The Temple of Literature's 82 steles engraved with the names of doctorate holders dating as far back as 1442 were recognized as a World Documentary Heritage Site by UNESCO on Tuesday.
The recognition was announced at the Memory of the World Committee for Asia/Pacific's annual meeting in Macau, China on that day.
According to the committee, Van Mieu (the Temple of Literature) had proved the authenticity and uniqueness of the doctoral steles, and more importantly, the site was at risk of degradation by environmental factors.
The steles, located in Hanoi at Vietnam's first university, Quoc Tu Giam, were noted for their records, engraved in old Chinese characters, of 82 royal examinations held between 1442-1779 under the Le and Mac dynasties.
The stone slabs were placed on the backs of stone tortoises, which symbolize longevity and permanence.
However, local experts have long warned that the steles are in danger of being irreparably damaged, as countless people come to touch them for good luck during the Lunar New Year and before annual university exams.
Van Mieu's doctoral steles are Vietnam's second documentary heritage to be recognized by UNESCO's Memory of the World program, which aims to preserve and disseminate valuable archival holdings and library collections worldwide since 1997.
The Nguyen Dynasty (1802- 1945)'s woodblocks carved with old Chinese-Vietnamese characters, pictures and maps, were the first Vietnamese artifacts to win the honor last year.