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Van Mieu - Quoc Tu Giam
(The Temple of Literature)

Van Mieu–Quoc Tu Giam is a famous historical and cultural relic consisting of the Temple of Literature and Vietnam’s first university. The Temple of Literature was built in 1070 in honour of Confucius, his followers, and Chu Van An, a moral figure in Vietnamese education.vancac.jpg (9221 bytes)

Quoc Tu Giam, or Vietnam's first university, was built in 1076. Throughout its 900 years of activity, thousands of Vietnamese scholars graduated from this university. This site preserves historical vestiges of a 1,000-year-old civilization such as statues of Confucius and his disciples (Yan Hui, Zengshen, Zisi, Mencius), and ancient constructions such as Khue Van Pavilion, and Worshipping Hall.

Ngoc Son Temple

Hoan Kiem Lake was already considered the most beautiful lake in Hanoi when Ngoc Son Temple was built on an island in the 19th century. Initially the temple was called Ngoc Son Pagoda and was later renamed Ngoc Son Temple, since temples are dedicated to saints. Saint Van Suong, considered as one of the brightest stars in Vietnam's literature and intellectual circles, was worshipped there. National hero Tran Hung Dao was also worshipped after he led the Vietnamese people to victory over the Nguyen aggressors.ngocson.jpg (9263 bytes)

The temple as it is today, is the result of renovations made by Nguyen Van Sieu in 1864. A great Hanoi writer, Nguyen Van Sieu had a large pen-shaped tower built in the entrance of the temple. On the upper section of the tower, also called Thap But, are three Chinese characters: Ta Thanh Thien, which literally means to write on the blue sky is to imply the height of a genuine and righteous person's determination and will; Dai Nghien, meaning ink stand, carved from stone resembling a peach, which is placed on the back of the three frogs on top of the gate to the temple; and The Huc, meaning where rays of morning sunshine touch. On the way to the temple are several cau doi, parallel sentences, written on the walls. These cau doi were part of traditional word puzzles played by educated individuals.

 

Hanoi Flag Towercotco.jpg (7913 bytes)

Hanoi Flag Tower, also called Cot Co, is one of the rare architectural works in Hanoi that was fortunate enough not to be destroyed by the French administration between 1894 and 1897. It was used by French troops as an observation tower and communication station between command headquarters and adjacent military posts. It was built in 1812 and is composed of 3 platforms and a tower.

The words "Nghenh Huc," meaning "to welcome dawn's sunlight," are inscribed on the eastern door. The western door bears the 2 words "Hoi Quang," meaning "to reflect light," and the southern door, "Huong Minh," meaning "directed to the sunlight.". The tower gets sunlight from 36 flower-shaped and 6 fan-shaped windows.

 

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