Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Hanoi's Temple of Literature (Văn Miếu)

The Temple of Literature was built in 1070 as a temple to Confucius and was the site of Vietnam's first national university,  The temple grounds contain many monuments dedicated to the scholars who studied and graduated here.  The entrance to the temple is beautifully decorated with flowers, as is the pathway leading into the grounds..

 Entering the temple

The temple's third courtyard is filled with stone stelae which were constructed from 1484 on and represent an incredible historical resource, describing the philosophy, history, culture, education, society, and sculpture of the period.  Each stela is a joint project of scholars, craftsmen, and caligraphers.  This courtyard also contains 116 turtle stelae with the names and birthplaces of all 1307 graduates of the university.

Courtyard of stelae

The fourth courtyard of the temple holds displays, alters, and sculptures dedicated to Confucius and seventy-two of his most-honored disciples.

 Fourth courtyard, Confucius

The Imperial University was created as a fifth courtyard of the temple in 1076 and the courtyard is now dedicated to the three emperors who contributed most to the foundation of the temple and the university (Lý Thánh Tông, Lý Nhân Tông, and Lê Thánh Tông)

 In the fifth courtyard

The temple courtyard is hosting a concert and the stage is filled with brightly-costumed singers, dancers, and musicians.

 Temple concert

 It's time to leave this beautiful, peaceful place and head back into the busy city streets.

Friday, December 27, 2019

Wandering Around Hanoi, Vietnam

We arrive in Hanoi and head out into the streets to wander and see what we can find.  In a short time, we stroll through old traditional neighborhoods, new modern communities, and, at times, a mixture of both.

Streets of Hanoi

We find beautiful parks and gardens along the Red River and along the shores of the lakes in the city, offering relaxation, sport, and beauty.

 Gardens and parks

 And, we find sculpture, wall paintings, bright flowers, and topiaries brightening up the parks and streets of the city.

Art and sculpture


 Flowers for sale

The favored mode of transportation is a bicycle, scooter, or motorcycle and the streets are full of them carrying people and packages all over the city.


We finish our initial wander around Hanoi with a few more scenes that we come across as we meander through the streets.

Street scenes

What an intriguing introduction to Hanoi!  We're looking forward to more exploration over the next few days.