Approximately four hundred years ago the Portuguese landed on a sea promontory near a temple. They asked the local inhabitants the name of the land, but the locals misunderstood, thinking that the Portuguese were asking for the name of the temple. So they answered 'Ma Ge'. Later, the Portuguese translated the named into 'Macau' and used it to refer to the land. In fact, this temple is one of the three famous Buddha halls in Macau- the A-Ma Temple.
The A-Ma Temple, located in the southeast of the Macau Peninsula, is the oldest temple here. It was constructed in the year of 1488 of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) to commemorate Mazu, the sacred sea goddess who blesses the fishermen. It is said that the goddess was called Lin Mo, and that she was born in Putian City, Fujian Province, and was more intelligent than other children her age. She could predict good or ill luck and after her death she often helped merchants and fishermen ward off calamities and turn danger into safety. Now there are a number of folktales about the great goddess narrated in the littoral lands.
The A-Ma Temple is a scenic spot offering tranquil and spectacular views. It contains six main parts, all of which make up a series of classical Chinese architectural treasures, and this is all guarded by stone lions. Entering it and going across a gateway, you will reach the Hongren Hall by a winding path. A statue of Mazu is worshipped here, and it is believed that the hall has the longest history in the complex. Going ahead, the Hall of Avalokitesvara will present itself to visitors. It was constructed mainly using bricks and stone in a simple style. Compared with the other halls, the Zhengjiao Chanlin (a Buddhist hall) was designed tastefully both in regards to size and architectural style.
Location: Barra Square, Macau
Transportation: From the ferry terminal, you can take bus no. 10A and get off at Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro, Avenida Almeida. Then you can walk to the Ruins of St. Paul. The same bus will take you to A-ma Temple. Afterwards, you can take bus no. 21A near the temple and get off at City of Dreams. It is within walking distance to the Venetian.
Opening hours: 7:00 - 18:00