Jim Zellmer zmetro.com / Travel / Vietnam / Hanoi / Temple of Literature

Oriental Architecture:
Van Mieu, which roughly translates as Temple of Literature, was founded in 1072 during the Ly Dynasty. Shortly thereafter in 1076 a university called Quoc Tu Giam was built alongside the complex. Honoring Confucius and 72 disciples, it served as a civil service college to staff the bureaucracy of the Ly state. Roughly at the beginning of the Tran dynasty (1225-1400) in a period corresponding to the Mongol invasions, the examination system of the university was changed and its gates opened to commoners for the first time. The Chinese ruled Vietnam for a short period between 1407 and 1427. After this brief interregnum, the Vietnamese leader Le Loi rose to prominence. He endowed the univesity with a new library and lecture halls, and added a poetry composition section to the examinations. Also at this time the practice of carving the names of successful examinees on stone stele was instituted. The stones tell us that between 1443 and 1778 over a hundred examinations were held with about 20 successful candidates emerging from each exam.
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