9 Famous Temples and Pagodas In Hanoi

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1: Van Mieu - Quoc Tu Giam

Van Mieu - Quoc Tu Giam is a famous historical and cultural relic consisting of the Temple of Literature and Viet Nam's first university. The Temple of Literature was built in 1070 in honour of Confucius, his followers, and Chu Van An, a moral figure in Vietnamese education.

Quoc Tu Giam, or Viet Nam's first university, was built in 1076. It was the first educational school for royal family members, and it was later opened to talented students. Throughout its more than 700 years of activity, thousands of Vietnamese scholars graduated from this university. In 1482, Emperor Le Thanh Tong ordered the erection of stelae with inscrip¬tions of the names, places of birth, and achievements of the graduates who had taken examinations since 1442 to 1779. Especially, 82 stone stelae at Van Mieu have been recognised as World Documentary Heritage by UNESCO in March 2010.

In 1483 Quoc Tu Giam was changed into Thai Hoc Vien (Higher Educational Institute). After decades of war and natural disasters, the former construction was completely destroyed. In preparation for the celebration of the 1000th anniversary of Thang Long (present day Ha Noi) another construction has been built following the model of the previous Thai Hoc Vien on the same ground. The work was started on July 13, 1999 and completed on October 10,2000, the day of 46‘h anniversary of Hanoi's liberation. With area of 1,530m2, the work includes the front hall, the back sanctuary, lean-tos on the left and on the right, the courtyard, and subsidiary structures. On March 11, 2003, Ha Noi People's Committee had statues of four cultural celebrities begun to cast. They are King Ly Thanh Tong, King Ly Nhan Tong, King Le Thanh Tong and Chu Van An who founded Van Mieu - Quoc Tu Giam and developed Viet Nam's education.

This site preserves historical vestiges of a 1000-year-old civilization such as statues of Confucius and his disciples (Yan Hui, Zengshen, Zisi, Mencius), and ancient constructions such as Khue Van Pavilion, and Worshipping Hall.
Van Mieu - Quoc Tu Giam is located on Van Mieu Street, 2km west of Hoan Kiem Lake. It is open Tuesday to Sunday from 8am to 11.30am and 1.30pm to 5pm.

2: One Pillar Pagoda

The original name of the One Pillar Pagoda was Dien Huu Pagoda, which literally means "long lasting happiness and good luck". The pagoda is located on Ong Ich Khiem St., in the western part of the Thang Long Citadel, and near Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum. It was first built in 1049, during the reign of Emperor Ly Thai Tong. According to legend, ageing Emperor Ly Thai Tong, who had no children, often went to pagodas to pray to Buddha for a son. One night, he dreamed that he was granted a private audience with Buddha. Buddha, who was seated on a lotus flower in a square-shaped lotus pond on the western side of Thang Long Citadel, gave the king a baby boy. Months later, when the queen gave birth to a male child, the Emperor ordered the construction of a pagoda supported by only one pillar to resemble the lotus seat of his dream in the honour of Buddha. The pagoda is open daily from 8am to 5pm. Entrance is free.

3: Tran Quoc Pagoda

Tran Quoc Pagoda, located on an islet in West Lake, is the one of the oldest pagodas in Viet Nam; its construction started in 541. Standing at one end of Thanh Nien Road, one can see the towers of the pagoda rising above the lake's surface. Inside, there is a precious statue of Sakyamuni Buddha enter-ing Nirvana, which is a masterpiece of Vietnamese sculptural art. A stele dating from 1639 tells the story of this pagoda. It is open daily.

4: Ngoc Son Temple

Hoan Kiem Lake was already considered the most beautiful lake in the city when Ngoc Son Temple was built on Ngoc (Jade) Islet, in the northern part of the lake during the 19th century. It was dedicated to Van Xuong, once considered as the brightest star in Vietnamese literary and intellectual circles, and Tran Hung Dao, the national hero who led the Vietnamese people to victory over Mongol aggressors in the 13th century.

The temple, as it is seen today, is attributed to the restoration efforts of Nguyen Van Sieu in 1865. Nguyen Van Sieu, a great Hanoian writer, had a large pen-shaped tower (Thap But) built at the entrance of the temple. On the upper part of the tower are three Chinese characters, Ta Thanh Thien, which mean "to write on the blue sky is to imply the height of a genuine and righteous person's strength and will”
The temple is open daily from 8am to 5pm.

5: Kim Lien Pagoda

Kim Lien Pagoda was originally built on Nghi Tam peninsula, on the bank of West Lake. Today it is located in Quang An Ward, Tay Ho District, Ha Noi.
According to legend, during the 12» century (1128-1138), Princess Tu Hoa, daughter of King Ly Than Tong, led her royal representatives to this area where they cultivated mul-berries and reared silkworms. The pagoda was later built in 1631. Formerly, it had the name Dai Bi, Dong Long, and Tu Hoa. In 1771 Lord Trinh restored the pagoda and changed its name to Kim Lien (Golden Lotus) part of the former Tu Hoa Palace of the Ly Dynasty.

Kim Lien is composed of three pavilions, each of which has 2 roof layers and the appearance of being slightly curved and sup-ple. Apart from its nice disposition, the pago-da has a gate of sophisticated and intricate architecture.
The origin architecture and decoration togeth-er with the location of Kim Lien Pagoda gives visitors an opportunity to enjoy tranquillity and solitude. It is open daily.

6: Quan Su Pagoda

Quan Su Pagoda, built in the 17th century, is located at 73 Quan Su Street. The Northern Buddhist Association chose Quan Su Pagoda as its meeting hall in 1934. In 1942, the pagoda was restored to its actual state, and since 1958, the Viet Nam Buddhist Association has had its head office at the pagoda. The pagoda opens daily from 7.30am to 11.30am and 1.30pm to 5.30 pm.

7: Quan Thanh Temple 

The three ancient Chinese characters at the top of the entrance of Quan Thanh Temple read "Tran Vu Quan", which means that the temple is dedicated to Huyen Thien Tran Vu, the God who guarded and administered the north of the country. Saint Tran Vu was both a Vietnamese legendary character (who assisted King An Duong Vuong in chasing away ghosts during the construction of Co Loa Citadel) and a Chinese legendary char-acter (who guarded and administered the North).

Quan Thanh Temple was built during the reign of Emperor Ly Thai To (1009-1028). Special attention should be paid to the black bronze statue of Saint Tran Vu, nearly 4 m in height and 4 tons in weight, was cast in 1677 located in the main hall. Also noticeable, a 1.5m high ancient bronze bell hangs at the top of the three-gate entrance. In the temple, a small black bronze statue of Old Trong, the chief artisan of the bronze casting team who made the bell and the giant statue of Saint Tran Vu. To commemorate the great contribu¬tions of their teacher, Old Trong's students cast his statue and placed it in the temple so that future generations would remember him. The Temple is located at the southern end of Duong Thanh Nien (Youth Road), near the intersection of Quan Thanh Str., and Duong Thanh Nien, 2km west of Hoan Kiem Lake. It is open daily.

8: Hai Ba Trung Temple

This temple is also called Dong Nhan Temple because it is located in Dong Nhan Ward in Hai Ba Trung District, 2km south of Hoan Kiem Lake. The temple was built in 1142, under the reign of Emperor Ly Anh Tong and was dedicated to the Trung Sisters, Trung Trac and Trung Nhi. Two statues made of clay are located at the inner sanctum of the tem¬ple. They are surrounded by statues of the 12 female generals who followed the two sisters in leading their army to defeat their aggres¬sors. From the 3rd t0 6>h days of the 2nd lunar month, there is a grand festival at the temple to commemorate the two national heroines.

9: Tay Ho Temple

Tay Ho was an ancient village of Thang Long, located to the east of West Lake. At the entrance of the village, there is a temple to worship Mother Lieu Hanh, who had an exquisite talent for playing music, singing, and writing poetry. Mother Lieu Hanh was so kind that she was raised as Thanh Mau (Saint Mother). Every year, on the 15th day of the 1st lunar month, many people come here, not only to worship Thanh Mau in the hope that she will offer them good things and good luck, but also to admire the beautiful landscape of the capital city.

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