August 4, 2020

First Stop: Temple of Literature in Hanoi, Vietnam

In the capital city of Hanoi, age-old structures fill every tourist’s must-visit list. And I tell you, with Vietnam’s lengthy and colorful history, this list can be quite long.

One of the structures on this list (probably sitting comfortably near the top) is the Temple of Literature in Đống Đa, Hà Nội. The Temple of Literature is an important figure in Vietnam’s history. Not only is it a temple of Confucius, it also houses the Imperial Academy or Quốc Tử Giám, Vietnam’s very first national university.

Every day, tourists come in droves to see upclose the temple’s amazing architecture, well-manicured gardens, courtyards and fishponds, pavilions, stelae, halls, and statues.

My first time at the Temple of Literature was quite remarkable. As a first-time overseas traveler, I got exposed to an entirely different culture and set of beliefs. And with no idea what to expect, the things that I saw and experienced within the hallowed grounds, truly was nothing short of wonderful.

Take a look at some of my shots of Hanoi’s lovely Temple of Literature.

Tickets are sold just outside the temple gates. Each ticket costs VND 30,000 or roughly Php 70.

Main gate of Hanoi’s Temple of Literature

In one of the courtyards, you will these stelae sitting on the back of giant turtles. The turtle, which is a symbol of longevity and wisdom, is one of Vietnam’s four holy creatures. The stelae (or the slabs of solid stone) contain the names of the first university’s graduates.

They also tell of how valuable the royal exams are at the university. The stelae basically highlight the importance of education, talent, and courage to the people of Vietnam.

The whole complex is comprised of several different quarters. Two of the complex’s biggest quarters include a big brick courtyard and a temple.

Religious figures adorned with flowers and offerings can be seen in various parts of the complex.

A gold-plated sculpture of a turtle is one of the Temple of Literature’s most-photographed cultural pieces.

Calligraphy is available inside the temple complex. For several hundred thousand dongs, you can get your very own customized calligraphy.

One of the gates which lead to a different courtyard

One of the many pocket gardens in the Temple of Literature complex

The second floor of the academy offers an amazing view of the surrounding structures and open spaces.

A big open space fronting the national academy

Closer look at the temple’s amazing woodwork

When you’re in such a lovely place, it is difficult not to pose for a photo. 🙂




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