Temple of Literature Place guide



Temple of Literature

The Temple of Literature Hanoi or Văn Miếu is cited as one of Hanoi’s most photogenic tourist attractions.


The Temple of Literature Hanoi or Văn Miếu is cited as one of Hanoi’s most photogenic tourist attractions. It was originally built in 1070  as a place where sages and saints of Confucianism could be worshipped. Later, however, a National College was built on the site. 

Long ago it only admitted princes as scholars within its halls, but it soon expanded to include exceptionally bright students nationwide. If you’re keen to know about the Confucian education system while strolling through classical Vietnamese architecture, add this to your things to see in Hanoi.

Visiting the Temple of Literature

The temple is surrounded by brick walls, the area separated into five areas, each having a different history and significance. 

(1) The first area stretches from the main gate to Dai Trung Gate;

(2) The second is in the Khue Van Cac pavilion. 

(3) The third courtyard is where various doctors’ names are listed on tombstones. These bear the names and origins of 1,307 doctors, all passing 82 examination courses from 1442 to 1779. If you happen to visit the temple in the beginning of the year or in May, you can catch numerous students who rub the tortoise’s head for luck on their own exams. In the Temple of Literature, there are 82 steles—the oldest from the 1442 palace exams and the most recent from the 1779 exams. They’re the most valuable relics in the entire temple. 

(4) In the fourth area, there is a large courtyard that used to house the altars where scholars could worship the 72 disciples of Confucius. There is also a Great House of Ceremonies, called the Dai Bai containing a bell cast in 1768 and other precious objects. 

(5) The final section became a temple dedicated to Confucius’ parents. 

In the past, Van Mieu was revered as it symbolized the apogee of learning in Vietnam. Today, worshippers and acolytes merge with tourists in this popular site.

Best time to go: To avoid the rush of people, try to visit in low season, so you can take in the incredible aura of long-gone scholars dedicated to the pursuit of enlightenment in relative peace. The temple is open from 8:30am to 11:30am, then 1:30pm to 4:30pm everyday, except Mondays and national holidays. 

How to get there: The temple is between Ton Duc Thang Street and Van Mieu Street, which is about 2 kilometers west of Hoan Kiem Lake. If you’re by the lake area, you can opt to walk to the temple, or simply get a taxi.

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