Temple of Literature (Van Mieu)
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: Between Ton Duc Thang Street and Van Mieu Street.
Telephone: +84 24 3747 2566
Opening times: Monday to Friday, 8am t0 6pm; Saturday, 8am to 9pm; Sunday, 8am to 6pm.
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.