Official Mazu Temple
No.18, Alley 227, Sec.2,Yongfu Rd., West Central District, Tainan City【Brief Introduction】
Great Queen of Heaven Temple is also called Tainan Big Mazu Temple. It was the resi-dence of King Ninjing of Ming Dynasty. This king is also known as 【History】
Legend has it that Mazu (Lin Mo-niang) was born to an official family. After her father quit his job in the government, he worked as a farmer on the island of Mechou in Fujian Province, China. As she did not cry for months after her birth, her parents called her “Mo”, which means silence in Chinese. She was very smart and could memorize every book she read and by the age of 13, she could write poems. She loved swimming, as if she were the reincarnation of the god of the sea, and she used to save people from drowning. At the age of 18 she was gifted by a god with a copper charm, which gave her divine powers.
A Qing Dynasty general named Shih moved into the residence of the King of Ningjing after taking over Taiwan. Later he changed, modified, and even demolished the building. Shih thanked Mazu for the success of the battle, worshipped the deity inside the residence, and changed its name to Tianhou Temple.
The Official Mazu Temple was renovated several times, and was listed as a Class I Histori-cal Site in 1985 for its specific historical and cultural status. Amongst nearly 400 temples worshipping Mazu in Taiwan, the official Mazu Temple enjoys a prestigious status since it was the first Mazu temple built by the government and the only Mazu temple that included the spring and autumn rituals of the government. 【Features】
A grand Mazu statue with a golden face is the most distinguished feature of the Official Mazu Temple. It is one of the most representative clay statues in Taiwan. The statues of lesser gods of Thousand-Miles Eye and Tailwind Ear are also state-of-the-art representa-tions of traditional clay statues. The majestic and vivid expressions and gestures of these statues make one think they are listening and contemplating commoners' requests.
Datianhou Temple sits on the east side and faces west. It is built on a hill, facing ancient harbors. The temple has an escalating, step-like structure, from the Fore Hall, Pray Hall, Main Hall, to the Rear Hall, each bigger, higher and more magnificent than its previous counterpart. Its facade has three doors and its structure is composed of four halls with great depth and two aisles.
--Source: Travel Information from the Cultural Affairs Bureau, Tainan City Government website.