Scholars from all over Vietnam come to pray for success in their studies. This place has a variety of pavilions, halls and statues inside five courtyards. The Temple of Literature pays great homage to Confucianism. It was the site of the first University in Vietnam.
The layout of the Temples is almost a mirror to the Confucian Temple at Qufu, Shandong, the birthplace of Confucius. Built-in 1070 by Emperor Ly Nhan Tong, statues of Confucius and his four disciples were sculpted to represent diligence and study during the four seasons. The Emperor established the Imperial Academy during this period. Only the finest scholars, sages and intellectual noblemen were able to study at the Imperial Academy.
There are five courtyards in total. The first courtyard presents the gates to the Temple. The second courtyard represents success. The Khue Van Pavilion is here and is viewed as a symbol of Hanoi. The treasures of the temple belong to the third courtyard. The hall of ceremonies belongs to the fourth courtyard. The fifth courtyard is where the Imperial Academy used to produce some of the finest graduates across the nation. Destroyed during the First Indochina War, these grounds have been reconstructed to show the Academy and original layout.
In between the courtyards are Stelae of Doctors. Carved blue stone turtles are situated here with intricate messages which honour the talent and request the pursuit of further study. They show the carvings of some of the old graduates of this academy. The turtles symbolise longevity and wisdom in Vietnam. Students who graduated from this University eventually played out important roles in Vietnamese society.
The Temple of Literature is one of the most expansive and intriguing Temples in Hanoi. The effort made to show a dedication to the pursuit of study is evident in Vietnamese today. It is in a convenient location, close to West Lake. People still paint calligraphy messages of prayer during the Lunar New Year. A good time to visit is in Autumn when people can walk around without feeling too hot or cold.
The Temple of Literature is located at 58 Quoc Tu Giam, Dong Da. Opening hours are from 08:00-18:00.