Temple of Literature, Hanoi, Vietnam

One of the more impressive places to visit in Hanoi is the Temple of Literature. Originally built in 1070 as a Confucian Temple, in 1076, part of the complex became Vietnam’s first university. Its purpose was to educate the ruling class– the bureaucrats and the nobles and other members of the elite.

Temple of Literature, Hanoi

Temple of Literature, Hanoi

During the time it functioned- from 1076 to 1779, many of the students were not successful in passing the final examinations. The names of those who succeeded were engraved in a stone stele and over the entire period, only 2,313 students’ names were recorded.

The temple is constructed with a series of five courtyards and three paths lead through it. In older times, only the king would use the center path. There are a number of attractive buildings, manicured gardens, and ponds on the complex.

Garden view

Garden view

Statue of a phoenix next to offerings in the temple

Statue of a phoenix next to offerings in the temple

The day we visited, we saw many Vietnamese high school students, dressed in their graduation robes, having their pictures taken against the beautiful gardens and buildings.

Students in their graduation robes

Students in their graduation robes

We also were treated to a concert of Vietnamese music played on traditional instruments. Altogether delightful!

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