Located on a campus having the total area of over 54,000m2, the Temple of Literature Hanoi (Van Mieu) is lying in four streets including Quoc Tu Giam street in the south, Nguyen Thai Hoc street in the north, Ton Duc Thang street in the east, and Van Mieu street in the west. The outside of the temple is surrounded by brick walls. The inside is divided into different areas with different architectures.
Hanoi Temple of Literature consists of two main monuments. The first one is a temple of Confucius and Confucian sages. The second one is Imperial Academy - the first national university of Vietnam. With more than 700 years of operation, the Temple of Literature trained thousands of talents for the country. Today, this is a place where educational events regularly happened such as award ceremonies for excellent students, poetry festivals, and so on. With regard to history, in the autumn of 1070, Ly Thanh Tong King started the construction of the Temple which is dedicated to Confucius, sages and scholars. Six years later, the King decided to build Imperial Academy, the highest level of education at that time. This is a significant event marking the first choice of Vietnam feudal dynasty in terms of education and training.
Except from two main monuments, the Temple of Literature also includes other valuable architectures such as Literature Lake (Hồ Văn), Giam Park (Vườn Giám), and an area where 82 stone steles of imperial examinations located. The first architecture that tourists can see when setting foot in this place is the Great Middle Gate (Đại Trung), followed by Constellation of Literature Pavilion (Khuê Văn Các), and Gate of Great Synthesis (Đại Thành), etc. These structures contain unique historic and cultural values of Vietnam. Especially, Constellation of Literature Pavilion is a highlighted feature of the Temple, which was built in 1805. The architecture of this work is very harmonious and unique with four pillars. Each side of the pillars was carved with sophisticated and picky motifs. The upstairs were made from wood which was decorated very skillfully and beautifully. Because of the sophistication of design followed Hanoi style, Constellation of Literature Pavilion has become a typical symbol of the land having thousand - year culture. It is also the image of Vietnam regularly when appearing in the international events.
Currently, the Temple has preserving 82 turtle steles of imperial examinations - a heritage that is recognized by the world. These steles were divided equally into two rows in the right and the left of the Well of Heavenly Clarity (Thiêng Quang Well). All steles were placed on the back of turtles facing the Well. The outstanding feature of these steles is that all of them were carved with sophisticated decorative motifs. With the special beauty and the harmony of architectural works containing historical values, the Temple of Literature is one of the most favorite attractions in Hanoi.
On March 9, 2010, the United Nations Organization for Education, Scientific and Culture (UNESCO) officially recognized 82 turtle steles in a list of world's documentary heritage. Since then, the Temple of Literature becomes more and more well-known to not only Vietnamese people but also international tourists because of the cultural and historic values. Temple of Literature is one of Hanoi attractions tourists should not miss when having a trip to Hanoi. The opening time of the Temple is from 8.00 am to 5.00 pm in November to March and from 7.30 am to 6.00 pm in the rest months. The ticket price is 20,000 VND for adults and 10,000 VND for children.