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The temple's principal Mazu icon. (RM)  <img src='http://www.guidegecko.com/images/spyglass1.png' align='texttop' /> Click for full image
Travel Guide > Asia > Taiwan > Sights & Attractions

Great Queen of Heaven Temple

  
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This stunningly colorful shrine and the adjacent Sacrificial Rites Martial Temple were built in 1664 as a residence for Prince Ning Jing (寧靖王, 1617-1683), the Ming pretender and titular head of the Kingdom of Dongning. Facing imminent defeat by Shi Lang, the Ming pretender hanged himself from the rafters on July 20, 1683. His five concubines, whom he had urged to hide in a Buddhist nunnery, also ended their lives, as did his two most faithful eunuchs.

When Shi Lang arrived in Tainan, he decided to have that part of the palace that hadn't already become a shrine to Guan Gong converted into a temple dedicated to Mazu. Now known as the Great Queen of Heaven Temple (大天后宮), you'll agree it's one of the city's most attractive places of worship. The main gold-faced icon of the sea goddess had a black visage until 2004, when the head fell off and was repainted while being repaired.

The building's previous occupant hasn't been forgotten, however; a tablet bearing Prince Ning Jing's name can be found at the back on the left, but you'll probably need one of the volunteer janitors to point it out to you.

The main chamber features several paintings executed by master artist Chen Yu-feng (陳玉峰) in the 1950s, and restored around 1980 by the award-winning painter and lecturer Ding Qing-shi (丁清石, 1930-2004). Ding's work can also be seen in Shanhua's Qingan Temple.

The temple's website has minmal English and some good photos.

Directions

Take city bus no. 3 from Tainan TRA Station, or tourist buses nos. 88 or 99, and get off at Fort Provintia.

Type: Monument/Building
Costs: free
Location: Taiwan
Street address: 18, Lane 227 Yongfu Road Section 2, West Central District, Tainan City, Taiwan City
Nearest public transport: Fort Provintia bus stop
Opening hours: Daily 5am-9pm
Telephone: +88662211178







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