Friday, April 27, 2007

Temple of Literature 7

This is a quiet oasis right in the heart of busy and often hectic Hanoi. It is also one of the few remaining examples of ancient Vietnamese architecture and is considered perhaps the city’s greatest cultural sight. Founded in 1070, it became the country’s first university in 1076 to educate the sons of mandarins. A stelae naming the birth places and achievements of those receiving their doctorate here is one of the temple’s highlights. There are five separate courtyards and the complex is quite large so allow ample time to enjoy its contemplative grounds. Admission is 20,000 dong ($1.25) and open 8am-5pm daily.

This place existed for more than 700 years as a center for Confucian learning and it's a a must see for those who are interested in classical Chinese/vietanamese architecture. If you're there, look out for the 82 stone diplomas on tortoises bearing the names and birthplaces of 1,306 students who scrapped thru' the university's tough examinations. Like the one-pillar pagoda, some parts of this place was built after the original parts were destroyed during the French War.

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