Quoc Tu Giam Institution

hue city tour

Quoc Tu Giam was the insutitution formerly organized by the imperial court to train scholars to sever the  feudaism. In our country, the first Quoc Tu Giam was founded in 1076 in the capital Thang Long. When  the Nguyen dynasty was set up and chose Hue its capital, Quoc Tu  Giam was established in Hue and worked until the last  years  of the Nguyen  dynasty. In Gia Long’s time, together with the construction of Van Mieu (Temple of Letters) beyond Linh  Mu pagoda, Quoc Tu Giam was also erected there, though the school was still simple. in Minh Mang’s time, the number of students increased to meet the school was more and more renovated and enlarged to meet the requirements of training mandarins for the regime. In 1821, Di Luan pavilion and lecture halls and three rows of hose  on either sides for students’ accommodation were  constructed. In 1825 the school was renovated; a row of 20 apartments with tile roof  on  either side, a brick wall surrounding the  three faces of  the school  were erected (according to Dai Nam Thuc Luc).


When visiting the school, emperors Thieu Tri and Tu Duc composed poems to praise the learning atmosphere of students and to encourage everyone. These poems were inscribed on the stele  in the front of the  school.

The school was far away from the capital so the transport route was rather inconvenient, therefore in 1908, the  Nguyen dynasty moved it to the left of the citadel (the present museum area). This time the  school was built  on a flat large surface, divided into two areas by the present Le Truc street. Between the two  main areas (front) is Di Luan pavilion. Between the subsidiary areas (back) is Tang Tho Vien (the library). On either side behind Di Luan pavilion are two rows of classroom. On both sides of the front yard  are two rows of dormitory. n both sides of Tang Tho Vien are two houses for Temple Tuu mandarin (Rector) and Tu Nghiep mandarin (vice-rector). Furtherfore, there are some houses for teachers. Most of these contructions are now still preserved.

Di Luan pavilion is a woden house with great value  of architecture and decoration. Most of the  wooden items were engraved very elbourately and inscribed many poems composed by the emperors together with other ancient pictures following “nhat thi nhat hoa” (one poem one picture) model. The students were selected into the institution from many classes and areas in the whole  country. They were royal family members (Ton Sinh), mandarins of springs (Am Sinh), intelligent and good-looking students (hoc sinh) and “thay tu” – the successful candidates in  “huong” exminations and wanted to study for bachelor or doctor degrees. All were called “Giam Sinh” (students of national institution). these students were subsidized scholarship to covert all expenses such as food, oil and lamp, official uniform and accomdaton. Its regulation was to award to encourage studious and punish to  train lazy ones.

Similiar to the prior  dynasties, the early Ngyen dynasty had the cirriculum consisting of  ancient books of cinfuciancism (Tu Thu, Ngu Kinh), chinese history, Vietnam history, chinese literature. The students  were also taught Gia Long’s laws, way to write poems, odes, decrees books, ect. There was fist no limit for time to study: the students studied here until they passed the examination or worked for the imperial court. Later on, the time of  study was fixed to three years. For the fist years of the XXth century, the cirriculum were much changed, science subjects such as mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, literature, french, Vietnamese were tought in stead of other former literary subjects. In 1914, a gymnasium was built for to do exercises.

Quoc Tu Giam in Hue is  the only feudal institution which remains in our country. It is  a valuable historical and cultural relic. To visit the institution tourists will understand more about anthor aspectof the Nguyen dynasty’s activities in particular and of  Vietnamese feudalism in general.

Copyright by Phong Nha Pioneer Travel

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