The most famous and oldest (built in 1488) of Macau’s Chinese temples, this Taoist building was around before the Portuguese colonisation and therefore has a huge historical significance to the island and its initial religious standing prior to the western colonisation.
The goddess A-Ma is also where Macau gets its name from. When the Portuguese landed on a sea promontory 400 years ago it was near this temple. When they asked the locals the name of the land, they (the locals) misunderstood, thinking that the Portuguese were asking for the name of the temple. So they answered ‘Ma Ge’, which was the name of the temple; this later distorted into Macau.
Features and highlights
The temple is made up of six main parts, all containing architectural treasures and guarded by stone lions. The temple commemorates the goddess Mazu, who is said to bless the Macau fishermen and is a fascinating insight into local culture and beliefs with classical curling joss sticks and poems engraved into the side of the adjacent cliff.
Entering the temple and going across a gateway, you will reach the Hongren Hall by a winding path. This is where you will find a Mazu image, and it is believed that the hall has the longest history in the complex. Going ahead, the Hall of Avalokitesvara is next. It was constructed mainly using bricks and stone in a simple style.