Van Mieu Quoc Tu Giam has long been a major historical and cultural construction in the center of Hanoi. Particularly, when the spring comes, a great number of visitors from various regions come here to visit and go on a pilgrimage. The article below will help you learn more about Van Mieu Quoc Tu Giam – the first university in Vietnam.

Basic knowledge of Van Mieu Quoc Tu Giam

With the policy of selecting Confucianism as the political ideology of the state, in 1075, the king set the first examination to choose talents. In the reign of the King Ly Nhan Tong (1076), Quoc Tu Giam, which is considered the first university of Vietnam, was built. Under the Tran Dynasty, Quoc Tu Giam is called Vien Quoc Hoc (National Academy). In the Temple of Literature is located Khue Van pavilion. The examination was first held in 1075 under the reign of King Ly Nhan Tong and the final exam was set in 1787 in the reign of the King Le Chieu Thong.

temple of literature inside 1 - Van Mieu Quoc Tu Giam - The First University In Vietnam

The Temple of Literature

When having been just founded, the school was named Quoc Tu Giam. In 1236, it was renamed Quoc Tu Vien (Imperial Academy), then Quoc Hoc Vien (National Academy). By the Le dynasty was called Thai Academy. Despite several times of changing names, Quoc Tu Giam was the highest education level in the feudal period and was directly organized and operated by the royal court.

The importance of Van Mieu Quoc Tu Giam for ancient Vietnamese education

The main mission of Quoc Tu Giam is to train martyrs, build talents and appoint the students of the school to the court for the nomination of mandarin. The king chose the descendants of the mandarins and talented civilians to be the students. There are two ways to select the candidate as mandarin, firstly, choosing the person with the honor; secondly, taking those who have great talent and virtue but ignoring the honor.

The books used in the school is Confucian sutra. In addition, the students have to study the books of Vietnam’s history and the China’s history to attain more understanding about the history of the two nations. To be put the name on the honor roll, the students often have to undergo “ten years of studying and training hard”. The teachers in Quoc Tu Giam are all the good mandarins directly chosen by the king.

temple of literature hanoi 1 - Van Mieu Quoc Tu Giam - The First University In Vietnam

The Temple of Literature

Many famous historians, scholars and writers like Ngo Si Lien, Le Van Huu (historian), Le Quy Don (scholar), Luong The Vinh (mathematician), Luong Nhu Hao (his ancestor of printing) and Ngo Thi Nham (writer) were inscribed on the stele here.

Accordingly, the rules of organizing the activities of Quoc Tu Giam is very strict and the study content is also well-organized. Therefore, during nearly a century (1076 – 1802), Quoc Tu Giam trained a host of talented people to serve the country. It can be said that Quoc Tu Giam is the typical image of the traditional fondness of learning of the Vietnamese people.

Quoc Tu Giam deserves to be a great cultural work of Vietnam and the pride of the Vietnam people in general and the Hanoians in particular. In the trip to Hanoi, Vietnam, almost no tourists miss this destination.

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