Vietnam's stone steles make UNESCO's Memory of the World list

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The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) have put a collection of stone steles, located at a historic site in Hanoi, on the Memory of the World Register list.

On Wednesday, Director General Irina Bokova of UNESCO endorsed recommendations by an international advisory committee, and 45 new collections have been added the Memory of the World Register.  The new items brings the total to 238 historically relevant items on the register.

Vietnam's 82 stone stele records of royal examinations of the Le and Mac dynasties (1442-1779) was added to the list that includes various materials throughout the world such as stone, celluloid, parchment, audio recordings and more.

The stone steles are preserved at the historical site Van Mieu Quoc Tu Giam (Temple of Literature Royal College). Each of the 82 steles commemorates the Royal examinations held between 1442 and 1780, during the reign of the Le and Mac dynasties.

Written in Chinese, the inscriptions display the dynasty's attitude towards the training and employment of talented individuals.

The steles were made in the form of a tortoise-mounted tablet since tortoise was traditionally considered a symbol of longevity and everlastingness in Vietnamese culture.

Today, the steles attract the attention of Vietnamese, foreign scholars, government officials and tourists alike. Thousands of visitors, including foreigners, come to Van Mieu Quoc Tu Giam everyday to admire the steles.

Vietnamese high-ranking government officials, including state leaders, appreciate the profound significance and value of the steles as historical documents that preserve world history and promote Vietnamese culture.

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