Home : City Guide: Macau: Attractions

A-Ma Temple & Lin Fung Temple

A-Ma Temple

A-Ma Temple, located in the southeast of Macau, is the oldest one among the three largest Buddhist temples of Macau (the other two are Lin Fung Temple  and Kun Lam Temple). Built in the year 1488 during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) of China, the temple already possesses 500 hundred years of history and is characterized by the ancient Chinese architectural style. In a setting of mountain, sea and ancient pines, the temple attracts visitors of all backgrounds every year.

A-Ma Temple was originally called 'A-Ma Gau' and known as 'Tianhou Temple'. The legend has it that A-Ma, also named Niangma, is the oracle of Fujian Province. It is said that after her death, she often appears on the sea and helps businessmen and fishermen out of trouble. During the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), Emperor Kangxi endowed her with the title of 'Tianhou' (Heavenly Goddess) and A-Ma became known as the goddess of the sea. A-Ma enjoys a high status in the eyes of the people of Macau, and is deeply imbedded in the folk legends, myths, couplets, stamps, currencies and other aspects of Macau culture. And the temple is undoubtedly the symbol of this culture.

The name of Macau is also connected with the temple. Hundreds years ago, when the Portuguese arrived at the seashore opposite to the A-Ma Temple , they asked the locals what the name of the land was. The locals misunderstood , taking the request to be for the name of the temple , and answered 'Ma Gau. So the Portuguese transliterated it into ' Macau' .

Every Chinese Spring Festival and on the anniversary of the birth of A-Ma (Lunar Mar.23th) are the peak times at A-Ma Temple. From the eve of the Chinese Spring Festival, many pious men and women will gather here to pray for blessings. And during the anniversary days, operas would be held in the temple.


Lin Fung Temple

Located near the Barrier Gate (Guanzha) in the north of Macau Peninsula, Lin Fung Temple is one of the three most well known Buddhist temples in Macau.

The temple was first built in the year 1592 of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) for the enshrined statue of Heavenly Goddess 'A-Ma', hence the name 'Temple of Tianfei (Heavenly Goddess)'. Within the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), it was rebuilt many times until gradually reaching its present size. It later got the name 'Lin Fung Temple' from the eponymous mountain it leans against.

Now the main halls of the temple are enshrined by the statues of the Heavenly Goddess and Kun Lam (Goddess of Mercy, Avalokitesvara). There are also halls for other well-known deities. In the temple a lotus pool and lifelike mural of dragons and huge carp are of particular interest to visitors.

Another spot in the temple that is worth mentioning is the newly established Memorial Hall of Lin Zexu. Lin was a famous national hero of China who had strongly banned opium in the Qing Dynasty. In 1839, as the provincial commander-in-chief of Guangdong and Guangxi, Lin went to Macau. At the time Macau was a trade center for opium. In the Lin Fung Temple he met officials of Macau and Portugal. To remember the 150th anniversary of Lin's inspection, a systemic statue of him was built in front of the temple in 1989. A Memorial Hall was established in 1997, detailing how Lin destroyed opium in Humen Town, Dongguan City located in Guangdong. Here you can also find former pictures of Macau, opium smoking pipes as well as models of various old ships and Lin's meeting with the Portuguese.