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.
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
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
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 Tower
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
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.