Temple of Literature

Entrance portal to the Temple of Literature in Ha Noi Vietnam.

Any county that dedicates a temple to literature and culture must be an advanced and forward thinking country, one that did it in the year 1070 is just awesome!

The Temple of Literature, or Culture, in Ha Noi Vietnam is a “Temple of Confucius” which is a temple that honors Confucius and other philosophers and thinkers in the realm of Confucianism. The temple was built in 1070, at the time when Vietnam was ruled by the Emperor  Lý Thánh Tông (1054-1072). In 1076 the first National University in Vietnam was established on the grounds of the temple.

Temple of Literature Tiger wall relief at the entrance.
Temple of Literature Tiger wall relief at the entrance.

The grounds are beautiful with many ponds and old majestic trees. The temple has five courtyards and each has an entrance gate. There are many ponds filled with Koi and Lotus flowers throughout the grounds of the temple.

One of the ponds to the left in this picture.
One of the ponds to the left in this picture.

A closer look at one of the ponds with the beautiful Lotus flowers.
A closer look at one of the ponds with the beautiful Lotus flowers.
One of the beautiful Lotus flowers in the pond.
One of the beautiful Lotus flowers in the pond.
The seed pod of the spent Lotus flower.
The seed pod of the spent Lotus flower.
One of many old majestic tree on the grounds.

The big Koi pond is called Thien Quang well and is in the third courtyard.
The big Koi pond is called Thien Quang well and is in the third courtyard.
The entrance gate,  gate of Great Synthesis, leading to the fourth courtyard.
The entrance gate, gate of Great Synthesis, leading to the fourth courtyard.
This is a detail of the gate of Great Synthesis door panel.
This is a detail of the gate of Great Synthesis door panel.

The fifth courtyard was originally constructed in 1076 when the University was established. The courtyard was destroyed by the French during war in 1946 but was reconstructed in the year 2000. It honors important scholars and is a sacred place to the Vietnamese people.

The fifth courtyard at the Temple of Literature.
The fifth courtyard at the Temple of Literature.
A Bonzai tree at the Temple of Literature.
A Bonzai tree at the Temple of Literature.
An urn at the temple.
An urn at the temple.
Confucius himself, the Master...
Confucius himself, the Master…
Two of Confucius disciples.
Two of Confucius disciples.

According to Sima Qian, Confucius said: “The disciples who received my instructions, and could themselves comprehend them, were seventy-seven individuals. They were all scholars of extraordinary ability.” Wikipedia

Crane on Turtle statue.
Crane on Turtle statue.

The Crane and the Turtle

From Wikipedia: “Another important animal is the crane, which is included in a famous Vietnamese story with the turtle. The story says that there once was a drought and the turtle needed water to stay alive. The crane saw he was in trouble, and flew him to the nearest water source. Later there was a flood and the crane had no place to land, so the turtle let the crane stand on his back until the flood was over. This story shows symbiosis, or friendship. This is shown by how the two animals helped each other when they were in trouble.”

In Vietnamese animal symbolism the Turtle represents protection.
In Vietnamese animal symbolism the Turtle represents protection.
One happy visitor at the Temple of Literature in Ha Noi!
One happy visitor at the Temple of Literature in Ha Noi!

Fortune in Calligraphy at the Temple of Literature in Ha Noi

From our friends at VN Express International:

“On the second day of Tet, the Lunar New Year, thousands of people go to the Temple of Literature in the capital city’s Dong Da District to light incense and pray for progress on their learning paths, good exam scores and get the ‘magic’ calligraphy that will help their wishes be granted. The venue, Vietnam’s first university built in 1070, has become a sacred place for most Vietnamese people.”

Turtle steles with names of people who have been successful at the Royal exams.
Turtle steles with names of people who have been successful at the Royal exams.
From the fifth courtyard.
From the fifth courtyard.

Exit through the gift shop!

This lady can show you all the items in the gift shop and even sell you a fountain pen to write your latest novel with.
Flowers are beautiful in Vietnam!
Flowers are beautiful in Vietnam!

VIETNAM

– The come back kid!

Vietnam has endured many wars over time. Four of the wars were in modern, fairly recent times with the latest and hopefully the last war being against the US November 1 1959 – April 30 1975 . When Saigon fell and the war was over the NVA (People’s Army of Vietnam) was the Victor. When the war was raging during the 60’s and 70’s it was the Vietnam war that made the headlines and spurred protests around the world. Images such as Eddie Adams’ photo of an officer shooting a man in the street point blank during the “Tet offensive“, and images of Vietnamese people including children fleeing the Napalm bombings were seared into the memories of a generation, – my generation!

HAN – Hanoi’s Noi Bai airport is bustling with activity.
Inside the terminal at Noi Bai International Airport.

Today Vietnam is a country bustling with activity and an economy that rivals many countries in the S/E Asia region. Building activity is fervent and there seems to be a real optimism in the country. It is really great to experience how the country and the people of Vietnam has moved on from the years of war. The kindness and welcoming attitude of the people makes you feel really welcome to their part of the world. I was not sure what to expect before my first visit, would there be a lingering animosity from the years of war? But no, at no time did I feel that there was any kind of animosity towards me from the local people I met. There was more curiosity and friendly interest in people from other parts of the world and as mentioned I felt a very welcome to their beautiful country. I can’t help but think that it may have something to do with Bill Clinton’s normalization of the relationship with Vietnam with the help of the late Senator John McCain.

Nhật Tân Bridge across the Red river on the way from Hanoi’s Noi Bai airport into town.
Ha Noi’s old quarter at night.

The old Quarter of Hanoi can be a slightly challenging place at times, but I do think this is the place to stay in Hanoi,. Although, be aware that if you are not in good physical shape, then maybe staying outside of the old Quarter should be considered. In the old Quarter you will at times feel like you are running an obstacle course when you attempt to cross the street. Crosswalks and traffic lights mean less here than in many other places in the world. Other parts of the city is slightly less hectic and have wider sidewalks and better options for crossing the road, but they may lack the charm of the old Quarter.

Political propaganda billboard in Ha Noi.

Vietnam is a Socialist Republic that has adopted many of the Socialist manifestos and ways of governing. Just don’t let this prevent you from visiting, as a visitor you are mot likely to notice much of it other than some posters with messages that you will not be able to read unless you can read Vietnamese.

There is a massive amount of construction in Ha Noi currently in July 2019.
Cranes over Vietnam.
This is what the new suburbs of Ha Noi looks like, less charm and individuality as compared to the Old Quarter of Ha Noi, but also wider streets and sidewalks and a cleaner look – it is all in the eye of the beholder….

Visit Vietnam and see this beautiful country, eat the great foods and interact with the friendly Vietnamese people. The culture is very interesting and the arts are strongly supported by the government. This is very much unlike countries such as the US where art has been forced to take a back seat in schools and other places due to budget cuts and an unwillingness to spend money on the arts – that way of thinking is just very shortsighted.

A country that has a “Temple of literature” like Vietnam does in Ha Noi, must be in the top as far as the arts and in particular as far as philosophy goes!

Dawn over Ha Noi’s old Quarter

Ha Noi 5’o clock rush hour – better than a fishtank!

If you like to watch moving items and like the excitement of near misses and expert navigation around obstacles like pedestrians, cars, scooters, bicycles, dogs, lorries, buses or pretty much anything that moves – then Cộng Cà Phê in Ha Noi Vietnam is the place for you! I like the location at the intersection of Nguyēn Hù Huán/Hàng Mâm streets particularly much. But there are many locations so pick your own favorite here!

Hanoi – 20 years as UNESCO City of Peace

Hanoi City of Peace stage.
Hanoi City of Peace stage.

On July 16, 1999,UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) presented the title “City for Peace” to Hanoi, Vietnam. On July 16 2019 the city has now held that title for 20 years and this was celebrated with big parades in the city. UNESCO has to date awarded this honor to 300 cities worldwide.

Hanoi City of Peace parade on Saturday July 13 2019.

Plenty of people were out on a beautiful Saturday, watching the parades and enjoying the celebrations in Hanoi.

Hanoi City of Peace parade on Saturday July 13 2019.
Hanoi City of Peace parade on Saturday July 13 2019.
Hanoi City of Peace parade on Saturday July 13 2019.
Hanoi City of Peace parade on Saturday July 13 2019.
Hanoi City of Peace parade on Saturday July 13 2019.
Hanoi City of Peace parade on Saturday July 13 2019.
Local dignitaries.
Local dignitaries.
More local dignitaries.
More local dignitaries.
Colorful traditional Vietnamese dresses.
Colorful traditional Vietnamese dresses.
This involves some ceramic urns that are sitting on the ground at the moment this picture was taken.
This involves some ceramic urns that are sitting on the ground at the moment this picture was taken.
The Blue Crew.
The Blue Crew.
Spectators watching the Blue Crew.
Spectators watching the Blue Crew.