Address: Located in Mage Street, the southeast of the Macau Peninsula.
What You Need to Know About the A-Ma Temple
The External buildings
A-Ma Temple, located in the southeast of the Macau Peninsula, is one of the three oldest temples in Macau. The temple was built in 1488 during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and it has a history of more than 500 years.
A-Ma Temple was originally called Mazu Temple due to the fact that it was built to commemorate Mazu, the sacred sea goddess who blessed the fishermen. "Mazu" means "mother" in Hokkien. It is said that Mazu, named Lin Mo, was born in Putian city, Fujian Province. She was more intelligent than other children since she was young. She could communicate with God and rescue ships in distress at sea. After her death, she still rescued people at sea for many times. Later, people appreciated her kindness and respected her as the escort goddess of the sea. In the Ming Dynasty, she was called the "Queen of Heaven".
There is a pair of exquisitely carved stone lions at the entrance of the A-Ma temple, which are said to be a masterpiece of the Qing Dynasty (1636-1912). Besides, the stones along the cliff are carved with various poems and inscriptions.
In A-Ma Temple, there are four main buildings, including the Main Hall, the Hongren Hall, the Hall of Avalokitesvara and the Zhengjue Chanlin (a Buddhist hall). They were built in different periods.
Every year during the Spring Festival and on March 23rd of the lunar calendar (Mazu’s birthday), the amount of the joss sticks and candles burning at the A-Ma Temple is at its peak. On New Year’s Eve, a lot of disciples will come here to worship Mazu and pray for good luck.
History of the A-Ma Temple
The inner of the A-Ma Temple
The buildings of the A-Ma Temple were built at different times, and the entire temple was completed in 1828.
The Hongren Hall is the smallest. It has a dome of 3 square meters, which is said to be constructed in 1488 during the Ming Dynasty.
The largest one is the Zhengjue Chanlin (a Buddhist hall). It was built in 1828 during the Qing Dynasty.
The Main Hall was established in 1605 during the Ming Dynasty, which was funded jointly by the government and merchants.
There is no way to check the age of the Hall of Avalokitesvara. However, a plaque which was rebuilt in 1828 is stored in the hall. So the hall should be constructed before 1828. The Avalokitesvara is enshrined here.
Great Spots to see at the A-Ma Temple
The Main Hall
Incense in the Buddha Hall
The main hall is dedicated to Mazu. It is in a spatial line with the main entrance, the memorial archway and the Hongren Hall. The building is constructed mainly by granite and bricks. The columns, beams, parts of the walls and even the roof are made of granite. There are large square windows with glazed tiles on both sides of the wall. The transom at a higher position is round.
Hongren Hall is the smallest in scale, only about 3 square meters. Rocks were used to build the back wall of this hall, and the roof and walls are made of granite. Mazu is also enshrined here. On both sides of the walls, there are relief statues of maidservants and the dread lord. The statue of Mazu is placed in front of the rock and the roof is also decorated with green glazed tiles.
Zhengjue Chanlin (Buddhist Hall)
The Main Entrance
Compared with the other halls, the Zhengjue Chanlin is designed exquisitely in both scale and architectural style. The hall is roofed with sloping glazed tiles and the wall is decorated with many clay sculptures. The whole building has a strong style of Southern Fujian.
The Hall of Avalokitesvara
The Hall of Avalokitesvara, located at the top, is mainly made of bricks and stones, and its whole architectural style is relatively simple. The Avalokitesvara is worshiped in this hall.
Ways to Get to the A-Ma Temple
Take bus No.10、10A、11、18、21、21A、1、1A、2、5、6、7、9、26、28B or 34 and get off at A-Ma Temple Station.
Chinese: 请带我去妈祖庙。English: Please take me to the A-Ma Temple.
If you go to the A-Ma temple from the Macau International Airport, it takes about 15 minutes and costs around 63 yuan.
If you go to the A-Ma temple from the Macau ferry terminal, it takes about 20 minutes and costs around 77 yuan.