Built in the 11th century, the Temple of Literature in Hanoi honors the passion for learning. Originally a university – Vietnam’s first – it has become a center for promoting Vietnam’s cultural heritage.
For centuries, the Temple of Literature recorded milestones in the educational development of Dai Viet, Vietnam’s former name. The site was severely damaged several times and has been restored as part of Vietnam’s long-term program of heritage preservation. In recent years, the Temple has been on the radar of international tourists. The Center for Scientific and Cultural Activities of the Temple of Literature has upgraded the site’s logo and exhibition hall to lure more visitors, especially young people.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Temple of Literature has remained open online and has carried on its research and planning of post-pandemic activities. The Temple is developing new approaches to promoting traditional values. But it’s quite hard to convey abstract ideas, like passion for learning, respect for teachers, and obedience to ethical norms. It will require a lot more time and efforts to give the public an understanding of the principal values of the Temple of Literature.
The Temple of Literature is one of the top destinations in Hanoi. (Photo: Xuan Kieu)
Truong Quoc Toan, an advisor on promoting of the Temple of Literature, said visitors come to this place to pray for good luck before their examinations and at the beginning of the year and also to participate in talk shows, see exhibits, watch art performances, and enjoy colorful events to enrich their knowledge of Vietnamese culture and traditions.
“The Temple of Literature, a special national relic, embraces the essence of Vietnamese education during the feudal period. But only a small portion of its enormous cultural and historical value is familiar to the public. This is not only a temple honoring the passion for learning but also Vietnam’s first university, which is less known. We need varied activities here, like talk shows, exhibition, and art programs in order to make it a cultural space appealing to young people,” Toan suggested.
The site is opened to visitors online. (Photo: tienphong.vn)
At a talk show in late September, the Center for Scientific and Cultural Activities of the Temple of Literature, in partnership with the non-profit organization Gavisto Diplomat, launched a project called “Temple of Literature Cultural Space” to keep Vietnamese culture alive and diversify cultural activities here.
Hoang Doan Trang, co-chair of the project, said, “This project shares a common goal with the Center for Scientific and Cultural Activities of the Temple of Literature, to uphold our learning traditions in modern society and turn this into an interactive space. We want to make our rich culture and history easier to approach and understand for young people inside and outside Hanoi. By placing Vietnamese culture at the heart of this project, we mean to inspire love for Vietnamese traditions that have been around for thousands of years.”
Endorsed by scientists and young people who are interested in history and culture, the Temple of Literature is endeavoring to evolve into a national cultural center.