Dedicated to the goddess Matsu, the splendid A-Ma Temple (Templo de A-Má) was built on the Macau Peninsula in 1488 and was the inspiration for the renaming of the city by the Portuguese a few decades later. Part of Macau's UNESCO Historic Center, this Buddhist temple is one of the city's most important religious sites and is well worth exploring. Divided into six easily accessible sections - the Gate Pavilion, Prayer Hall, Memorial Arch, Hall of Benevolence, the Zhengjiao Chanlin, and the Hall of Guanyin - this architecturally pleasing attraction features numerous interesting things to see, from its many fierce-looking stone lions and statues of the goddess Matsu to shady spots to stop and contemplate the serenity of the temple grounds, as well as spectacular views over the bay.
A-Ma Temple, located in the southeast of the Macau Peninsula, is the oldest temple here. 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 'MaGe'. Later, the Portuguese translated the named into 'Macau' and used it to refer to the land. The temple is one of the three famous Buddha halls in Macau.
The A-Ma Temple 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 temple is a destination offering silence 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.