Van Mieu, Hanoi
Originally built in 1070 in the Ly dynasty, the temple is a shrine to Confucius and his disciples responsible for spreading his teachings. Six years later, Quoc Tu Giam or School for the sons of the Nation was established for the princes. The school later admitted sons of mandarins and finally commoners were allowed to attend but, only after they passed a rigorous examination at the regional level. In 1484, Van Mieu became a place to memorialize the most brilliant scholars of the nation. In 1484, King Le Thanh Tong decreed the names of all those who have attained the doctoral ranks in the national examination be inscribed on stone stelae carried on the backs of giant tortoises.
In all, 2,313 individuals were awarded the title of tien si. However, detailed records were kept only between 1442 and 1779 . According to records, there should be 112 stelae in all but only 82 stelae are still standing. Each represents a single examination year. The name and native village of the students who were awarded the title Tien Si or doctor laureate were inscribed on the stone. Tien si was not a diploma of graduation from the royal college. This title was awarded to those who have successful passed the 4 royal examinations. Scholars from all over Vietnam could participate only if they had passed the regional exam. Courtyard of the Sages is located beyond the Garden of Stelae. Entrance to the courtyard is through Dai Thanh Mon or Gate of Great Success.
The Great House of Ceremonies is located here. It was here that all new doctor laureates would come to pay respect to Confucius. The king would also come to pay homage to the great teacher at Dai Thanh Mon. Inscribed on a wooden panel above the altar are the words "Teacher of Ten Thousand Generations".Behind the Great House of Ceremonies is the Sanctuary, with statue of Confucius flanked by his four closest disciples, Nhan Tu, Tu Tu, Tang Tu, and Manh-Tu (Mencius). Quoc Tu Giam or School for the Sons of the nation is located in the last courtyard. During the time when Van Mieu was used as a school, this area housed classrooms, housing facilities and a print shop. When the university was moved to Hue, Quoc Tu Giam was turned into a shrine to Confucius' parents called Khai Thanh.