Quan Thanh Temple formerly known as Trấn Vũ 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 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. 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.
During its long history, Quán Thánh 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 Quán Thánh Temple are a large yard shaded by a giant banyan tree and a shrine that contains the famous bronze statue of Trấn Vũ.
By tradition, Hanoians often come to Quán Thánh Temple on the occasion of Tết or the first and fifteenth of each lunar month (new and full moon respectively) to worship and pray for health, luck and happiness.
Taoism has been mixed with other Vietnamese religions since this temple was built, so the people that come to pray are not fully Taoist. Currently no monks live at the temple.
With its history and architecture, Quán Thánh Temple is one of the tourist attractions in Hanoi. It is also a training venue for several traditional martial art classes including Vovinam.
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