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Temple of Literature (Van Mieu)

Temple of Literature  © Andrea Schaffer
Temple of Literature © Andrea Schaffer

The Temple of Literature is Vietnam's historical seat of learning and is the most sacred place for the disciples of Confucius. It is one of the few remaining buildings from the original city founded by Emperor Ly Thanh Tong in the 11th century and is a well-preserved example of Vietnamese architecture.

It became the site of the country's first university in 1076. Consisting of a complex of small buildings and five walled courtyards, it was an exclusive establishment teaching the principles of Confucius. In the third courtyard is a pond, the Well of Heavenly Clarity, and beside it are 82 stone stelae, mounted on tortoises and engraved with the names of successful graduates.

Over a period of 900 years thousands of Vietnamese scholars graduated from the university. In honour of their teacher's legacy, there is also a temple dedicated to Confucius, a place where the king and his mandarins would make sacrifices.

Address: Pho Van Mieu, corner of Pho Quoc Tu Giam

Telephone: +84 24 3845 2917/ +84 4 3511 4855

Opening times: Open daily from 7.30am to 6pm (summer), and 8am to 6pm (winter)

Admission: Varying costs for English-speaking guides. Entrance costs 30,000 VND for adults, 15,000 VND for students and free for children under fifteen years old.