In 1070, Emperor Ly Thanh Tong ordered the creation of the Temple of Literature, Van Mieu. Exams were given to attract the
most intelligent Confucian scholars into the government, ensuring a civil service class based on merit rather than social
class. From 1484 to 1788, the names of the top examinees were carved on stone steles set upon great turtles. The last imperial
exams were given in 1919.