First University in Vietnam : Temple of Literature in Hanoi

Temple of Literature Hanoi

After visiting Hoan Kiem Lake in the Old Quarter, we took a taxi from Old Quarter to Temple of Literature.  It is only about 2 km but we paid 100,000 dong for a very short distance.  The meter runs super fast and you know there is something wrong with the meter.  We knew we got scammed by the taxi but is ok, the money weren’t so much if converted in SGD – 6 dollars.  We learned.

Temple of Literature is also known as the first university in Vietnam 1076. It is called “Van Mieu” in Vietnamese, sound very similar to Cantonese/文廟. You will see a lot of similarity from Hanoi and Guangxi as Guangxi is at border near Hanoi. Many of the name of the places in Hanoi sound very Cantonese, believe to get the influence from Guangxi China.

There are in total 5 courtyards in Temple of Literature.

Temple of Literature Hanoi

Red Khue Van pavilion ( above ) located at the second courtyard,  is  a rare example of well-preserved traditional Vietnamese architecture, where poem competition used to take place in the ancient time.  You will also find Khue Van Pavilion in the 100,000 Vietnamese dong notes.  The Khue Van Pavilion is an icon for Hanoi city.

Third Courtyard – Well of Heavenly Clarity

Temple of Literature Hanoi

Stone steles built above stone turtles which have on its names, hometowns of 1306 prestige scholars who were awarded doctorates during the period of 1480 and 1780.

Temple of Literature Hanoi

Temple of Literature Hanoi

Temple of Literature Hanoi

Dai Thanh gate means The Gate To Great Success

Temple of Literature Hanoi

Fourth Courtyard

When I was there, there are big group of school students having event at the temple 4th courtyard. This place is very popular with students praying for good grades.

Temple of Literature Hanoi

There is a pair of crane and turtle (above picture), crane step on top of the turtle representing longevity and eternity.

Temple of Literature Hanoi

The Fifth Courtyard – grounds of the Imperial Academy

You can climb up to the second floor, I like the patterns of the tiled roofs.

Temple of Literature Hanoi

Big Drum at the firth courtyard 

Temple of Literature Hanoi

Final thoughts:

The one thing you need to spot is the Red Khue Van pavilion in the Temple of Literature , it is also the city icon.  You will also see it in the 100,000 dong paper notes.

Temple of Literature Hanoi

There is an small entrance fees to pay, 30,000 dong about SGD 1.80.  You can also rent an audio guide.

Click here for Halong Bay or Hoan Kiem Lake.

19 Replies to “First University in Vietnam : Temple of Literature in Hanoi”

  1. This looks like an incredible place to explore for the day. I would love to visit with my family. Although I already know which location my children would love best, definitely the one with the big drum!

  2. I am intrigued by the Third Courtyard – Well of Heavenly Clarity due to the names of all the prestigious scholars listed. I also like the architecture like the corner tips pointing upward.

  3. Looks very peculiar, very rich in culture though! I mean it doesn’t look like a university but it’s still a great opportunity to visit that place!

  4. Wow this looks amazing. Only one half of Twinspirational has visited Vietnam, so the other only will definitely come back here before planning her trip.

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