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Temple of Literature

Five sacred courtyards, each with a unique history, honorary inscriptions and manicured gardens, revere Confucius and the country’s best scholars.

The Temple of Literature, known as Van Mieu, has honored Vietnam’s intellectual elite for centuries. Originally a university dedicated to Confucius, this historic temple pays homage to the philosopher and the many intellectuals who have contributed to building Vietnam’s scholarly culture. The grounds have a tranquil air, providing a welcome escape from the bustle of the city. Admire the traditional architecture, relax in the gardens and marvel at the historic stelae (honorary inscriptions).

The temple was built in 1070 during the Ly dynasty. When it was first established, only people of noble birth were admitted to the grounds. In 1442 the university opened its doors to receive talented students from across the country. In the 15th century the emperor Le Thanh Thong had commemorative inscriptions made for all who were given a doctorate. Today 82 stelae for 1,307 laureates remain.

Five courtyards reflect the different eras of Vietnamese architecture. Pass by eight tall stelae before entering the first courtyard where you'll see the Great Portico. Walk under the Great Heavenly Gate to the second yard where the 200-year-old Khue Van Cac pavilion stands. This opens to the third yard, known as the Garden of the Stelae. Here see tombstones with the names of honorary doctors. Relax by the Well of Heavenly Clarity and view the inscriptions in the halls.

Confucius is honored in the Courtyard of the Sage. Another well-known teacher, Chu Van An, is also honored and 72 students are recognized. A temple replica and historic photographs are in the fifth yard. In this final courtyard, Thai Hoc, see Vietnam’s first university.

Access the Temple of Literature by taxi or walk there easily from Ba Dinh Square. It is open daily, from morning until afternoon, with the exception of Monday, and is closed during lunch hours. There is an entrance fee. Much of the information is written in Vietnamese, so bring a guidebook or book a tour to fully appreciate the complex.


Guide to Exploring around Temple of Literature


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Super Hotel Candle ¥4,458
Super Hotel Candle

Super Hotel Candle

287 - 301 Doi Can Str, Ba Dinh, Hanoi
     
    4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Ba Dinh, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Van Phuc Diplomatic Corps and Lotte Center Hanoi. Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Ho Chi Minh Museum are also within 1 mi (2 km).

    Melia Hanoi ¥11,294
    Melia Hanoi

    Melia Hanoi

    44b Ly Thuong Kiet Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
       
      5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Hoan Kiem, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Hoa Lo Prison Museum, Hoan Kiem Lake, and St. Joseph's Cathedral. Hanoi Opera House and Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre are also within 1 mi (2 km). Hanoi Railway Station is 10 minutes by foot and Hanoi Long Bien Station is 25 minutes.

      Mercure Hanoi La Gare ¥3,249
      Mercure Hanoi La Gare

      Mercure Hanoi La Gare

      94 Ly Thuong Kiet Street Hoan, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
         
        4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        This family-friendly Hanoi hotel is located in the business district, within a 10-minute walk of Train Street and Hoa Lo Prison Museum. Temple of Literature and Imperial Citadel of Thang Long are also within 15 minutes. Hanoi Railway Station is only a 2-minute walk and Hanoi Long Bien Station is 25 minutes.

        Mövenpick Hotel Hanoi ¥5,416
        Mövenpick Hotel Hanoi

        Mövenpick Hotel Hanoi

        83A Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi
           
          4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Hoan Kiem, this luxury hotel is within a 15-minute walk of St. Joseph's Cathedral and Hoan Kiem Lake. Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre and Hanoi Opera House are also within 1 mi (2 km). Hanoi Railway Station is 5 minutes by foot and Hanoi Long Bien Station is 24 minutes.

          JM Marvel Hotel & Spa ¥1,692
          JM Marvel Hotel & Spa

          JM Marvel Hotel & Spa

          16 Hàng Da Street, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, Oldquater
             
            4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Hoan Kiem, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Vietnamese National Tuong Theatre, Hoan Kiem Lake, and St. Joseph's Cathedral. Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre and Hanoi Old City Gate are also within 15 minutes. Hanoi Railway Station is 14 minutes by foot and Hanoi Long Bien Station is 15 minutes.

            Pullman Hanoi Hotel ¥5,280
            Pullman Hanoi Hotel

            Pullman Hanoi Hotel

            40 Cat Linh Street, Dong Da District, (Entrance 61 Giang Vo Street), Hanoi
               
              4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Dong Da, this luxury hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Temple of Literature and One Pillar Pagoda. Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Ho Chi Minh Museum are also within 1 mi (2 km). Hanoi Railway Station is 22 minutes by foot.

              Imperial Hotel & Spa ¥2,359
              Imperial Hotel & Spa

              Imperial Hotel & Spa

              44 Hang Hanh Street, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
                 
                4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Hoan Kiem, this spa hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Hoan Kiem Lake, Hang Gai Street, and Hanoi Old Town Night Market. Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre and St. Joseph's Cathedral are also within 10 minutes. Hanoi Long Bien Station is 15 minutes by foot and Hanoi Railway Station is 22 minutes.

                Do Thanh Home
                Do Thanh Home

                Do Thanh Home

                No 2 Ton Duc Thang Street, Hanoi
                   
                  2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Ba Dinh, this hotel is steps from Vietnam National Museum of Fine Arts and Temple of Literature. Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Imperial Citadel of Thang Long are also within 15 minutes. Hanoi Railway Station is 14 minutes by foot.