Pavilion of the constellation of Literature (Van Mieu)

Location: Pavilion of the Constellation of Literature is in Temple Literature on Van Mieu Street, Dong Da District, Hanoi.

Characteristic: Khue Van Cac, or Pavilion of the Constellation of Literature, was built under the Nguyen Dynasty (1802-1945).

The artifacts, collected during the recent excavation drives around Van Mieu (Temple of Literature) in Hanoi proved the architecture of this site belongs to the Ly (1010-1225) and Tran (1225-1400) dynasties.

Life of the students in olden times is reflected through these artifacts and seemed to be simple and pure compared to that of the city dwellers. Van Mieu - Quoc Tu Giam (National College) now preserves 82 steles engraved with the names of 1,306 doctors who obtained the doctoral titles at 82 royal examinations, held from 1442 to 1779.

Although Van Mieu was built long ago, some architectural complexes in this area were erected much later. One of them was Khue Van Cac. In 1802, Gia Long took the throne and built the capital in Hue. In 1805, the Commander of the Northern Citadel, Nguyen Van Thanh, ordered the construction of Khue Van Cac at Van Mieu. This project was carried out at the same time as the erection of the surrounding walls around Van Mieu in 1833.

The pavilion was a two-storey complex made of wood and bricks, which is mirrored on the Thien Quang Well. Located in the third courtyard (from the front gate), the pavilion's ground floor is empty with four brick pillars of 85cm x 85cm engraved with designs of clouds. The pillars stand on a square base, 6.8m x 6.8m, which is covered with Bat Trang bricks. The upper floor, made of wooden frames, stands on four brick pillars, with four round windows facing the four directions and having rays like the sun. This floor is the symbol of the brilliant constellation that is shining. The Oriental people consider this star as a symbol of literature. On this floor, the balustrade is supported by engraved wooden pieces and a gilt board with three letters of Khue Van Cac hanging on the wall.

Source: Vietnam Administration of Tourism