Thursday, April 3, 2008

Temple of Literature

Finally, a religious site I can understand!

The Temple was founded in 1070 and the first university in Viet Nam was founded there a few years later. Despite Vietnamese culture's relative appreciation of women, only men (sons of mandarins) were allowed to study there. There are stelae erected in one of the courtyards that list the doctoral graduates for a certain span of years; each stelae is mounted on the back of a huge stone tortoise. And that's all very well and good, but the reason to come here is that it's peaceful and pretty to look at.

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