Temple of Literature's 900-year-old history

Visitors to Hanoi will probably make a stop to the famed Temple of Literature. This feature in the Saigon Giai Phong introduces the temple and its significance over its 900-year-old history.

Ancient institution of learning continues to educate
Saigon Giai Phong, 14 February 2010

Van Mieu (Temple of Literature) can be found in many provinces in Vietnam, like Nghe An and Bac Ninh, but the most prominent of them all is the one located in Hanoi, which was also home to Vietnam’s first university.

Built in 1070 south of Thang Long Imperial Citadel during the reign of King Ly Thanh Tong, the Van Mieu (Temple of Literature) was a place for worship of Confucius and his disciples. Five years later, the King organized the first national examination here to select talented people.

In 1076, King Ly Nhan Tong established the Quoc Tu Giam (National College) at the Van Mieu to educate the children of court mandarins.

Over time, Van Mieu and Quoc Tu Giam experienced restorations, especially an overhaul in 1438 during the reign of King Le Thanh Tong, a peaceful and prosperous period with many prominent cultural achievements.


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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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