Yuelu Academy

As one of the four most prestigious academies in China, with a history of 1000 years, Yuelu Academy is a famous institution of higher learning as well as a centre of academic activities and upholding cultures since it was formally set up in the ninth year of the Kai Bao Reign of the Northern Song Dynasty (976). Yuelu Academy, surviving the Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties, was converted into Hunan Institute of Higher Learning in 1903, and Hunan Normal College, Hunan Public Polytechnic School in succession, and was finally named Hunan University in 1926. The Academy has witnessed a history of more than one thousand years without any disruption or dispute, thus earning it the title of a "one-thousand-year-old academy". The historical transformation from Yuelu Academy to Hunan University is an epitome of the development of China's higher education, which mirrors the vicissitudes of China's education system.

Shortly after its establishment, Yuelu Academy became known throughout the China for its unique management style and its role in the dissemination of academic learning. When Emperor Zhenzong of the Northern Song Dynasty summoned the Dean, Zhou Shi, for an interview, and conferred upon the Academy his Majesty's inscription, Yuelu Academy vaulted into great fame. Since then it has enjoyed the reputation of "xiao xiang zhu si", a place in Hunan where great scholars assemble. It is right here that the renowned "Huxiang School of Learning" based in the Li philosophy (the philosophy of principle) began to gain momentum when Zhang Shi lectured in the Academy in the Northern Song Dynasty. When Zhu Xi came here twice to deliver lectures, so popular became his work that the visitors exceeded the seating capacity of the Academy, due to which the water in the Yinma Pond (the Horse-Watering Pond) had to be drained by the horses to settle the audience. Later on, the Academy promulgated and exchanged other views and ideas with as the Yangming School in the midst of the Ming Dynasty, the Donglin School in the last years of the Ming dynasty, the Han School of the Qian Long and the Jia Qing Reigns (1736-1821) and the New Learning in the last years of the Qing Dynasty. The academic learning and education system of Yuelu Academy have had a far-reaching impact on the formation and development of Hunan's cultural tradition.

Today, Hunan University has grown into a comprehensive university with focus on balanced development of various disciplines. When on one hand it focuses on engineering subjects, on the other it lays a solid foundation in science courses. Its liberal arts department is grounded in a unique culture, and the economics courses have characteristics of their own. Yuelu Academy, which has undergone numerous restorations, has been listed as a key historical site under the state protection. It still shoulders the responsibility of conducting academic researches and training professionals. A new chapter of the history of the one-thousand-year-old academy is being written.

Open Hours:

7:30- 18:00 (May 1- October 31)

8:00- 17:30 (November 1- April 30)


Guide: 9:00- 10:00 & 15:00- 16:00 (3 times everyday)

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  • Address: Lushan Road (S), Yuelu District,

  • Changsha, Hunan Province

  • Zip Code: 410082

  • Email: xiaoban@hnu.cn  

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