Quan Thanh Temple (Vietnamese: Đền Quán Thánh), formerly known as Tran Vu Temple, is a Taoist temple in Hanoi, Vietnam. Dated to the 11th century, the temple was dedicated to Xuan Wu,..
Quan Thanh Temple (Vietnamese: Đền Quán Thánh), formerly known as Tran Vu Temple, is a Taoist temple in Hanoi, Vietnam. Dated to the 11th century, the temple was dedicated to Xuan Wu, or Trấn Vũ in Vietnamese, one of the principal deities in Taoism. As one of the Four Sacred Temples of the capital, Quan Thanh Temple is located near West Lake in a ward of same name, Quan Thanh Ward, and is one of the leading tourist attractions in Hanoi.
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. It is one of the Four Sacred Temples that were built in four directions to protect the capital from malevolent spirits. In Hanoi, there is also a second TranVu Temple in Gia Lam district. Although smaller than Quan Thanh Temple, Tran Vu Temple is also dedicated to Tran Vu with a 9-tonne statue of the deity. Considered a masterpiece of Vietnamese bronze casting and sculpture, it is the second biggest bronze statue in Vietnam.
Nowadays, after many geographical changes to the city layout, Quan Thanh Temple is located on the corner of Quan Thanh Street and Thanh Nien Street, facing West Lake. It is a short walk from Truc Bach Lake where pilot and future United States senator John McCain was shot down in October 1967.
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 main features of Quan Thanh Temple are a large yard shaded by a giant banyan tree and a shrine that contains the famous bronze statue of Tran Vu built in 1677.
In 1677 during the reign of King Lê Huy Tông, artisans from the nearby village of Ngũ Xã offered Quan Thanh Temple a very large statue of Tran Vu in black bronze, which remains today. This statue is measured 3.96 metres (13.0 ft) in height, weights around 3,600 kilograms (7,900 lb) and depicts Tran Vu as a deity with his two symbolic animals, the serpent and the turtle. This artwork is evidence of the advanced technical standard of bronze casting and sculpture of Vietnamese artisans in the 17th century. Cast at the same time as Tran Vu’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 Tran Vu statue. Beside the statues of Tran Vu and Trum Trong, the main shrine also has a valuable collection of ancient texts such as poems or duilians which date from the 17th and 18th century. After each restoration, a stele was often kept in 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.
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) to worship and pray for health, luck and happiness for them and their relatives.
With its history and architecture, Quan Thanh Temple is one of the tourist attractions in Hanoi. It is also a training venue for several traditional martial art classes including Vovinam.