The Temple of Literature was built in 1070 at the time of Emperor Ly Thanh Tong. The temple is located to the south of the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long. The various pavilions, halls, statues and stelae of doctors are places where offering ceremonies, study sessions and the strict exams of the Dai Viet took place.
The Temple of Literature is featured on the back of the 100,000 Vietnamese dong banknote. Just before the Vietnamese New Year celebration Tet, calligraphists will assemble outside the temple and write wishes in Han characters. The art works are given away as gifts or are used as home decorations for special occasions.
The temple layout is similar to that of the temple at Qufu, Shandong, Confucius’ birthplace. It covers an area of over 54000 square meters, including the Van lake, Giam park and the interior courtyards which are surrounded by a brick wall. In front of the Great Gate are four tall pillars. On either side of the pillars are two stelae commanding horsemen to dismount.
This is a very busy place, converging cultural elite Vietnam on every occasion.
It is a sacred place to worship the mandarins and the people with meritorious services to the country.