Quán Thánh Temple

Hanoi, Vietnam

Quán Thánh Temple

Quán Thánh Temple (Vietnamese: Đền Quán Thánh), formerly known as Trấn Vũ Temple (Hán Việt: Trấn Vũ Quán, Hán tự: 真武觀), 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 Thánh Temple is located near West Lake in a ward of the same name: Quán Thánh Ward; and is one of the leading tourist attractions in Hanoi. The temple's name means Place (alternatively shop/restaurant) of the Gods. The name of the long street running by the temple is also called 'Quán Thánh' street.

Legend has it that Quán Thánh Temple was established during the reign of Emperor Lý Thái Tổ (reigned 1010–1028) and was dedicated to Trấn Vũ, Deity of the North in Taoism, whose symbols of power are the serpent and turtle (see section on Animal Symbolism below). It is one of the Four Sacred Temples that were built in four directions to protect the capital from malevolent spirits. Quán Thánh protects from the North, while the other three temples protect from the other directions: Bạch Mã from the East, Kim Liêm from the South, and Thần Linh Lang from the West. In Hanoi, there is also a second Trấn Vũ Temple in the Gia Lâm District. Though smaller than Quán Thánh Temple, this smaller temple is also dedicated to Trấn Vũ with a 9-tonne statue of the deity.

Thumbnail image credited to Stefan FussanAdditional info

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