Van Mieu in Hue, the traditional education symbol of an old dysnasty

In Hue, the old capital of Vietnam, there is a historical monument that is no less important than shrines of the old Kings. We are talking about Van Mieu, relic of the temple dedicated to Confucius. There is also Van Mieu in Hanoi which is older and more iconic, but Hue’s Van Mieu holds its own values as well. Please follow us in a brief tour to explore this historical place.

Van Mieu (Temple of Literature) is a place dedicated to worshiping Confucian deities and memorizing celebrated scholars of Confucianism. In Hue, Van Mieu (often called Van Mieu Hue) lies on the bank of Huong River, to the west of the Citadel, just 1 kilometer from prestigious Thien Mu pagoda. The temple was built on 1808 during the reign of King Gia Long. Over the years afterwards, the temple was renovated many times, especially in Minh Mang and Thieu Tri’s time. Indochina tours


Van Mieu Hue is situated on the top of a hill which is three meters higher than the surrounding land. All the construction works were built on a square surface of 160 meters long on each side, and are enclosed by surrounding walls called La Thanh. There are about 50 big and small constructions, including the steles which were carved with the names, ages and native villages of 239 doctors in the examinations from Nguyen era.

Behind the main gate, Dai Thanh Dien is situated in the center of Van Mieu Hue. Dai Thanh Dien, built on a high platform, is the main and biggest temple of Van Mieu Hue, a shrine to worship Confucius and hold important ceremonies. Two small houses, Dong Vu and Tay Vu, are built in front of Dai Thanh Dien for worshiping 72 sages and the Confucian deities. Huu Van Duong and Di Le Duong are built to the left and right of the main gate for kings and mandarins to prepare their outfits before attending ceremonies. Tours in Vietnam

Dien Thanh Mon, the gate leading to the main temple
Dien Thanh Mon, the gate leading to the main temple

From Minh Mang’s time onwards, National Examinations were held on the large yard in front of the main shrine, therefore steles bearing the names of successful candidates were also erected here. Two rows of 32 preserved steles were gradually erected on the yard of the main temple from 1831 to 1919. Besides, Van Mieu Hue also has other constructions such as: Than Tru (the kitchen), Than Kho (the storage), Tho Cong house (a shrine for worshipping the genie of the earth), etc. All constructions are made of ironwood, with majestic architectural design and symmetrical decoration.

For more than a half of this century, Van Mieu Hue has been severely damaged by nature and wars. Many items were destructed, and the site turned into a deserted and devastated place. Luckily, many important constructions still remain, including the main temple and steles. It has just been recently renovated by local authorities to preserve the cultural and historical values from Nguyen Dynasty.

The steles are preserved so that they won’t be worn out
The steles are preserved so that they won’t be worn out

Though not remaining intact, Van Mieu Hue is still a unique symbol of Vietnam educational system during Nguyen Dynasty. People visiting there will know about tradition of appreciating knowledge appreciation, respecting scholars and encouraging study in the past.

There are many historical relics of great values in the Southeast Asia that you should check out. Don’t hesitate to discover more if you enjoy the culture of this are.

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