towards the King, one for the exam information and the last for the personal information of that doctor degree.
Khue Van Cac (Pavilion of Constellation of Literature)
Great House of Ceremonies
The statue of Confucius which reigns within the Great House of Ceremonies
Van Mieu is a diverse and abundant cultural heritage complex of Hanoi
city. Nowadays, Van Mieu-Quoc Tu Giam is the place to report results of literature and recite beautiful poetries of Vietnam Writers’ Association on the 15th day of 1st lunar month. It is also the place where Government offers degrees: Professor, Doctorate… Every year, after graduation of higher education, valedictorians of universities gather at Van Mieu-Quoc Tu Giam to receive merit list from Chairman of Hanoi city’s People’s Committee and attend cultural activities.
Graduation at Temple of Literature
Van Mieu Quoc Tu Giam is historical relics that Vietnamese people are proud of. It is said that it can not be a Hanoi explorer without visiting Van Mieu Quoc Tu Giam. There is a large amount of students come here every year to rub the tortoise head with hope of getting luck before entering an important exam.