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Van Mieu - Quoc Tu Giam is a thousand years of Vietnam culture

 

Quoc Tu Giam is worthy of leading cultural relics and for the pride of the people in Vietnam’s capital, when prompting about the tradition with a thousand years of the culture of Thang Long - Dong Do - Hanoi.
Perhaps, all Vietnamese people are known to Van Mieu - Quoc Tu Giam; here is a relic of the capital Hanoi. And there is no strange when anyone talks about it, because it is one of the first universities in the world.

If you go to Hanoi but not visit Van Mieu - Quoc Tu Giam, as you have never been Hanoi. With me, if one time to visit Van Mieu - Quoc Tu Giam, it means adding more discoveries and explores the history and architecture of this monument.

 

The front of Van Mieu - Quoc Tu Giam

The front of Van Mieu - Quoc Tu Giam

Van Mieu (a literature temple) is worships Confucius, the Confucian sages and Sr. Chu Van An (the typical teacher for high ethical virtues of education in the both of Viet Nam and Quoc Tu Giam university); this is the first national university in Vietnam; during over 700 years of operation (1076-1802), the university has trained thousands of talents for Vietnam.

According to documented history, the Literature Temple was built in October 1070, (at the life’s time of Ly Thanh Tong king). In 1076, Ly Nhan Tong king started to operate Quoc Tu Giam, which is adjacent to the Literature Temple. At the started time, this university only applied for princes; then, the university was expanded to obtain better students in the society at that time.

Entrance to the Confucious Temple
Entrance to the Confucius Temple

The entire Van Mieu - Quoc Tu Giam today has an area of ​​54,331 m2, including: Literature Lake, Giam garden and internal area, is surrounded by a brick wall. Inside, the barrier layer divides into five zones.

The first area is begun with the main entrance’s port to the Dai Chung port. On the main gate, there are the words mean “Van Mieu Mon”. This is the three-port and two-tier architecture; outside the gate, there are two stone dragons (very special feature of the Le king’s dynasty); inside, there are a couple of dragons at the time of the Nguyen king’s dynasty. Dại Chung port (big port) are three roofs (they are covered by tile), flanked by two small ports called meaning as Thanh Duc and Dat Tai.

 

The first area
The first area

The second area: Highlights with Khue Van Cac. This is a unique structure built in 1805 (Nguyen dynasty). It consists of two floors, eight roofs; the lower floor is four friezes; the higher floor is timber architecture; four faces are the round window with design spreads out of four directions. It symbolizes the image of the Khue star (The Khue star is one of the twenty-eight constellations of ancient China). The two sides (right and left) of Khue Van are two ports as Bi Van and Suc Van. Khue Van is usually held to review prose and poetry of the pre-learners. Today, Khue Van also is taken as a symbol of Hanoi capital.

Khue Van Cac
Khue Van Cac



The third area is the Khue Van upstairs to Dai Thanh Mon (the Great Gate); in the middle of this are, there is a square-lake called Thien Quang Tinh (it means as the fresh sky-well), is walled around. The sides of the lake are two stele gardens; there are 82 doctoral steles, which are stored here. They were built from 1484 to 1780. Each stele includes of name and countryside of the 82 doctoral examinations.

Thien Quang Tinh lake
Thien Quang Tinh lake



The stone steles
The stone steles



The tortoise stone "wearing stele" about hundreds of years
The tortoise stone "wearing stele" about hundreds of years

Here, if someone gets attention to read, that one can find the names of some politicians, literature writer and renowned historian such as Ngo Si Lien, Ngo Thi Nham, Le Qui Don, Luong The Vinh (mathematics), Luong Nhu Hoc (an inventor about the printing industry in Vietnam)... This are the most precious relics of the ruins.

Going through “Dai Thanh” (the big door) to the fourth area (it is also known as the worship section of the Literature Temple). That is similar as a large yard, tiled. Two sides are two house queues (the right and left to queue); this is a place for worshiping of 72 worship’s card in proportion to the famous people who include of the great students of Confucius, the best students of Quoc Tu Giam and other well-known culture talents of the Tran’s dynasty. The end of a yard is Dai Bai (the big worship) and Hau Cung (the back palace).

The Bai Duong area
The Bai Duong area

Precious relics "the Bich Ung bell" (The largest bell in the Giam’s dynasty) was cast in 1768
Precious relics "the Bich Ung bell" (The largest bell in the Giam’s dynasty) was cast in 1768

Here, there are a number of precious objects: The big bell named “Bich Ung” is hung on the left; a musical air instrument is on the right. This bell is made by Nguyen Nghiem in 1768. On the inside of the air instrument, there are two words mean as “Tho Xuong”; there are some other words outside with the Le style (one ancient style of letter writing); it explains about the method for using this instrument.

The fifth area: At behind Dai Bai (the big worship), that is Thai Hoc home (the old Quoc Tu Giam university in the past). Here, there are some reigns that had the opinion as "the talents are the strength of country", had recruited many talented people, high achieving, to add to the different positions at the university to foster the teaching. They also help the King raise the knowledge on all aspects. There are many very famous teachers as Bui Quoc Khai, Nguyen Tru, Chu Vǎn An... was well-known in this University.

The Chu Van An Statue is for worship, a great virtue genius, had got many successful students
The Chu Van An Statue is for worship, a great virtue genius, had got many successful students

Thai Hoc home
Thai Hoc home

In the early nineteenth century, when Nguyen’s dynasty left this university to Hue, this place transferred the Khai Thanh temple. From years of 1946 to1947, this area was burned. In 2000’, Thai Hoc home was completed to celebrate an exactly 990-year anniversary of Thang Long - Hanoi. This is a place to honor the tradition and culture and education of Vietnamese. There are statues to commemorate some very famous people. Those are three Kings (Ly Thanh Tong, Ly Nhan Tong Le Thanh Tong) and Chu Van An; all had the worthy creation about “Van Mieu - Quoc Tu Giam” and development of Vietnamese Confucian education.

In conclusion, a most impressive thing with me about Van Mieu - Quoc Tu Giam is the construction materials; they are really Vietnam such as wood, terra-cotta, shoe-top tiles. It is arts in the Le and Nguyen dynasty. Architectural style that was hidden under ancient trees with hundreds of years has taken Van Mieu - Quoc Tu Giam becomes an attractive destination for domestic and international tourists.

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