Hanoi Temple of Literature (Van Mieu Quoc Tu Giam)

Hanoi Temple of Literature (Van Mieu Quoc Tu Giam) is a unique relic and the first university in Vietnam.

The temple has values of history and culture, where many people and students come to pray for good luck in examinations and education.

Now Vietnamdrive will guide you to explore the Temple of Literature (Quoc Tu Giam) to know more about the interesting attraction of Hanoi.

Hanoi Temple of Literature
Hanoi Temple of Literature (Quoc Tu Giam)

Location of Hanoi Temple of Literature:

  • Address: 58 Quoc Tu Giam, Dong Da, Hanoi, Vietnam

The Temple of Literature is situated in ​​Dong Da District, Hanoi, in the connection of the four main streets including Nguyen Thai Hoc, Ton Duc Thang, Van Mieu, and Quoc Tu Giam.

Many guests who go from Ho Guom (Sword Lake) can travel along Le Thai To Street, turn right to Trang Thi Street, to Cua Nam and Nguyen Khuyen Streets, then turn left to Van Mieu Street.

Please pay attention to avoid traffic violations, because there are plenty of one-way streets in Hanoi, especially around this area.

If you want to get local experience by using a local bus, you can take the buses which stop near Van Mieu: 02, 23, 38, 25 and 41.

Entrance fee and opening time of Van Mieu Quoc Tu Giam

Hanoi Temple of Literature
Hanoi Temple of Literature – Photo: @tammynguyen0812

At present, visitors have to pay entrance tickets to visit Van Mieu Quoc Tu Giam.

  • Adults: 30,000 VND/adult
  • Students: 15,000 VND/student (showing student ID when buying and checking a ticket).
  • Over 60-year old people: 15,000 VND/person(showing the ID/ Passport)
  • Free of charge for children under 15 years old.

Opening time to visit this attraction:

  • In the summer, the Temple of Literature (Quoc Tu Giam) opens every day from 7:30 am to 17:30 pm.
  • In the winter, the Temple of Literature (Quoc Tu Giam) opens every day from 8:00 am to 17:30 pm.

A little history of the Temple of Literature

The Temple of Literature was built in 1070 under King Ly Thanh Tong.

This site was a place of worship of Khong Tu, Chu Cong and Tu Phoi, who had good knowledge and became the spirit of education.

In 1076, King Ly Nhan Tong built a school (called Quoc Tu Giam) which was considered as the first university in Vietnam.

This school was the place where the king’s children and noble families studied.

By the time of King Tran Thai Tong, Quoc Tu Giam was renamed the National Academy; and then the children of civilians with excellent academic ability could also learn at this famous school.

And, the time had gone, the king (Le Thanh Tong from 1460 to 1497) began to build steles for doctoral candidates.

Under the Nguyen Dynasty(1802 -1945), Quoc Tu Giam was built in Hue. The Temple of Literature in Hanoi was changed to Van Mieu (the temple only), then it was called Hanoi Temple of Literature.

Architecture and the way to visit Hanoi Temple of Literature

The complex of Van Mieu – Quoc Tu Giam relics is situated on an area of 54,330 m2 with many architectural works.

Surrounding the campus are red bricks. With many times of restoration, this site has over 22 small and big buildings. Most of the buildings were built on a line, making the balance.

The style of Hanoi Temple of Literature is base on the classic architecture, using bricks, woods, and clay tiles.

So, when coming to this place, visitors feel that they come back to the past to live in the ancient spirit of education in Hanoi, Vietnam.

When you visit this site, here are some buildings which you should notice because they are the main constructions of this temple.

Temple of Literature Map
Hanoi Temple of Literature Map – Photo: bmktcn.com
  1. The main gate (number 5) of the Temple of Literature has 3 doors, which is the typical gate of most temples and pagoda in Vietnam.
  2. Khue Van Cac (Literature Pavilion) (number 7) was built in 1805, this building is a symbol of the studious spirit of Vietnamese people, showing the vision and orientation of education which is the main core of the country’s development in the future. Therefore, Khue Van Cac is chosen to become the worthy symbol of Hanoi capital of Vietnam.
  3. Bia Tien Si (Stelae of Doctors) (number 9): Each stele on each turtle is made of stone, engraved with the names of the doctors, mandarins, high-leveled candidates. There are still 82 steles from the examinations from 1442 to 1779, which are the most precious relics of the monument. Many students come here to try to touch the head of the turtle to get good luck, but this action is illegal in order to protect the typical relics of Hanoi and Vietnam.
  4. Thai Hoc Buildings (number 13): These are two buildings connecting with each other. These places are to worship the kings Ly Thanh Tong, Ly Nhan Tong, Le Thanh Tong, and the famous person Chu Van An (1292–1370 ) who was a teacher and high-ranking mandarin during Tran dynasty in Vietnam.

The meaning of the Temple of Literature

The Temple of Literature in Hanoi (Quoc Tu Giam) takes very important roles in the educational spirit of Vietnam.

This is both the first national university which encourages the good attitude of learning and developing for most of the Vietnamese people.

So, when visiting this place, you seem to be motivated by the knowledge of the ancestors, which gives more energy to overcome the obstacles of education and to discover new human knowledge.

Van Mieu Quoc Tu Giam Hanoi
Temple of Literature in Hanoi – Photo: @

Moreover, nowadays, the Temple of Literature is a place to organize poetry festivals in Hanoi, to praise excellent students.

The temple is also a famous tourist destination in Hanoi to attract plenty of domestic and international tourists.

Quoc Tu Giam is also a famous site to “ask for words” of the people of Hanoi capital in the examination seasons and the traditional Tet holidays, which is to wish a happy new year and good luck.

Notes when visiting Quoc Tu Giam

  • Buy an entrance fee before visiting this site.
  • Respect monuments, obey the regulations of the management.
  • Do not damage artifacts and landscapes.
  • Do not rub the turtle’s head, or write, draw, stand, sit on the stele.
  • Costumes when coming to the Temple of Literature should be clean and tidy. Do not wear skirts or pants that are too short (over knees), revealing clothing or indoor clothing.
  • Not smoke, not wear a hat in the shrine area, and the gallery.
  • No acts of lack of public culture, profanity and disorder.
  • Having a proper attitude when performing the ceremony, each person burns only one incense stick; burning and putting incense in the right place.
  • It is strictly forbidden to abuse the freedom of belief to perform superstitious activities, gambling, fraud …
  • Keep hygiene and protection of environmental landscapes: Do not climb walls, climb trees, break branches, pick flowers, step on lawns, fishing, swim, throwing rubbish indiscriminately. All of these are not allowed.
  • Do not bring weapons, explosives, flammable substances into the relic.
  • Keep your vehicle in the right place, manage your belongings to avoid any loss.
  • Filming activities at the Temple of Literature are only made with the consent of this site’s leader.

Going through the long history of Vietnam and big changes in life, the Temple of Literature in Hanoi still has essential roles in the life of Vietnamese people, and also a symbol of education in Vietnam.

Hopefully, with these introductions, you have enough confidence to explore this site, one of the well-known Hanoi attractions.

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    About the author

    The editorial staff of Vietnamdrive is a team of travel experts managed by Mr. Thom who has worked in tourism for 14 years. Trusted by thousands of tourists from all over the world.