Temple of Literature, Hanoi - review by Rusty Compass
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Temple of Literature, Hanoi

| 12 Apr 2012
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Temple of Literature, Hanoi
Quoc Tu Giam St, Hanoi
07.30 - 17.30PM

Our rating
12 Apr 2012

Along with the One Pillar Pagoda, the Temple of Literature, dates back to Hanoi’s founding 1000 years ago. Vietnam’s first university was inaugurated in 1076 and while little remains of the original complex, it’s an essential stop while in Hanoi.

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One of Hanoi's oldest major monuments, the Temple of Literature is also known as Van Mieu. Remnants of Vietnam's pre 19th and 20th century history are few and far between so the Temple of Literature is definitely a worthwhile stop. Founded by King Ly Thanh Tong in 1070 in the decades after the establishment of Hanoi as Vietnam's capital, it became the site of the country's first University, Quoc Tu Giam in 1076. Little remains of the original structures but the atmosphere is tranquil and the grounds beautiful.

Hanoi,Temple of Literature,Vietnam
Photo: Mark BowyerTemple of Literature, Hanoi
The temple is modeled on the temple at Confucius' birthplace in Qufu China and is a symbol of China's deep cultural influence in Vietnam.  

The most interesting and precious of the temple's original artefacts are its 82 stone stelae sitting atop large tortoises. These date back to the school's flowering from the mid 15th to the mid 18th century and exhibit examples of Vietnam's chu nom script. Derived from Chinese, chu nom became the script of Vietnam's mandarin elite over many centuries. A French prohibition on the use of chu nom at the start of the twentieth century saw use of the script decline.
Mark Bowyer
Mark Bowyer is the founder and publisher of Rusty Compass.
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