Temple of Literature (Văn Miếu – Quốc Tử Giám, 文廟) was established in Hanoi, Vietnam in 1070. The temple is located in old town Hanoi along with many other items of interest within easy walking distance (see Curious Cat Hanoi Tourist map). The temple grounds are enjoyable and provide a respite from chaotic Hanoi, and the history is interesting.
In 1076, Vietnam’s first university, the “Quốc Tử Giám” or Imperial Academy, was established within the temple to educate Vietnam’s bureaucrats, nobles, royalty and other members of the elite. The university remained open from 1076 to 1779. In 1802, the Nguyễn dynasty’s monarchs founded the Huế capital where they established a new imperial academy.
The temple layout is similar to that of the temple at Qufu, Shandong, Confucius’ birthplace. It covers an area of over 54000 square meters.
In 1484, the King Lê Thánh Tông erected 116 doctors’ steles of carved blue stone turtles with elaborate motifs to honor talent and encourage study (82 stele remain). The names of 1307 graduates of 82 triennial royal exams. They are located in the 3rd courtyard.
The students enrolled for three to seven years. They had minor tests each month and four major tests per year. Success in the exams, certified by the “Ministry of Rites” qualified them to sit the national exam, the “Hoi”. Success at the “Hoi” qualified the student to sit the royal exam, the “Dinh”, held at court. At this exam, the monarch himself posed the questions, responded to the candidate’s answer and then ranked those who passed into different grades.
Learn more about the temple on wikipedia.