Home to Vietnam’s first university, hence the name, the Temple of Literature is a Confucian temple founded in 1070. It’s featured on the back of the 100,000 Vietnamese dong banknote.
The architecture of the Temple of Literature dates back to the Ly and Tran dynasties that ruled Vietnam for more than 700 years, from 1076 to 1779. Inside the temple, you’ll find five courtyards. Some are resting areas resident monks and scholars. Another contains the Well of Heavenly Clarity. Here you’ll find 82 carved blue turtles inscribed with the names of the 1306 doctorate students that graduated from the university. The fourth courtyard contain altars of 72 of Confucius’s most decorated students. The last courtyard contains the Quoc Tu Giam, or translated into English as Imperial Academy.
The university was home to some of Vietnam’s first educated noble and aristocratic class. One of the stone walls records the names of the 2,313 students graduating as doctor laureates, which is the most prestigious title given to students who passed the ancient laureate tests with the highest marks.
Travel tips for the Temple of Literature
It’s in the heart of Hanoi, you won’t have any trouble finding it. If you’re looking for a peaceful zen-like walk through the city, check out the Temple of Literature for an added cultural bonus. We suggest allowing 30 to 45 minutes to check out the entire temple area. Because it’s an temple in the middle of the city, we recommend grabbing a taxi or Uber to the site. Save your dollars for a more complex tour.
Location: 58 Quốc Tử Giám, Văn Miếu, Đống Đa, Hà Nội Price: 30,000 VND for adults, 15,000 VND for students Hours: 08:00 – 15:00, daily