Hue temple of literature is located in Huong Long Commune, Hue City, Thua Thien Hue province. It is usually called Temple of Literature, Van Thanh or Van Thanh Temple used to worship Confucius who is honored as The Great Teacher.
Previously, the Nguyen Lords has built the Temple of Literature at the metropolis and has been moved three times to three different locations: Trieu Son village, Luong Quan village and Long Ho village.
In 1808, during the reign of King Gia Long, Hue Temple of Literature was built in its present location. The old temple is used for worshiping Confucius’s parents. The temple was built massively and majestically in 1808 that situated on the bank of Perfume River in the territory of An Binh Hamlet, An Ninh Village in the west of the citadel, just about 1 kilometer from prestigious Linh Mu Pagoda.
Temple of Literature is in the direction of the South, the main structure was built on a high hill that is 3 meters higher than surrounding ground, Perfume River at the fore sight and hill together with mountain at the back sight. The structure in the temple was built in a square land area with 160 meters of each side, is surrounded by a fencing wall. There are 50 different construction works with various shape, including 50 steles of doctor and 4 other ones.
From Dai Thanh Mon gate, it is easily seen at the center is a big worshiping hall of Confucius, known as the Great Temple. Dai Thanh Dien is essential architecture of the Temple of Literature, the entire architecture is built on a high foundation, about 32m length, 25m width. The structure of temple is designed according to Hue traditional buildings. The two sides before Great Temple built two houses opposite to each other named Dong Vu and Tay Vu both has 7 compartments to worship talented and righteous ancestors.
Especially in the reign of Minh Mang and Thieu Tri King, the Temple of Literature was renovated many times and added into by many sub-constructions detailed in 1818 (the reign of King Gia Long); in 1920, 1822, 1830, 1840 (the reign of King Minh Mang); 1895, 1903 (the reign of King Thanh Thai).
In front of the temple’s yard, there are two big steles of old kings that are the old principles in the past, the stele at the right side is of King Minh Mang’s and the the left side’s one is of King Thieu Tri’s. Passing through the gate and the yard of the temple, we would see many small buildings where are used as the place for the old kings and mandarins to prepare their outfits before going inside the Great Temple to attend the ceremony. In front of these small houses, there are two rows of 32 preserved steles bearing the name of 239 doctors as the successful candidates in National Examinations organized through the Nguyen Dynasty. Moreover, there are several other construction works such as “Than Tru” (kitchen), “Than Kho” (store house), Great Citadel Gate, Literature Temple Gate, etc. These construction works were made of ironwood that has well-matched, majestic architecture and decoration.
Over time, due to the devastation of nature and war, Hue Temple of Literature only remains 34 stone steles in the temple.
Hue Temple of Literature is a very precious historical monument that marks the renaissance period of Confucianism, Nguyen Dynasty period used Confucian as a great help to establish dominion all over the country.