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Temples in Macau

Lovely old A-Ma Temple, namesake of Macau

Time was--back before the Portuguese arrived after being booted out of the Hong Kong area--that Macau was an integral part of the Middle Kingdom. But China lost control over the sparsely-populated island-and-peninsula area through a trading concession in 1557, and ceded sovereignty in 1887, when Macau became a Portuguese colony. In 1999 it was peacefully returned to Chinese control, and is now--like Hong Kong--a "Special Administrative Region" with separate rule from the Chinese mainland. But make no mistake: Macau belongs to China.

The Chinese call it Aomen, meaning something like "The Gateway to the Bay (or Harbor)"--that is, the delta area of the Pearl River, leading up to Guangzhou. But the name we know it by derives from a wonderful mistake, and is actually based on the name of a temple.

It seems the earliest European visitors gestured vaguely and asked what "that place" was called. The locals, thinking they meant the A-Ma Temple (which can still be visited) said something like "A-Ma-Ge." This has been rendered many ways, but eventually the initial "A" was dropped and we ended up with "Ma-cau."

The facade is all that remains standing of St. Paul's Church, Macau

As far as I can tell, I've only been there twice, and seem to have visited only around a dozen of the city's numerous temples. But it's a short hop from where I live now to Hong Kong, and there's regular ferry service from there to Macau; as no visa is required for either, I could pop over on a whim, and may do so yet. You see, for this project I've developed a list of 40 temples, large and small; I'm hankering to see more of them! (There are some really fine churches, too, including the evocative ruins of St. Paul's, the facade of which is all that remains after a fire and typhoon struck in 1835.)


The List: A few notes:
  • This list was compiled from various sources, both online and from my files.
  • An effort has been made to give a version of the very malleable local Romanizations (e.g. miu for Hanyu Pinyin miao, meaning "temple"). The Chinese characters should help those interested in finding the Pinyin; they generally follow the site names given in Google Maps.
  • The locations "Taipa" and "Coloane" designate the two southern islands; I have arbitrarily divided peninsular Macau into a northern and southern half.
And now, here we go!

Peninsula (north)
  1. Fok Tak (Tou Tei)-miu (福德[土地]廟, Fude [Tudi] Miao) (map)
  2. Kun Iam Tchai-miu and Seng Wong-miu (观音廟, 城隍廟, Guanyin Miao and Cheng Huang Miao) (map)
  3. Lin Fung-miu (莲峰廟, Lian Feng Miao) (map)
  4. Lin Kai-miu (蓮溪廟, Lian Xi Miao) (map)
  5. Pau Kung-miu (包公廟, Baogong Miao) (map)
  6. Pou Chai Sin Un (Kun Iam) (普济禅院 [观音], Puji Chan Yuan [Guanyin]) (map)
  7. Shek Kam Dong (石敢当, Shigandang) (map)
  8. Sin Fong-miu (先锋廟, Xianfeng Miao) (map)
  9. Tin Hau-miu (Pescadores) (天后廟, Tianhou Miao) (map)
  10. Tou Tei-miu (major) (土地廟, Tudi Miao) (map)
  11. Yao Wang Chan-si (Mandarin pronunciation given; can't find Cantonese) (药山禅寺, Yao Wang Chan Si) (map)
  12. Zhulin-zi (Mandarin pronunciation given; can't find Cantonese) (竹林寺, Zhulin Si) (map)
Peninsula (south)
  1. Fok Tak (Tou Tei)-chi (福德[土地]祠, Fude [Tudi] Ci) (map)
  2. Fok Tak (Tou Tei)-chi (福德[土地]祠, Fude [Tudi] Ci) (map)
  3. Fok Tak (Tou Tei)-chi (福德[土地]祠, Fude [Tudi] Ci) (map)
  4. Hong Kung-miu (康真君廟, Kang Zhen Jun Miao) (map)
  5. Kun Iam Statue (观音像, Guanyin Xiang) (map)
  6. Loi Wo-miu (女娲廟, Nuwa Miao) (map)
  7. Lou Pan Sin Fu-miu (鲁班师傅廟, Luban Shifu Miao) (map)
  8. Ma Kok-miu (媽閣廟, Ma Ge Miao) (map)
  9. Na Tcha Gu-miu (哪吒古廟, Nezha Gu Miao) (map)
  10. Na Tcha-miu (哪吒廟, Nezha Miao) (map)
  11. Sam Kai Vui-kun (Kuan Tai-miu) (三街會館 [关帝廟], Sanjie Huiguan [Guandi Miao]) (map)
  1. I Leng-miu (Ka Sin-tong) (医灵廟 [嘉善堂], Yiling Miao [Jiashan Tang]) (map)
  2. Kuan Tai and Tin Hau Gu-miu (关帝廟, 天后古廟, Guandi Miao, Tianhou Gu Miao) (map)
  3. Kun Iam Cave (观音岩, Guanyin Yan) (map)
  4. Kun Iam-tong (观音堂, Guanyin Tang) (map)
  5. Pak Tai-miu (北帝廟, Beidi Miao) (map)
  6. Pou Tai-un (菩提园, Puti Yuan) (map)
  7. Sam Po-miu (三婆廟, Sanpo Miao) (map)
  8. Tin Hau-miu (天后廟, Tianhou Miao) (map)
  1. A-Ma Cultural Village (媽祖文化村, Mazu Wenhua Cun) (map)
  2. Fok Tak (Tou Tei)-chi (福德[土地]祠, Fude [Tudi] Ci) (map)
  3. Kun Iam-miu (观音廟, Guanyin Miao) (map)
  4. Kun Iam-miu (观音廟, Guanyin Miao) (map)
  5. Sam Seng Kong-miu (三圣宫廟, San Sheng Gong Miao) (map)
  6. Sam Seng-miu (三圣廟, San Sheng Miao) (map)
  7. Hac Sa Tai Wong-miu (黑沙大王廟, Heisha Dawang Miao) (map)
  8. Tam Sin Sing (Tam Kung-miu) (谭仙圣 [谭公廟], Tan Xian Sheng [Tan Gong Miao]) (map)
  9. Tin Hau Gu-miu (Coloane) (天后古廟, Tianhou Gumiao) (map)

Google Map:

  • Use + /- or mouse wheel to zoom in and out.
  • Click to close the hand to move around.
  • (The two functions above are accomplished with two fingers on mobile devices.)
  • Click the square-with-arrow on the left to open or close the index of sites. (Works better if you zoom in first.)
  • Click the three-dot thingy in the upper right to share the map with others.
  • Click the "four corners" in the upper right to go to the full map.

Last updated June 27, 2019

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