Quan Thanh Temple (Vietnamese: Đền Quán Thánh), formerly known as Tran Vu Temple, is a Taoist temple in Hanoi, Vietnam. The temple is famous as one of 4 Sacred Temples of ancient Thang Long citadel (White Horse Temple in the East, Temple of Kneeling Elephant in the West, and Kim Lien Temple in the South). The temple was one of the principal deities in Taoism and also one of the leading tourist attractions in Hanoi.
- Address: No.49 Thanh Nien street, Quan Thanh Ward, Ba Dinh district, Hanoi city
See on Google map: https://goo.gl/maps/UMP7T8NPpcLB2Xzy6
- Openning time: 8:00 – 17:00 (daily) and 6:00-20:00 (1st and 15th every lunar month)
- Entrance fee: VND.5000~10.000
- Transportation: the most convenient way is to go directly by taxi. There are also some bus routes go though as: No.14, No.45 or No.50. In addtion, Quan Thanh temple is also one of the places that double-deckers pass though.
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History of Quan Thanh Temple
Legend has it that Quan Thanh Temple was established during the reign of Emperor Lý Thái Tổ (1010–1028) and was dedicated to Tran Vu, Deity of the North in Taoism, whose symbols of power are the serpent and turtle.
In most Vietnamese temples, there is a great deal of animal symbolism, and Quán Thánh is no exception. The serpent represents wealth and the turtle represents protection. In a traditional Vietnamese fairy tale, the turtle had a powerful sword that made its way to Lê Thái Tổ King and helped the Vietnamese win the war against the Chinese.
There is also a second smaller Tran Vu Temple in Gia Lam district. During its long history, Quan Thanh Temple has been renovated several times, most recently in 1893 when the principal gate and the shrine were redone. So the architecture is a mixture of the many different styles of the imperial era.
The temple has spent 10 centuries with many ups and downs of history. So that the architecture of the temple is not the same. However, the temple is one of Hanoi’s beautiful tourist attractions with impressive architecture.
In the early period of the temple was built Quan Thanh temple was built in the style of Buddhism with the influence of Confucianism, Taoism (in the Buddhist era was the most influential religion but besides that also Confucianism and Taoism.)
The entire space is decorated with a lot of unique details, such as statues, carvings, motifs… The wooden details in the temple space are quite impressive with very fine carvings.
The statue of Huyen Thien Tran Vu
The most impressive in the architecture of Quan Thanh Temple is the Huyen Thien Tran Vu bronze statue. The statue was built during the reign of King Le Hy Tong. Statue of Tran Vu is a fine artwork of the ancient Vietnamese.
In 1677 during the reign of King Lê Huy Tông, artisans from the nearby village of Ngũ Xã offered Quán Thánh Temple a very large statue of Trấn Vũ in black bronze, which remains today. This statue is measured 3.96 metres (13.0 ft) in height, weighs around 3,600 kilograms (7,900 lb) and depicts Trấn Vũ as a deity with his two symbolic animals, the serpent and the turtle. Considered a masterpiece of Vietnamese bronze casting and sculpture, it is the second biggest bronze statue in Vietnam.This artwork is evidence of the advanced technical standard of bronze casting and sculpture of Vietnamese artisans in the 17th century.
Other magnificient architectures
Cast at the same time as Trấn Vũ’s statue was a 1.15 metres (3.8 ft) bronze bell. Those were creations of a master craftsman named Trùm Trọng, who had his own statue in Quan Thanh Temple placed alongside the Trấn Vũ statue.
Next to it is a bronze bell on the inside of the temple three meters high and weighs 1 ton. The ring of Tran Vu temple has been associated with the life of the local people in Ha Noi.
However, over time, many architectural remodeling temple has many changes. The remaining architectural features of today’s Quan Thanh Temple have many features of the Nguyen Dynasty.
In addition, a special feature in the architecture of Quan Thanh Temple is the statue of the Indian god Rahu on the gate. However, many ancient temples in Hanoi have this vestiges. This may be the interference of the culture – religion – belief of Vietnam at that time.
The main shrine also has a valuable collection of ancient texts such as poems which date from the 17th and 18th century. After each restoration, a stele was often kept in the temple for the record. The oldest one dated from 1677 while the latest was made by viceroy Hoàng Cao Khải in 1894 during the reign of Thành Thái Emperor during the French colonial era.
Activities in Quan Thanh Temple
By tradition, Hanoians often come to Quan Thanh Temple on the occasion of Tet (Vietnamese Lunar New Year) or the first and fifteenth of each lunar month (new and full moon respectively). In addition, in the courtyard there is a brick oven where people burn fake money. The money is typically burned during Tết (Lunar New Year). This is because it is believed that the money and other items will be sent to their ancestors. Along with burning fake money, they also burn incense sticks to worship and pray for health, luck and happiness for them and their relatives.
Quan Thanh temple is also a training place for several traditional martial art classes including Vovinam.
Important travel tips
- Please maintain a decent costumes while visiting the temple in order to retain the sanctity.
- After finishing the tour of the temple, visitors should check out the Botanical Gardens and Tran Quoc Pagoda, which are only a short walk away from the temple. Do not forget to grab a bite to eat along the lakeshore.
- The majestic white tiered gate at the temple’s entrance is a fabulous location for taking photographs.
If traveling in Hanoi, Quan Thanh Temple is one of the destinations that you should not miss. Please contact Hai Phong Tours for advice and booking. Here a some tours for your references:
We wish you a unforgettable trip to Vietnam with wonderful experiences!