A-Ma Temple, Macao
Older than Portuguese colonization, "A Ma" temple was accepted by the Portuguese, and respected as a reference of Chinese culture and religion.
Several pavilions climbing a steep hill are dedicated to different deities, attracting lots of Chinese devotes to ceremonies hard to understand by westerns.
A-Ma Temple sits on the western side of Macau facing the Chinese mainland. Over 500 years in existence, this is the oldest temple in Macau. This unique temple is comprised of series of buildings staggered up a rocky hillside. Of the buildings, the Hall of Benevolence is the oldest, while the Prayer Hall was built in 1605, and the Hall of Guanyin was built in 1828.
The front Gate Pavilion of this temple is another famous Macau photo spot. Good luck getting a picture without at least a dozen people in the background. Upon entering the temple, notice the large tanks filled with slow-moving turtles. The turtles move so slowly that people drop money on their backs and it stays there for quite a while (it probably stays until someone from the temple collects it!). The temple complex is also full of beggars asking for money. If you make your way up the hillside to the top-most building you will have a good view to China over the intricate rooftops of the lower buildings.
The goddess A-Ma - also known as Tin Hau - is the protector of sailors. According to the legend, a poor girl wanted to sail to Macao, but she was refused by the rich junk owners. A storm came and only her vessel reached the shore safely, where she was engulfed in a ray of light and transformed into the goddess A-Ma. Today, the temple complex is a place of pilgrimage for Macao's fishermen (and a must for every tourist visiting the city). On the day of A-Ma (the 23rd day of the 3rd moon) there is a huge festival.
A moon gate is a beautiful architectural feature. Usually it is designed in a way that it gives a glimpse of the view when approached from either side (of course, it's also a gate, so it allows a pathway through the wall). Moon gates resemble the full moon and they are originated from Old China where gardens were - among others - places to meditate, watching the moon's passage in its full circle.
Through this moon gate in the A-Ma temple, there is a nice view of the burning incense coils.
The temple where related to Macau legend.This temple believed to be built in the 15th century. It's the oldest of the three principal old temples of Macao. This temple also known as Tianhou Temple, Juehai Temple, and Zhongjue Buddhist Temple.It was dedicated to Ma Zu, a diviner who came from Fujian Province and lived in the Song Dynasty.From the legend, when she was young,she can predicting the future. She grew up to be nun and died at the age of 28. After her death Ma Zu's spirit helped seafaring merchants and fishermen froml dangers in the sea. Local fishermen constructed the A-Ma Temple to commemorate her.
If you're interested in the history of Ma Zu,you can also visit Maritime Museum nearby.
The A-Ma, dedicated to the goddess Tin Hau (also known in Macau as A Ma), is built round a rock at the foot of the Barra and Penha Hills in south-western Macau. Macau was in fact named after this goddess by the first Portuguese settlers in 1557: "Macau" is derived from "A Ma Gau" meaning "Bay of A Ma". A Chinese inscription records that the temple was built under the Ming dynasty by the Emperor Wai Li (1573-1621). It seems at some stage to have been partly destroyed, for another inscription states that it was rebuilt in the reign of Tuo Keung (1824-56).
The temple contains a number of interesting features illustrating seafaring, including a painted stone relief of the Chinese junk in which A Ma is said to have landed here.
Built into the side of a hill overlooking the water, the A-Ma Temple predates the founding of Macau. Stone pathways and stairs lead visitors past Buddist and Taoist shrines and some very interesting architecture.
The temple is situated about 100 meters from the Maritime Museum. If you're visiting purely for the cultural experience and photos, a half-hour is plenty.
This is one of the major tourist temples in Macau dedicated to a seafaring girl who turned Goddess.
It is gives protection to the fishermen of Macao and where the origin of the Macao comes from.
The temple is built upon a hill and overlooks the sea. Opposite the temple is the Maritime Sea Museum not to be missed.
Easy reach by bus from downtown Macao.
This temple was built over 400 years ago in homage to a girl who saved a seaman's life. On special days fireworkers will be lit in front of the temple, so be weary of loud bangs. This area also gives a sight of mainland China (Wanzhai District) which is just across the Inner Harbour (Porto Interior).
The oldest temple in Macau, parts of it dating back 600 years. It's a warren of small buildings heading up the hillside of Barra Hill. The smell of incense is strong and red is certainly the dominant colour. There's a wonderful 'bamboo garden' with graffiti carved into the stems and ribbons of differing colours tied to the plants. It's a busy spot with lots of people hanging round - and not just for the giving of offerings and prayer.
Of all the temples I visited in Hong Kong and Macau, in my opinion this was by far the most interesting.
The A-Ma temple is the oldest Chinese temple in Macau. Some parts of the temple date back over 600 years. There is a legend which says that a poor girl miraculously saved a ship from a vicious storm, and this is where the ship landed. A temple was then built in her honour. The girl mysteriously disappeared only to reappear at the temple as A-Ma, the Goddess of the Sea and Queen of Heaven.
Beautiful tiled roofs and spectacular views from the upper gardens.
Built in the 15th century, the A-Ma Temple is the oldest Chinese temple in Macau. The temple is dedicated to A-Ma, goddess of the seafarers. Macau's Portuguese name is derived from this temple's Chinese name "Ma Gua." Legend has it that several wealthy ship owners refused a poor girl passage on their ships bound for Guangzhou until one kind sailor finally decided to give her passage on his ship. During the voyage, a powerful storm sunk all the ships at sea except for the one carrying the girl. When the ship finally arrived in Guangzhou, the girl disappeared into the heavens, only to reappear in the form of a goddess.
There are also occasional Chinese opera performances in the afternoon and evening across the street fom the temple, and the A Lorcha Restaurant (289 Rua da Almirante Sergio, 313 193) is a good place to have dinner nearby.
Most famous temple in Macau, built in the Ming Dynasty with hillside prayer halls dedicated to the Goddess of Seafarers A-Ma, who inspired the name Macau.
The temple is set on a hill in four levels from the waterfront.
Macau's name is derived from A-Ma-Gau, meaning "place of A-Ma", and this 16th century temple is dedicated to this seafarers' goddess. According to legend, A-Ma was a poor girl looking for passage to Canton, but was refused by the wealthy junk owners. Finally a lowly fisherman took her on board. A storm blew up and wrecked all but the boat carrying the girl. On arrival in Macau, she vanished and reappeared as a goddess on the spot where the fishermen built her this temple.
In the temple itself, three of the four pavilions are dedicated to A-Ma, with the top shrine honouring Kun Lam. The festival of A-Ma takes place on the 23rd day of the 3rd moon (April or May).
This temple is composed of a complex of buildings. In one of them, you will find a tank containing turtles. There was also a nearby bucket with another turtle in it. On these turtles was a lot of money. Apparently, dropping money on the turtles will bring you some type of good fortune. There are some steps which climb to other areas of the temple. You will see a lot of visitors here since it is one of the more popular temples in this region.