Also, in case you’re wondering what the difference is between a pagoda and a temple: Both are places of worship, but in a pagoda one worships Buddha, while in a temple one worships a notable human being (a king, or a hero, for example).
The original structure was built hundreds of years ago by a king who wanted to thank the gods for giving him a son. Faithful Vietnamese who want sons still worship here. The current structure is a replica of the original, which was destroyed in the war.
Temple of Literature
This, too, is an ancient temple, and as far as I could tell was dedicated to Confucius and some of his followers, as well as the founders and major donors of the university that was affiliated with the temple for centuries.
This temple is set up as a series of five sequential courtyards, each of which represents a different element (fire, water, wood, stone, wind — I think those are the elements), and each courtyard has a gate with three doors (the central door for the king, the two side doors for everyone else).
|Stelae with tortoise bases for the professors|
|Detail of the lacquer finish on the doors|
|Detail of the roof tiles|
Ngoc Son Temple and Huc Bridge
This temple sits on a little island in the middle of a lake in central Hanoi.