Temple of Literature was established by the Nguyen emperor, Gia Long. It comprises a rectangular area with an austere gateway marking the entrance and 32 stone steles held within, bearing the names of academics.
The Nguyen emperors were noted for their strongly held belief in the teachings of 5th Century BCE Chinese philosopher, Confucius. Several ‘temples of literature’ were built during the Nguyen dynasty, celebrating Confucius and scholarship in general. The Emperor Minh Mang introduced a system of national examinations in 1831 and the names of the graduates are engraved on the steles. Although badly damaged by weather and war, you can still see the steles with the names, ages and birth places of the successful candidates. Local Vietnamese parents often bring their children here to inspire scholastic ambition and bring good luck in the next round of exams!